Commentary by John Lim
RISMEDIA, February 8, 2011—Unless you have been on a hiatus since the NAR Conference in New Orleans last November, spending all the money you made selling real estate on Facebook, you’ve probably noticed small, square codes popping up in places like print ads, magazines, billboards and trade-show booths. These useful, efficient little marvels are QR codes, also known as Quick Response codes. They are all the rage in the real estate industry right now. Although virtually ubiquitous in Europe and Japan, they’re just starting to gain popularity in the States. QR codes are readable by almost all smartphones and, with a simple scan, can drive a mobile phone user to any type of content—a website, someone’s contact information, or even a simple message.
I have read many articles and listened to many people discuss whether this technology is a fad or the future. I am here to say it can be either. The technology is the future. However, bad marketing and misuse of the technology will turn people off and quickly turn QR codes into a fad. We have seen this happen with MySpace, AOL and others. Outside of the U.S., QR codes have become a staple of everyday life. In most of Europe and Japan, for example, it’s difficult to walk a single block without seeing QR codes working to do everything from providing commuters with updated mass transit schedules to showing a restaurant’s current menu to even initiating a product purchase.
Looking back on the last few years and the social media craze in the real estate industry, the answers as to why social media wasn’t as globally successful for business as predicted are pretty clear. Although a great way to keep connected with friends, family and experts, social media was untested as a real estate sales vehicle, and many still don’t understand how to utilize social media for business purposes. The lesson we learned from social media, is to seek to leverage technology that is proven, that works, and that is sustainable within your day-to-day marketing efforts. How many agents or firms can show how social media truly added to their bottom line? For most, between the cost and time spent learning/managing the medium and creating the appropriate content based on what all the experts suggested, marginal results were yielded. That is, of course, with the exception of Mark Zuckerberg and a handful of other partners who now have a firm worth $50 billion.
As U.S. mobile phone technology increases, so will the presence and ubiquity of QR codes. Why? Because they’re efficient. For example, within a click or two (or a touch or two for touch-screen mobile users), a mobile user can arrive at a website, saving that user dozens of keystrokes or mobile Web searches. QR codes can supplement a print ad with extra content and information, and facilitate a new business connection or customer relationship within seconds.
So where do we go from here? We know that QR codes work and we’ve seen how efficient they can be for the consumer. Now let’s talk about you, the real estate professional.
The most common issue surrounding QR codes, one that creates a substantial barrier to entry, is the management aspect. If you have multiple listings, to create a unique QR code for each listing with a unique link to that listing’s information can be cumbersome. When it sells, you have to destroy the QR code, create a new one for a new listing, repeating that process each time. Handled this way, the sheer management will prevent mass adoption of QR codes in the real estate industry. For a technology to advance and become more than just a fad, it has to do one thing: make you more efficient. So the real question is, does QR code technology work for you? Or, do you work for the technology?
Dedicated to making technology work for you, Mobile Real Estate ID has created the OneCode™ QR management system. With OneCode™, you have one QR code, and it’s the first and last code you will ever need. Simply use this code on all of your For Sale signs with zero management or technical skills and your potential buyers can access your property info, pictures and contact information within 60 seconds. No need to manage multiple codes, no swapping stickers, no reprinting signs. Just one simple, efficient, and highly effective way for you to generate more leads without a learning curve, complex setup, or ongoing management.
There is little doubt that QR codes are here to stay and will continue to grow into being the preferred way for mobile users to connect to information. Given the simplicity provided by OneCode™, this is now a medium you need to embrace and can’t afford to miss. Remember, great technology should work for you—not create more work for you.
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