6. QR Codes explode
You may not know exactly what a QR code is or how to use one in your business, but you've definitely seen them.

QR codes, or quick-response codes, are an extension of the mobile bandwagon in which businesses can promote exclusive deals via their social media outlets or Web site, according to Shoutlet, a platform that manages and measures social media content.

A QR code is read using a smartphone QR reader app and, once scanned, gives the user more details about a specific event, product, deal or company -- usually by sending a smartphone browser to a specified URL.

"QR codes were predicted to fade quickly, but there has since been a massive increase in their use on everything from advertising campaigns to product packaging," says Sabrina Koester, an account manager at The Eisen Agency and the director of the firm's small business arm. "Their easy accessibility and novelty factor make them an appealing marketing tactic from the biggest brands in the world right down to family-owned businesses."

QR codes are an attractive marketing tactic for small businesses because "they are simple to create, free to generate and easy to track," Koester says.

They're also an easy way for businesses to quickly connect customers to contact information, social media sites and coupons, she adds.

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