With the January/February issue, Urban Land introduced a new, square graphic (image right). The graphic, known as a QR (quick response) code, offers readers a quick gateway to more Urban Land content online, accessible through smartphones.
Introduced in 1994 but only becoming popular in the past few years, QR codes are similar to barcodes but can store much more information. Users of camera-equipped smartphones can install a free app called a QR code reader, available from many sources on the internet. With the phone’s camera, the app reads the QR code and links the user seamlessly to a website.
In addition to magazines, QR codes are also found on posters, flyers and business cards, retail points of sale, and even buses and billboards—anywhere a person in the offline world might benefit from related content or features that can be delivered online.
At this time, Urban Land is publishing a single QR code that links readers to the home page of the online version of the magazine at urbanland.uli.org. Urban Land plans to expand use of the technology, possibly with article-specific QR codes that connect readers to online extras, such as photo galleries or videos, complementing the print article.
Some players in land use and real estate have begun using QR codes in their marketing. Residential real estate agents and property managers, for example, use them to promote properties for sale or rent. At curbside, prospective customers can scan the QR code on the sign and connect to online information specific to that property.
Commercial leasing agents have begun putting large QR codes in the windows of vacant properties so passersby can look up floor plans, square footage, leasing rates, and other details.
In most cases, offering a QR code is no different than offering a short web address for customers to type into their mobile browser. But it saves that extra step of text entry—typically with thumbs on a phone’s tiny keyboard or touch screen—and in the business of marketing and customer engagement, quick and easy translates into more leads, more customers, and more business.
Urban Land welcomes your thoughts. Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us how you use QR codes, as well as how you are encountering them in the field of land use and real estate.