The problem I have is that while everyone and their brother is telling you that you need to be using QR codes, very few resources are specifically showing you the best ways to use QR codes for real estate.
It is actually why we exist, innovation is rewarded, execution is worshiped.
Just like with Facebook, Twitter, Blogging, Mobile, Video and any other buzz worthy platform or new technology some will adapt it quickly and pick up market share, most will fail and simply use it because the other agents in their office are. So below you will find what in my opinion are the 5 best ways to use QR codes for real estate right now. I would never assume these are the only ways and would love you to add your own creative ideas in the comments below.
Quick note before we get started with the list. A QR Code is simply a bridge to a website that when scanned with a mobile device takes a consumer on a journey beyond the paper it is printed on. One of the major perks is that all of the scans are tracked and thus the ROI is fairly easy to detect, critical to any high level marketer. I also think there are 2 key things to consider when using QR codes:
1. The web page that you direct the consumer to MUST be optimized for viewing on a mobile device. Due to this I am recommending 3 sites that will cover all 5 strategies. The first is Vyoo.it which will create a mobile friendly landing page with all of the details of the property of your choosing including price, photos and of course your contact info. The second site is Goo.gl which allows you to turn any URL into a QR Code in seconds, again all scans are being tracked. The third is YouTube which is not only optimized well for mobile but will allow you to bring a video element to your QR code marketing. To make a long story short when I recommend a video be used as the destination simply go to YouTube and grab the URL of the video and then visit Goo.gl to generate the QR Code.
2. This is a new, rapidly evolving technology (visit Best Buy, public transit, hospitals, etc lately?) that requires further explanation than just slapping a weird looking icon on your print marketing. Anytime you use a QR Code be sure to in small text explain that it requires a QR Code Reader which can be downloaded for FREE to their phone NOW by visiting their app store. It is also critical that you provide a tiny URL as an additional option below the QR Code so that those who just can not figure out the whole scanning thing can type the shortened URL directly into their mobile browser and end up in the same place anyways. Both Vyoo.it and Goo.gl provide a tiny URL along with the QR Code making this very easy to execute.
On to the top 5 ways to use QR Codes for Real Estate:
1. Lawn Signs – This would be the most obvious usage in my opinion and this is where Vyoo.it 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. Price, interior photos and community info are typically things that a lawn sign does not provide and by leveraging a QR Code you are really giving the consumer what they want when they want it. 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). People work with people they like, they will like you more if you give them more of a reason to and stop holding back data that is easily obtained without you. Again, follow the guidelines I mentioned above by further explaining the technology and providing a URL alternative on the sign rider.
2. Business Cards – Another no brainer in my opinion but I can envision agents screwing this up royally. If I had to guess most agents will put a QR Code on their business card that will lead to a website where the exact same information on the business card is then regurgitated. NO VALUE there beyond maybe the web visitor but again is your website even mobile friendly yet? So here is the strategy. Record a video that you upload to YouTube that is 100% specific to the fact that they got your business card and scanned it. Then use Goo.gl to generate the QR Code. So for example the beginning of the video should say “Thanks so much for taking the time to scan the QR Code on the back of my business card it was great meeting you in person…” I would also then offer them up any other resources like your Facebook Page, Blog or Twitter account letting them know that you want to connect where THEY want to connect. In the video be sure to layover text with all of the other URL’s that would be relevant and mention that when it gets closer to the time for them to buy or sell hopefully they will remember that you leverage the latest technology both off line and online!
3. Direct Mail – Tracking ROI through the mail is now actually very easy using QR Codes. If you do just listed cards use Vyoo.it to send them to the mobile optimized site for that new listing. If you are looking to generate leads and new business you may also consider doing a video unique to the mail campaign similar to the above business card strategy. So for example you are mailing to Cypress Creek…start the video with “One of the things I love about working in the Cypress Creek area are the people…” Then obviously let them know that when the time comes to list they deserve to work with a Realtor who leverages the latest online and offline marketing. Even include images and video of the neighborhood to really give it that hyper local touch. Again offer up all of your contact info and social media URL’s in the video and on the mail itself.
4. Property Flyers – Considering all of the information about the listing is on the flyer right there in front of them I think that this is another opportunity to leverage video. If you have a full video tour of the home on YouTube link to that. If not create an Animoto video or something slideshow esque, upload to YouTube and link to that. If you are uncomfortable with video then link to a Vyoo.it listing page where they can then see additional photos and information that would not fit into a single page flyer. I have walked past 1000′s of real estate offices and have seen none of them leveraging this idea which again seems to fall into the no brainer category.
5. Your Vehicle – Hear me out on this one. I polled our Facebook fans a while back to see how many of them were leveraging their contact info and domain name on their ride. Seemed to be the majority. That being said how many agents have taken it to the next level and actually placed a QR Code on their car? My guess is zero, but hey I could be wrong. The strategy with this QR Code should be similar to the business card. Again, address in the video that you link to that you appreciate them taking the time to scan the QR Code on your vehicle and that if they are looking for a tech savvy agent to help them with their buying or selling needs you are the one they should contact when they are ready. An additional bonus is that if it replaces the current headshot you have on the window of your Camry I have made the world a better place!
So there you have it. If you agree and learned something let me know in the comments below. Again I am confident there are many other uses for QR Codes in real estate and would love to hear them but I feel that this is the most specific and strategy focused list on the web created with Realtors in mind.