From comments in the press and on blogs, you may be forgiven for thinking that QR codes are a bit like marmite. My personal opinion is they can be an effective tool for successful marketing tactics; as long as they are used in the right way. So how can Manchester businesses use QR codes? Well, over the weekend I came across 3 examples where a QR code would have been an effective addition.

Solutions for Manchester Estate Agents 1). My husband and I were walking in Chorlton over the weekend and whilst we aren’t house-hunting at the moment we did pass some properties for sale that raised our interest. When we see a property we like the first thing we want to know is how much the property is valued at and then we want to know how many bedrooms etc etc. Even though I have the app on my iphone, I couldn’t be bothered to search for the property (I didn’t know the postcode, the value or the number of bedrooms which is what Rightmove wants you to search on). However, had there been a QR code on the ‘For Sale’ sign, I would have scanned this so that I was instantly directed to the right information. Had the price and details been right, who knows what our next steps would have been? In a tough market, Estate Agents need all of the tactics available and for me, this is a simple solution that could generate a lot more interest and, potentially, conversions.

Getting customer feedback 2). Thanks to the lovely Jon Clements, I was fortunate enough to attend the last night of the 2011 Manchester Jazz Festival on Saturday. Before I sat on my chair I noticed that there was a postcard-sized feedback form. I popped it into my handbag (us marketeers always fill these things out; its a bit like market research Karma) but it got me thinking. Would a QR code that led to a simple online survey be more effective? For starters you don’t need a pen (and pens weren’t provided). Also, postcards are easily lost and forgotten. If you scanned the QR code and then accessed your smartphone on the way home (as I did on the tram) you are probably more likely to provide the feedback. Result = higher response rate. The added bonus of this approach of course is that it removes the effort involved in manually inputting survey data. Getting customer feedback is vital to any business or organisation and this approach could be adopted by event organisers, restauranteurs, shop owners, beauty salon owners… fact the list is endless.

Letting Manchester tweeps find you on Twitter 3). As my friends and contacts will attest; I like to tweet. I’m incredibly nosy and love to share. I also have this great urge to tell people if I’ve experienced good service or I’ve found a new shop or cafe in Manchester (which is probably why I set up @networkMCR). Recently I’ve been in the position to tweet great things about an Oxford Road based bar and a Chorlton based cafe but haven’t been able to because they didn’t have any clear signposting about their Twitter moniker. Whilst I tried to search on Twitter and Google, this wasn’t quick or successful (so many businesses are in the position of having the same name as 10 others or more). Anyway, the result is that they miss out on the chance of some great feedback and promotion. The simple answer is for them to post their Twitter account name everywhere (menu, wall, shop window). Another, more innovative solution could be to use the square design of QR codes on beermats and sugar sachets so that smartphone users are taken directly to the business Twitter feed. Customers who use Twitter will want to engage with brands and businesses shouldn’t miss out on these great opportunities by not publicising their Twitter name. QR codes could be a great way to take them there