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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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So what is Local Search anyway?

After many years in the Internet business, if there is one thing I have learned it is that the industry loves to coin many acronyms and duplicate definitions.

SEM stands for Search Engine Marketing but then there is SEO right? What is the difference between Organic and Natural?  Is it Paid Search or PPC?  Is it cost per click or CPM?  Are you getting the idea? It gets a little crazy.

Then there was the rage that every search agency must offer Social Media.  You must have a social media strategy they say but what does that really mean?  As I looked closer, most were simply creating a Facebook page or a Twitter account.  It always seemed like so much more was there to be done regarding social media but digging deeper, no one really figured it all out.

Most recently, Local Search has taken the front and center spotlight but what exactly does that mean and will it be important next year or will it’s light soon dim like roller skates, Atari and phone booths?

In the simplest terms, Local Search is here to stay and means this:

Being visible within a map area online as a searcher queries your services in the city or location that you provide service.

Think of the once popular Yellow Pages books.  You had to be there if you were a local business.  If your kitchen sink went on the bum, chances are you flipped to the “P” section of the Yellow Pages and called the ad with the most color or offered the best discount.  When was the last time you truly used the phone book?  Standing on it to reach the wine glasses does not count.

Today, most will go online, say to Google for example and type in “Plumber.”

So wait a minute…looking at the illustration above, how does Google know I am in Newport Beach CA?  What are all of these red balloons? Well the secret rests in your computer Internet connection.  As your computer connects to the Internet – your location is then known…whether it is from your office, your home, the airport or the Starbucks downtown.  Be careful though because if you are using a company issued computer, the location might be set already to the corporate office location. One search and you will see if this is the case and in one click of the mouse, you can edit the future searches to your home town location.  As for the balloons, that is simply Google’s fine art representing local business.

In that instance that you have a company computer or if you simply want to find nice “Restaurants in Palm Springs CA” for your big date this weekend, you would simply want to add the city in your search query such as “Restaurant in Palm Springs CA” This will bring the local information to you in the same format as above.

So is Local Search important?  Well, if you are not showing up as I search for a plumber or that restaurant in Palm Springs, how do I contact you and give you my business?  Well I think you just answered the big question…

Local Search is here to stay and more importantly, as more and more people utilize their mobile telephone to search for businesses while on the go, the need to be present on the local search engines will be even more crucial to one’s success.

Now how do you become visible on the local searches?  How can you get all of those good ratings from your current clients to let new customers know you are a solid company to do business with…

Well stay tuned as next week’s update will speak to these very questions.

Until then…Stay Local!


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