Quick Response (QR) Codes are two‐dimensional black and white modules arranged in a square pattern. You may have seen them at many of the big box stores, on flyers around town, and now in real estate marketing. QR codes are essentially bar codes designed to be scanned and translated by smart phones. To scan and interpret the QR code, you need one of the following:

  • A camera phone
  • A web‐enabled phone
  • A QR scanner

The QR code takes a piece of information from transitory media, like a property flyer, and translates the information on a cell phone. The results provide a richer marketing experience for the user, like a virtual tour or mobile‐enabled website. QR codes can store and digitally present much more data, including URL links, GPS coordinates, and text.

Where to Use QR Codes

Any time you’d like to assist buyers and sellers by saving them time or providing a better experience when viewing your marketing materials, that’s an ideal application of QR codes. The following are our suggestions of the best uses of QR codes generated from your Powerline800 system.

Business Cards

Placing a QR code on your business card eliminates the need for a prospect to manually type contact information into their phone. Set up a Powerline extension with your business contact information and a picture. Then, when a prospect scans the code, your information automatically appears in their contacts.

Print Brochures

QR codes are a perfect fit for print brochures if you are a firm believer in your print marketing. Print is the ultimate transitory medium. Its perishable and two-dimensional nature can’t do your listing justice. Placing a QR code that launches a mobile‐enabled website allows you to provide interested prospects a richer user experience. The key is to make sure your website is mobile‐enabled. Non-mobile sites are unusable on a smartphone and turn prospects off. Our single property websites are automatically mobile‐enabled and search engine optimized. For information on how to write and present print ads that work, refer to our marketing and user guides.

Promotional Gift Items

If you use promotional gift items like calendars or magnets, the prospect is likely to keep them around and use them. By placing a QR code on the gift item, you can engage a cold prospect that is warming up.

Listing Presentations

Winning listing presentations is about creating points of differentiation by convincing a seller that you will sell their home for more money and in less time than your competitor. Creating these points of differentiation establishes your unique selling proposition and explains it to a seller. Proper use of QR  codes assists you in closing your listing presentation by showing a seller you understand this marketing strategy.

Where not to Use QR Codes

QR codes do not provide call capture, so you should use them in place of lead generators that identify your hottest leads. Also, do not use them when providing information to a prospect in the field or if the prospect is already enjoying a rich experience viewing your marketing since it requires an extra step for the consumer to view the information.

Yard Signs

The overwhelming majority of most marketing articles suggest the number one use of QR codes is on a yard sign. For example, a typical article says:

Lawn Signs would be the most obvious usage in my opinion and this is where (QR Codes) will come into play handily. Consumers like to get as much information as humanly possible before calling a sales person (you BTW). By placing the QR Code on your sign riders you will be providing potentially the hottest leads, those driving around looking for homes to buy, with all of the information needed about that property instantly.

We disagree. QR Codes do not provide call capture. Why should you give your hottest leads all of the information they need about your listing without asking them to identify themselves? The article counters this argument with:

I know some Realtors would argue that there is no longer a need to call you if you give away all of that info through the QR Code on the sign. I would argue there is already no need to call you to get that information (think online portals like Realtor.com, Zillow and Trulia all of whom have mobile apps that provide those details).

If the consumer is hesitant to call you because you gave them insufficient information, they may also be hesitant to call you with all of the information. Additional information could disqualify them up front.

Direct the consumer to call your 800Powerline or SMS/text for more information on yard sings. It’s easier to call or text than it is to get out of your car and scan a QR code. You can also embed a link in your SMS/text response to launch a website. The consumer experience is the same and you, the agent,capture their information. If you would like a mobile app that actually tracks your consumer’s activity, unlike the Realtor.com, Zillow, or Trulia apps, please review our mobile property search application, Roam Homes. Roam Homes captures the consumer’s contact information at registration and tracks their saved searches and preferences to report information to you for follow up.

If you want to put nontrackable information on a yard sign, put the URL for a single property website.

Video

Some marketing coaches suggest you display a QR code in your promotional video. The idea is that the consumer will pause the video, scan the QR code, and then go to your agent website. QR codes are supposed to take consumers from a transitory piece of media to a richer, permanent one. Video is already both rich and permanent, so there is no reason to remove your video viewer from that experience to scan a QR code that loads a website.

There is also the suggestion to put a QR code on your website to launch your video. It is more user friendly and easier to frame in your video on your site. YouTube and other public video sites have plugin tools to do this. Adding extra steps risks the prospect losing interest when the result can easily be accomplished using a simpler and more direct tool.

Summation

QR codes serve a purpose in your marketing, but they should not replace direct response marketing. Their purpose is to increase production, and they should be used to turn cold leads warm. Keep in mind:

  • The medium in which you advertise a QR code should be transitory or perishable. The purpose of the QR code is to increase engagement to lead the prospect to you.
  • The website that is launched needs to be mobile‐enabled.
  • Do not use QR codes to replace call capture; your hottest leads are the ones you should qualify with the most diligence.
  • Try out different QR readers – they are not all made the same. Make a suggestion to which QR reader your prospect should download.
    • For iPhone, we like QR App, Tap Reader, QR Scanner and QR Reader, and Red Laser
    • For Android, we like i‐nigma, QR Droid, and AndroidTapp.
    • For Blackberry, we like CertainTeed, NeoReader, and Mobiletag.