QR Codes for Real Estate – Part I – What Are They?

by Jennifer Wilson on November 27, 2010

The buzz in the real estate marketing industry these days seems to be about these obscure looking images called QR codes. I was first introduced to QR codes about a year and a half ago at a local real estate meet up. I found myself quite intrigued with this concept, as I am with most new technology and marketing methods. As I looked around the room, I noticed that most people had this perplexed look on their faces and I wasn’t sure how well these QR codes would be received.

It hasn’t been until more recently that people in the real estate industry have been raving about QR codes as a must have tool in an agents real estate marketing tool box. At this point, I’m not entirely convinced of the effectiveness of the QR codes in an agents marketing efforts, however I think it can be worth testing the waters with them, if an agents market is a right fit.

In Part II of this series, QR Codes for Real Estate – Fad or Trend?, I will discuss in more detail whether QR codes are a right fit for your real estate business and implementing them into your marketing. Check back or subscribe so you don’t miss out.

What is a QR code?

A QR code, or quick response for short, is a matrix code or two-dimensional bar code originally created by a Japanese corporation to track automobile parts. The codes would have hidden text, a url or other types of information in the code, in the form of black modules arranged in a square pattern. The purpose behind this, was that with the right tool, or reader as they call it, the hidden information could be decoded at high speeds.

How QR Codes Work

In order to reveal the hidden information in a QR code, you will need a smartphone with a camera, internet access and a QR reader application installed. Some smartphones come with QR reader capabilities, so double check your phone specifications before installing any unnecessary applications. Once your mobile phone is properly set up with a QR reader you simply take a picture of the code with your phone, your phone then converts the code to text and the reader application translates the text and displays the hidden information in the form of a web page, contact information, a message, or more.

QR Code Readers

In the event that your smartphone does not already have a QR reader installed, there are a number of reader applications that you can install. Here are a few:

What Information Can Be Used in a QR Code?

A QR code could include any of the following types of information:

  • Text
  • Website url
  • vCard or contact information
  • Event calendar (vcalendar)
  • Google maps location
  • A message (Typically limited to 100 characters or less)
  • SMS
  • Phone number
  • Email
  • Social media information
  • Paypal Buy Now links

QR Code Generator

Now that we know, what QR codes are are, how your target consumer can decode the hidden information, and what information you want in the code, it’s time to create the QR image. It’s as simple as choosing the type of information you want in the code, provide the required information, and hit “generate”. Voila, you’re done. Your QR code image will be there for you to download or copy and paste into the marketing piece of your choice.

There are hundreds of free QR code generator sites out there and listed below are a few to try (I haven’t tried them all, but would love to hear if you have a favorite QR code generator).

QR codes are being used in some exciting and creative ways by people and businesses in all types of industries. I look forward to taking a closer look in Part II of this series, how and if these codes are going to be a long term, effective marketing tool for real estate agents or if they will generate more confusion for their target consumer.

I hope you’ll chime in and share with us your experiences using QR codes. What feedback have you received from your target consumer about QR codes?

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