QR Marketing Strategies

QR code marketing is a pivotal part of any business. Unlike most forms of effective marketing, incorporating QR codes can be done at no extra cost. 

Moreover, the prolific number of different QR code types that exist has meant that marketers and businesses can use them to achieve several distinct marketing goals. These include:

  • Generate more sales
  • Offer direct feedback
  • Increase user engagement
  • Blend digital and printed advertising

In this guide, we take a look at what QR code marketing is, how you can use it effectively, and what other important marketing strategies you should consider as a small business.

Recommended: Looking for a way to make custom QR codes? Check out our free QR code generator.

The Top Marketing Strategies for Small Business

There are many great marketing strategies for small businesses. All of them can be used independently, but they mostly complement each other. This means that any business with a successful marketing campaign will likely incorporate several — if not all — of these strategies simultaneously. 

The top marketing strategies for small businesses include:

  • QR Code Marketing
  • Content Marketing
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Partner Marketing
  • SEO Marketing
  • Email Marketing

QR Code Marketing

QR code marketing is a relatively new concept, but this is mainly because most smartphones now have the capability to scan a QR code easily. 

There are many different types of QR codes, all of which can be used to achieve different results. For example:

  • URL QR codes can be used to direct traffic towards a specific website
  • Social media QR codes (e.g., Instagram, Facebook, etc.) can increase user engagement and generate new leads.
  • PDF QR codes can provide further details about a product and improve customers’ experiences without detracting from its packaging’s design. 
  • Image QR codes can include a gallery of images that illustrate your products’ best features.

The largest advantage of QR code marketing is the ability to blend digital and print advertising, as this can significantly expand your reach and lead to a much higher return on investment (ROI). 

For example, any prospective buyers who are interested in one of your products after seeing one of your printed ads (e.g., in a brochure, newspaper, billboard, etc.) can scan a QR code and instantly be directed towards your online platforms. Here, they can learn more about your services and — more importantly — make purchases.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is the concept of creating interesting and engaging content for your target audience. This can allow you to:

  • Build consumer trust
  • Generate leads
  • Build your brand image
  • Offer feedback 

There are many different ways that businesses can engage in content marketing. Some of the most popular ones include ebooks, explainer videos, infographics, and articles.

All in all, content marketing is a great supplemental marketing feature. It can allow you to build your brand’s authority online, which will make unsure consumers more likely to invest in one of your products. 

Content marketing additionally provides an opportunity for you to include several backlinks, and this can actually increase your domain authority and improve your business’s overall rankings with the Google algorithm. 

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing can allow you to increase your sales-generated revenue without having to incur the large costs that are associated with traditional advertising (e.g., SEO, PPC, print advertising, etc.). 

This is because — subject to your specific agreement — your affiliates will likely only be paid after they have been successful (e.g., per conversion.). Again, this is not always the case, and depending on your affiliate’s authority or generated traffic, they may demand a fixed fee as well. 

Either way, affiliate marketing can be a very affordable yet effective advertising approach when done correctly.

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is pivotal for any small business. This is because it can allow brands to:

  • Generate more leads
  • Engage with their audience directly
  • Build their brand image
  • Increase their sales revenue

For more information, see our guide to social media marketing for your business.

Partner Marketing

Partner marketing refers to the practice of partnering with another business that has a similar or identical target audience to yourself so as to expand both companies’ marketing reaches.

In practice, this is usually a marketing method adopted by small businesses with complementary products (e.g., mobile phones and SIM cards, pencils and notebooks, etc.). 

This is because an increase in demand for one business’s products is likely to increase the demand for the other business as well. Of course, this presumes that there are no other competitors that are better suited to take advantage of this. 

Businesses can engage in partner marketing by:

  • Sharing their email lists
  • Making bundled offers
  • Exchanging blogs or articles

SEO Marketing

Search engine optimization (SEO) marketing refers to the practices used to make online content rank highly organically (i.e., without paid advertising methods). SEO is usually used in conjunction with pay-per-click advertising and content marketing. 

SEO is not an exact science. This is because Google and other popular algorithms generally introduce several updates every year, meaning that successful SEO marketers are generally the ones that can experiment with what works well — and what doesn’t — and correctly extrapolate what needs to be done to rank organically.

Email Marketing

Email marketing can be very valuable for small businesses, primarily because it is completely free if you exclude the time and resources needed to build an adequate email list. 

Businesses can incorporate sign-up processes or introduce certain incentivization schemes (e.g., “sign up for a 20% discount on your next product”) in order to build an email list of prospective consumers. 

These consumers can then be directly emailed with special offers and new releases at no added cost.

