Think QR codes are dead? Think again.
In fact, QR (Quick Response) codes are so old (digitally speaking) that they’re new again—and trending.
A 2020 survey found that 18.8 percent of consumers in both the U.S. and U.K. strongly agree that they had noticed an increase of QR code use since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic “shelter-in-place” orders began in March 2020.
While QR codes don’t mean much to the naked eye, they can be read and understood by mobile devices. You’ll see them used on billboards, magazines and various other marketing materials.
They offer the opportunity to provide more information about a product, service or company quickly on a user’s device. The key appeal here is: instant and easy information delivery.
Several factors stalled QR codes back in 2010, including (but not limited to):
- Fewer consumers with smartphones
- The requirement of a separate app to scan QR codes
- QR codes linking to web pages that were not optimized for mobile devices
More than a decade later, we’re seeing higher usage of smartphones, an overall improvement in the abilities of smartphones and mobile-optimized websites becoming the norm (rather than the exception).
Are QR codes right for your business and overall digital marketing strategy? The following are nine ways you can use QR codes so that you can decide for yourself.
Direct to a landing page or website
This is the most commonly thought-of purpose and use of QR codes. And it makes sense. Scanning a QR code can send a user to any relevant sign-up page or other landing page or website.
This can be much easier than asking consumers to type in your URL (no matter how short or simple it might be).
Just make sure that you use a unique URL for your QR code in order to effectively track the traffic generated by it.
Find out more about tracking links.
Another common use of QR codes is for downloading an app. You can link it to the download page of the app to make it easy for users. Of course, keep in mind that you’ll likely have to consider separate QR codes for Apple and Android devices.
Apps themselves also use QR codes to encourage engagement within their communities. Think Snapchat, which has unique QR codes to make it easy for users to add other people as connections. Another app, Spotify, launched QR codes to easily share songs.
Make it easy to shop and save
Businesses often use QR codes for discounts and promos to entice potential customers. These discounts and promotions can be anything that makes sense for your business.
If using this method, be sure to monitor and tweak your promotion accordingly if it doesn’t seem to be as effective as you’d like.
Call your business phone number
It can be helpful to have your QR code link to a “contact us” landing page, but even better, consider having it call your business phone number directly.
It’s just a matter of the right HTML (“tel:” followed by the phone number) to trigger the option to call your business from the user’s phone.
This can be helpful in business conferences or other booth event scenarios.
Send the user a message
Thanks to HTML coding, it’s possible to have a message sent to the user’s device after he or she scans your QR code.
This can be particularly beneficial for SMS text marketing in which you can use for SMS registration opt-ins, by-request product upgrades, user support or even sales.
Send the user an email
QR codes also can be used to send emails to a user. Because emails have more flexibility than SMS text messages, you might find this option a better fit.
What’s contained in that email is up to you. It can feature your latest product release or a new service you’re offering, for example.
Share your location address
QR codes can give users not only your location address but directions as well. This can make it instant and easy for consumers to navigate to you. If you have an event coming up at your business, this QR code can help people find it.
Promote your social media
Make it easy for consumers who like your products and/or services to follow you on social media. Doing so can help them stay connected with your brand.
This can work for any social media page you want to promote.
Looking for more positive reviews? About 90 percent of consumers read a review before visiting a business.
You can display a QR code in your business to encourage your customers to review your on the spot. It can also be placed on a receipt or product that you’re selling.
When using QR codes, a clear call-to-action (CTA) is critical. Users want and need to know what to expect when they scan it. If they have to guess, they’re less likely to do it.
We also recommend testing your QR codes on multiple devices so that you can anticipate (and fix) and possible issues. And keep in mind that users will need internet connectivity is needed for your codes to work.