Marketing real estate has definitely changed over the years. We like to say it has evolved to meet the changing ways consumers react to seeking information. Some media are effective at reaching actual buyers and some not so much. When evaluating a marketing idea, we must first look at the target market, and whether its use will be effective in reaching that market.
We’ve been sitting on a piece of technology for over a year we’ve been pretty excited about. We didn’t start using it until recently because we felt its application wouldn’t be realized by the masses, until now. As an agent we can be Leading Edge or Bleeding Edge. Last year would have been Bleeding Edge, so why introduce something until the public is ready?
This new tool is called a QR Code. It’s basically a barscan format that allows a Smartphone to read a code and do something with it. The typical uses of a QR code are to direct someone to a website, to text message, call a phone number, or just text information.
Google has promoted QR Codes so business can place a code in their store window, in print advertising, or on flyers or billboards so consumers can get detailed maps and directions to the business from their phone, store hours, and basic information about the business. Google even places QR codes now on Google Places accounts.
We’ve been placing QR codes in our newspaper ad directing people to our website, our Google Places account, and to our Virtual Tours of our properties. Agents can even place QR codes on their sign so prospective buyers can obtain much more information right on their phone, instantaneously. Anywhere you can print or display a QR code becomes potential business.
The more information you place inside a QR code, the larger and denser it becomes, which means it will take up more print space. Certain readers have a hard time reading dense codes, so we encourage you to keep them short and to the point. Every technology has a purpose, and must not be overused in ways it wasn’t designed. A QR Code is best for someone who’s visited your business, at a property, or sees your message online. Its use is to provide information to a mobile user in a mobile world.
Did you know that over 200 million people access Facebook via their mobile phone? Did you know 6.1 trillion text messages were sent in 2010. Did you know the mobile market is more than doubling every year? The mobile Internet is growing fast and will overtake the PC as the most popular way to access the web in coming years.
So the question is, what do you do once you get them to your site? Is the site optimized for the mobile experience, or does it load just like a regular webpage that is hard to read on mobile phone. The people who solve this issue will win in a mobile world.
So take out your phone and have some fun. The next time you see a QR code, you’ll know what to do with it. If you’re interviewing agents, be sure to ask if their utilizing this technology. Next year you’ll see the Yellow Pages incorporate this into their larger ads, and you’ll start seeing this code popup on more websites and more real estate signs.
Make sure your Smartphone has a reader. I recommend Barcode Scanner but there are dozens. It’s fun to price shop at a store with your mobile phone. This is especially neat when the store offers price guarantees. There’s no bigger thrill then when you whip out the scanner and scan the UPC code of the product and find out the store down the street has it for $20 less. The store you’re in will verify and match that price.
Barcode scanner scans UPC codes and QR Codes. If you’ve never heard of a QR Code, or wondered what that funny looking graphic was next to a real estate ad in the paper, now you know. We’ve provided some examples. Good luck, and good scanning.