OK, you've started your pet sitting business. You've told your friends, created business cards and placed them in veterinary clinics and pet stores in your area, even put an ad in the local paper. But clients are not knocking down the door for your services. Sure you've had a few gigs, mostly friends who expect a discount--because they're friends, after all--but not enough to pay the bills. You need a creative way to attract clients.

Have you heard of Quick Response (QR) codes? You've probably seen them on product packaging, brochures, the web, even on TV. And if you have a smartphone, you might have used them. What are they? They're the funny bar codes that are cropping up all over.

What Are QR Codes For?

QR codes are 2-D barcodes that contain additional information, multimedia content, or link to a website. You can embed them in magazines, store displays, menus, business cards and much more. When people scan a QR code with a smartphone equipped with the necessary app, they are immediately linked to the information or website.

Pretty, cool, huh? But you're probably wondering what they can do for you and your business. Well, their potential is limited only by your imagination. But let me get you started with a few ideas for how you could use them on your business cards.

  • You can put additional information about your services. Business cards have limited space. QR codes expand that space.
  • You can link to a video of you talking about your business. Or link to a video of some of your satisfied clients discussing their experiences with you.
  • You can link to a coupon that offers a discount or premium.
  • You can link to a funny or charming pet video just to make your business card interesting and memorable.
  • You can link to your website, perhaps the reservations page where they can automatically book your services or ask questions.  Don't have a website yet? Link to a website with information about the benefits of using a pet sitter rather than a boarding facility (or vice versa if you run a boarding facility).

I'm sure you can think of other uses for the codes. And there are many more places you can put them. For example, you could put them on magnetic business cards, postcards, posters, the side of your car, T-shirts or hats, or client gifts such as key chains or bookmarks.

How Do I Get A QR Code?

It's easy to get a QR code that you can add to your marketing materials. There are many free sites that generate QR codes. Simply Google QR code generators. The site will walk you through a few short creation steps, and seconds later the code is ready to download and use as you want. And if you want to learn much more about QR codes, check out the book "Scan Me: Everybody's Guide to the Magical World of QR Codes."
So if you're looking for ways to get your business into the minds of more people, you might look into ways you can add these powerful little gems to your marketing mix.

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