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What is a QR Code?

Most of us are familiar with the bar codes that are on all of the products we purchase at the grocery store. My first job was in Chicago as a cashier at Dominick’s and these codes saved me tons of time at the register. They  allow the cashier to scan that code so the computer quickly knows the product and of course the price.

But what is this that I keep seeing outside of the grocery store?

Please allow me to introduce you to the QR Code. QR stands for “Quick Response” and was originally invented in 1994 in Japan by Toyota subsidiary Denso-Wave. The QR Code was designed to allow its contents to be decoded at high-speed.

Lately, I have seen this code gaining plenty of traction here in the United States and as more people become familiar with it, I predict it will be gain an even
stronger hold.

Recently, I was at a trade show and many companies had their code on a laminated piece of plastic at their booth. Others exchanged their business cards, which had their own personal QR code printed on the front or back.

It took me a while to gt it. Sort of like Weekend at Bernie’s II, Rocky 26 and all the other lousy sequels out there.  Godfather excluded of course. “Leave the gun, take the cannoli’s” What a great line!

Ok so back to the QR Code.  Companies are now placing all of their information within this code or on their business cards which allows a person with a smart phone and the application downloaded to quickly take a picture of the code and “BAM” everything pops up on the phone such as company name, phone number, web address etc.  The application on your smart phone allows you to store all codes into a folder on your phone.

What a great idea.  Consumers can create a folder for that trade show they are attending and file away all of the companies they meet and wish to remain in contact with or research more at a later date.   No need to exchange business cards as all of your contact data is quickly stored into your phone. So I guess this is keeping us green too.

So that’s it for the basics; but guess what I saw last weekend while I was driving? A delivery truck with a QR code printed on the back driving down the freeway. I am guessing someone was looking at the truck saying, “look at that poor truck with graffiti written on it.”

Check this story out: 

In South Korea, retail grocery giant Tesco is trying something very unique. They have painted in a busy subway a grocery store full of products with QR Codes.  Shoppers are encouraged to scan the QR Code for the groceries they desire and they are next added to their virtual shopping cart and ready for home delivery when the final button is submitted.  Wow!

Check out this video link which talks about this amazing on-line marketing project.

Lastly, be on the lookout for this Google Maps sticker below.  You will find it in the window of your local business merchant. Google recently sent out thousands of these to local businesses to promote Google Maps and the QR Code.

Well now you know what all of the fuss is about and you can sound pretty smart  the next time you notice the truck with all of the graffiti on it.  Just say it was tagged by the QR gang from on-line Central. Tuff Neighborhood.

Until next time – Stay Local…

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How to Maximize your Business Listing on Google Places

We recently were discussing about the importance of Local Search and how important it was for local business owners to be found within Google Places…as it is called.

See screen shot for example:

So the million dollar question……If I am a business owner, how do I get my listing on the first page of Google Places so potential customers can find me and hopefully call?

You want answers?  You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth!!  Sorry, I just escaped into the 1992 movie “A Few Good Men” but I am back now.

My advice is to immediately search for your listing within Google.  If you have been in business for a while, chances are that Google has something on your business already such as an address, company name and maybe a telephone  number.

Type into the Google search bar, your company name and city – state.  Find your listing and click on the “Place Page”

See below for Place Page link.

Once you click on your Place Page link, you should then see something like this:

First thing I would recommend is to claim your listing. Look in the top right area where it says, “Edit this Place – Business Owner”.

Click on that link and follow the instructions. Google will either ring the telephone number on the site in which when you answer will supply a short digit code or they will mail you a postcard from the East Coast which sometimes takes up to two weeks to receive and again, they will mail it to the address on file.

Now that we have claimed your business, we can start doing some Search Engine Optimization. In short, that means making your page friendly so Google can understand what you do and display your page when appropriate.

You will see that I highlighted the “Category” area on the left had side. Make sure to add the maximum of five (5) categories in which your business should appear for.  Never settle for just one as in this example.  Add additional categories such as Family Dentist, Cosmetic Dentist, Pediatric Dentist etc. Make sure to get your Fab Five  (5) categories.

Add a description of your business.  You will be prompted to do this as well. Very important in words to explain what your business does and why people should come to your business.

It seems that both Google and the viewers like the photographs both for rankings and visual appeal. Make sure to put your best foot forward with your images, logo etc. Be bold and add a video as well. It does not have to compete with the filming of “Titanic” but make it matter.

Now that you have claimed your business, added the categories in which you could appear for in searches and also added photographs and some of you, videos, it is now time to distribute your Places Page to the World Wide Web (www).

Stay tuned for the next update in how to maximize what is available on-line and do all you can to get our business listing on the first page of the Google Places or Map area.

Until then…..Stay Local.

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