We've all seen bar codes when we've bought groceries, books, auto parts or any other shopping excursion that requires an item to be scanned across a laser. Even many membership cards utilize the bar code system. But what about bar codes for real estate businesses? Let me explain to you why you should be using bar codes for real estate.
What is a QR Code?
With the proliferation of smartphone users (whether that be the iPhone, Blackberry, Droid or other), QR codes are on the rise. A QR code is a matrix barcode of black boxes arranged on a white background in a square pattern that is read by camera phones, QR scanners and smartphones. The information encoded on the QR code can be used to direct a smartphone user to a specific URL.
But how does this pertain to a Real Estate Professional?
With increased smartphone use, there is an increase in how many people access the internet via their mobile device. A QR code allows a smartphone user to be directed to listings (especially great if you utilize single property sites for your listings), your website, your blog, a specific blog post, your virtual business card or any other information you wish to pass along. When you create a QR code, you can either have it link directly to a URL:
or a phone number:
These codes can be added to your website, blog, business cards, email signatures, directly in your MLS listings and even print media, such as yard signs, open house signs, postcards, etc. When added to print media, anyone with a smartphone and QR Reader simply has to scan the bar code with their QR Reader app and they will have access to whatever information you have added there. If your MLS doesn't allow you to upload a QR code, you can upload it with the rest of your photos instead. A QR code is, after all, an image. It just happens to have a little extra "oompf" to it.
How do I create a QR code?
You don't have to be an IT genius to create your own personal bar code. There are several free code generators on the internet. All you have to do is search "QR Code Generators" and you'll have several at your fingertips. Simply follow their easy steps and you've got your very own personalized bar code to use as you wish. For the images above, I used the Kaywa QR Code generator. I had my bar codes created in just a few minutes.
Not all QR Readers are the same
Just like there are different models of smartphones, there are different models of QR Readers specifically geared towards each smartphone. Make sure that anyone who doesn't have a QR Reader app knows that they need to go online and perform a search of the QR Reader for their specific model phone and check the reviews. Just because the app works on an iPhone 3, for example, doesn't necessarily mean it will work on the iPhone 4.
Why should you be using bar codes for real estate? Keeping up with the latest in technology is what will separate a struggling real estate professional from someone who shines. With smartphone use continuing to rise, you don't want to be left behind!