Should I Use a QR Code for Marketing?

QR code marketing is an excellent technique that can be applied to nearly any small business. As a business owner or manager, you are always trying to find new and effective ways to connect with your audience. These days, that often means leveraging modern technologies to remove friction between you and the customers that you serve. With QR code marketing, you can present your audience with information almost instantly, on devices that are already in their pockets. 

Of course, QR code marketing, like any other form of marketing, needs to be deployed strategically if it is to be effective. You’ll need to think carefully about how your business operates, what information you would like to share, and how your target customers would like to consume that information. Below, we’ll provide more information about the basics of QR codes, how they are created, and some ways in which you might consider using them for marketing efforts.

What Is a QR Code?

A quick response code is a form of barcode that is connected to a piece of information you wish to pass on to the user. These codes are commonly used by businesses for their customers to scan with a smartphone. All major smartphones now have the built-in capability to scan these codes with their cameras, without any special apps. Examples of the types of information that can be linked to a QR code include URLs, social media accounts, phone numbers, emails, text messages, and much more. 

QR code marketing is a popular option for small businesses because it is easy to implement and can be used in many different ways (more on that later). You don’t need anyone on your team with advanced technical knowledge to get started with QR code marketing. The learning curve is very short, and you’ll quickly find yourself thinking of all sorts of different ways that you can leverage this handy technology.

How to Use a QR Code to Market My Business

In this section, we’d like to offer some ideas to get you started with QR code marketing. We can’t tell you exactly how to use these codes for your business, of course, because that will depend on what you are selling, who you are selling it to, and what your goals are for this project. However, the ideas below should get your wheels turning and help you think of relevant opportunities for your business. 

  • Deliver detailed product information. In some situations, you might not be able to provide all the relevant details about a product in your display. Adding that much information might not fit where you have the product in your store, or it may be that you don’t want to take away from the design of the space. Either way, a QR code is a great way to give customers the information they need to make an informed buying decision without putting it all out there in physical form. Just let them know that the code can be scanned for more info, and they’ll be taken immediately to a page with full product information. 
  • Boost app download numbers. Do you have an app for your business? If so, you already know how difficult it can be to get customers to download that app. Using QR code marketing is one good way to gain traction on the app promotion front. You can link your code to the app download page, so customers will only need to scan the code and tap on the download button to add your app to their device. You may also want to explain to your customers what they stand to gain by downloading the app, so you aren’t just asking them to do you a favor with no reward. 
  • Offer a discount. Speaking of rewards, one of the best QR code marketing tactics is to offer a discount. The practical side of how this works will depend on your business, but it could be as simple as taking the customer to a landing page that features a discount code or even a coupon they can present at the register. Few things will get people to take action like offering a deal, so this is likely to be one of the most frequently scanned codes that you ever create. 
  • Direct customers to social media. A large social media following is a powerful marketing tool for a business, so anything you can do to add followers to your various accounts is worthwhile. Take away the friction when people are trying to follow your accounts by creating QR codes that link directly to those platforms. Instead of awkwardly mentioning that you would like them to follow you on social media, just put these QR codes in prominent places in the store so they can be scanned at any moment. Of course, if you also offer some kind of discount or promotion related to social media activity, that will go a long way as well. 

Provide directions. If you have multiple locations for your business, or if you go out into the community to do events away from your main location, use a QR code to make sure everyone knows how to find you. Location QR codes will be tied to your address and they will automatically create directions on the user’s device once they are scanned. Good marketing is about never missing an opportunity, so you want to make sure all interested customers are able to find you without any trouble. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How much do QR codes cost?

QR code marketing is free. You are able to create your own original QR codes with our tool, the Free QR Code Generator. The process requires no registration, it is simple to complete, and you can use it as many times as you like to make a variety of different codes. Also, there is no cost on the user’s end when scanning a QR code, so this is truly a free marketing channel just waiting to be used.

Do consumers understand how to use QR codes?

Most of your target audience should understand how to scan a QR code on their mobile device. It is estimated that well over 100 million people scan a QR code in a given year in the US, meaning that plenty of consumers are familiar with this technology. Also, if you have some customers that are struggling with the code, you can easily explain to them how it works. By opening the camera app on their phone and pointing the lens at the code, the phone will do the scanning automatically and provide a link to the relevant information.

Can I update my codes for new marketing events?

You have a couple of different options for updates as your marketing schedule moves along. First, you can always create a new code. They are free to create, it only takes moments to do so, and you can quickly print off the updated code or distribute it digitally. Alternatively, you could use the same code and update the destination that is linked to that code. For example, if your old code linked to a webpage on your site that had special offers, you could use the same link and just update that page with current information.