Mobile Search - Tips and TricksYou can easily add a QR code to any bit.ly link now simply by adding .qr to a bit.ly link e.g. http://bit.ly/dNcRxx.qr

Now, for some people this may seem gibberish, but it actually represents a great opportunity for forward thinking businesses looking to promote their companies, products and websites, particularly using mobile marketing or social media, such as Twitter.

A QR code (Quick Response code) is a two dimensional barcode, made to be read by camera phones equipped with the software required to read the codes. QR codes are all the rage in other countries, for instance, Japan, and will undoubtedly catch on soon in the UK because of the multiple purposes for which they can be used.

The barcode can link to an image (for instance of a product), open a website in the mobile browser, display text, or you can use them as a kind of digital business card with all your contact information. The list of places where such a barcode can be displayed is endless – think “flat surface”, and you get the idea.

Bit.ly, the URL shortening service, decided last autumn to incorporate QR codes into its service; so to direct people to your QR code for a specific website, you just add .qr to the end of the bit.ly link. The advantages of this could be manyfold, particularly for those who have realised the potential of QR codes for marketing purposes.

Imagine that you can now include an advert or an article with a QR in your target market’s favourite magazine that takes them straight to an online video, podcast, Buy it Now page etc, without them needing to search for you online, type in a long URL etc? Or you decde to conduct a local advertising campaign by putting QR codes on buses, in shop windows, on billboards and so on? Or you can hand out business cards at an industry event or networking meeting that hold a wealth of information on a dedicated website specifically aimed at that audience, and accessed simply by pointing a mobile phone at the QR?

QR codes are free to create and share, and their novelty to many people means that if you are the first to use them, in your sector, region or marketing, and provide compelling content to capture the imagination of your audience, you are likely to be on to a great traffic generator for your online content.

How could you use QR codes in your business today?

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About the author:

A practising internet marketing consultant since 1996, Lindsey Annison helps companies improve their website marketing, online PR and information architecture. Lindsey is also a qualified adult education lecturer and author. As co-founder of the Access to Broadband Campaign, she has been instrumental in the provision of high-speed internet access to rural areas in the UK. Lindsey is also a past winner of Silicon.com's Outstanding Contribution to UK Technology