Do you know what this is?

Don’t worry if not, there is a neat little moneymaking opportunity behind it.

It’s what’s known as a QR or ‘Quick Response’ code.

How do Quick Response Codes Work?

Here’s how QR codes work: Anyone who has a smartphone with a suitable app can scan what is basically a 2D barcode in seconds. And then be taken to a linked website page, send an email to a linked address, or even be connected to a linked phone number automatically.

Actually QR codes have been around a few years now. They’re already very big in Japan. They’re also becoming quite common in the States. But they’re only just starting to become known here where they’re still quite rare.

Remember you heard it here first: The potential for using QR codes in marketing is massive. There’s every chance they’re going to take the country by storm next year.

If you have a business there are lots of ways you can use them in your marketing. If not, you could turn them into a nice sideline moneymaking project with nothing but a bit of imagination.

How? You see, businesses of all shapes and sizes can make use of QR codes. But most haven’t got a clue how. By setting up in business as a QR code consultant you can help them exploit the potential of QR codes and make some money from it too.

You see, the real power of QR codes is as a tool to link the online, virtual Internet world with the real world of living, breathing customers.

Here are some of the ways that you could put QR codes to work for your customers:

* Post QR codes up on their premises. In their shop and office windows for example. Then link them to their website. This is an innovative way of getting passers-by and window shoppers interested on what’s on offer. (You’re going to see more and more businesses doing this over the next year.)

* Use QR codes IN their premises. Perhaps to make displays interactive and interesting. By linking a displayed QR code to a website you can provide more information or say a video demonstration of the product being used.

* Print them on packaging, on receipts or on tickets. Perhaps linked through to a money-off voucher. This is a good way of encouraging buyers of one product to buy more. (Vouchers have been printed on the back of parking tickets, bus tickets and supermarket receipts for years. This just a more modern take on the same thing.)

* Print the QR codes in press or magazine ads. Rather than buying a whole page the business just needs a small ad. that links the potential buyer through to a website with more information. For example a restaurant can put all their menus online. A travel agency can put hundreds of holiday deals online. All accessed through one small, cheap printed ad.

* Use them on public transport ads. A great way to engage with a captive audience of bored commuters. Also use on flyers, door to door leaflets or mailouts.

* Post them to social media sites.

* Use them as powerful guerrilla marketing! Apparently in Japan consultants print QR codes for their client businesses on T-shirts. Then pay 100 or so students to wear the T-shirts and flood a sporting, cultural or entertainment event. (I can just see some clever entrepreneur doing something like this at the 2012 Olympics and making a packet from it.)

Think of all the businesses you could sell your QR code consultancy service to. Businesses selling to younger people are most likely to be interested, since smartphone usage is much higher amongst younger age groups. Think… bars, pubs, clubs, restaurants, fashion stores, music venues, gyms, hair and beauty salons, fast food outlets to mention just a few.

One point. Although they look intricate it’s quite easy to generate QR codes. You can get free software or free online tools to do it. All you need to do is input the website address/email address/phone number you want the QR code to link to. The system then instantly designs the code for you to download or print off.

There are a couple of ways you could make money from QR code consultancy:

… You could charge a consultancy fee for setting up QR codes.

… Or I’m also thinking you could become an Internet property developer…

Choose a promising niche or niches. For example: Cheap Flights. Bargain Holiday Offers. Cheaper Car Insurance. Restaurant Offers. 24-Hour Fast Food. Taxi Service. Cheap Gym Membership. Best Mobile Phone Deals. Cheap iPads. Anything you like. Register a domain name and create a QR code that links to it.

Now promote that QR code anywhere and everywhere you can in your area (or even nationally) using the methods above. For example: Cheap Flights Deals Here [QR Code]. Generate some traffic. Now, rent out the link from that QR code to businesses selling that product or service. Or charge per lead collected. I don’t doubt that forward-thinking businesses will be more than happy to pay for leads from young, tech-savvy consumers delivered to them in this way.

One last thing. I ought to say that, since the use of QR codes is still fairly new in the UK, I don’t have all the answers to exactly how this might work as yet. But I really do think you’ll find it well worthwhile keeping an eye on this opportunity over the coming year.