Industries That Use QR Codes for Marketing

Since QR codes can be incorporated in businesses in so many different ways, there is generally no limit to the number of industries or businesses that can use them. 

Having said that, there are a few industries where QR code marketing has been the most popular. These include:

  • Fashion
  • Ecommerce
  • Hospitality
  • Finance
  • Real Estate Agencies


The fashion industry has made full use of QR code marketing in recent years. QR codes have been used in billboards to redirect consumers towards online websites. These would then display a fashion brand’s latest line of clothing or newest releases.

Similarly, some businesses have incorporated QR codes as an incentive for consumers to make further inquiries by including a social media follow QR code. 

QR codes have also been used as a form of protection against counterfeit items by allowing users to scan them to “check for authenticity.” This can be a great way of avoiding a situation where consumers are dissatisfied with your business as a result of purchasing an unauthentic product.


Ecommerce businesses can benefit from QR code marketing because it enables them to direct consumers towards money-making websites. 

Since ecommerce businesses make transactions online, providing QR codes in printed advertising methods can be very beneficial and can significantly increase the number of conversions and sales that they generate. 

QR codes can also be used to improve an ecommerce business’s social media standing, which can then be utilized as an additional advertising platform. 


The hospitality sector (e.g., restaurants, hotels, etc.) can use image QR codes to market the most attractive and eye-catching elements of their venues. This can be both convenient and cost-effective, as publishing a large number of images through conventional advertising methods (e.g., brochures, billboards, etc.) can be very expensive. 

Interested buyers can also scan a QR code to be directed to a website where they can instantly make a booking or reservation.


The finance industry has seen many businesses incorporate QR codes for marketing purposes. These have allowed them to:

  • Increase app downloads: This is very valuable since the majority of consumers are now relying on mobile banking services.
  • Build their brand image: QR code marketing can allow financial institutions to look more “prestigious” than their competitors. 

Real Estate

Businesses within the real estate industry use QR codes to provide prospective buyers with a more immersive overview of the properties that they are interested in.

For example, a particular property may be advertised — either online or offline — and include a description of the property’s specificities coupled with a few photos. At the same time, the real estate agency or owner that is attempting to sell the property may include a YouTube QR code that will direct consumers towards a property tour video. 

These are generally loved by consumers because they provide an immersive experience.

Similar to other sectors, QR codes can also be used to direct interested buyers from printed advertising into a specific URL website where they can get in contact with a real estate agent and make further inquiries.

How to Use QR Codes to Market Your Small Business

In order to use a QR code for marketing your small business, you will need to follow these steps:

  • Find an online QR code generator
  • Create a QR code
  • Download and share your QR code

Finding an online QR code generator can be a bit difficult because there are so many options out there. 

As a small business, you will likely want to prioritize finding a provider that offers QR codes for free while at the same time not including their own logo on the QR codes — this can make your business look unprofessional. 

For specific recommendations, see our review of the seven best QR code generators for 2024.

When creating your QR code(s), you will need to consider:

  • What type of QR code(s) to make: There are many different types of QR codes to choose from. You will need to consider what you want to achieve as a result of using a QR code in your marketing campaign (e.g., increased leads, more revenue, increased sales, increased user engagement, etc.).
  • How you should customize your QR code: Your ability to do this will vary depending on the QR code generator that you use, as well as whether you are on a free or paid plan. Either way, you will likely be able to choose your QR code’s colors and have the ability to add your business’s logo. 

After you have customized your QR code so that it aligns with your brand’s image, all that is left to do is download it in your preferred format and share it on your digital and printed platforms.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I use a QR code for marketing?

Yes. Using QR codes in your marketing campaign is beneficial regardless of your business’s size or industry. 

This is because QR codes can be used for free and can allow you to:

  • Blend your online and offline advertising
  • Increase your social media platforms’ followers
  • Increase your user-engagement
  • Increase your sales
  • Improve your brand image

If you are interested in using QR codes for your business, see our guide on how to get a QR code.

Can I use QR codes for my social media?

Yes. QR codes can be used to direct users to your social media platforms (e.g., YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc.).

How can you edit a dynamic QR code post-print?

You can edit a dynamic QR code post-print by editing the information through your chosen dynamic QR code generator. Once you save your changes, users will be able to see the updated information when they scan your QR code.

Unlike static QR codes, information that your audience will be directed to is not stored within the actual contents of a dynamic QR code. Instead, it’s stored within the QR code generator platform (and is often why you must create an account to make dynamic QR codes).

How do I print a QR code correctly?

Printing a QR code correctly requires you to follow a virtually identical process to printing any high-quality image. 

Having said that, there are several pre-print considerations that you should keep in mind. These include your QR code’s size, content, and quality.

For more information, see our guide on How to Print a QR Code.