Quick response (QR) codes — those now-ubiquitous black-and-white square barcodes — can be found in restaurants, doctors’ offices, grocery stores, retail shops and on direct mail marketing pieces. Customers use their mobile devices to scan QR codes and instantly receive vital information.
QR codes give businesses an affordable and effective way to connect, inform and engage consumers while promoting mobile interaction. We’ll look at the pandemic-induced growth of QR codes and share how businesses can incorporate them into their business marketing plans.
Before 2020, QR code usage was on the decline in most countries. QR codes had initially been adopted with much fanfare and tech-industry buy-in. Apple even incorporated the QR reader into the iPhone’s camera in 2017, and other smartphone manufacturers quickly followed. However, the QR code’s novelty seemed to fizzle, and marketers all but abandoned the technology.
Then, 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic arrived. Businesses found themselves in need of creative tech solutions for a newly touch-free society, and QR codes fit the bill. QR codes found their way back into mainstream marketing, and their usage shows no signs of waning.
The use of QR codes skyrocketed in 2020, reaching a market size of $916.7 million. The global QR code labels market is expected to grow an additional 5.6 percent by 2026, which will exceed $1 billion.
QR code usage is limited only by your marketing team’s imagination. Here are five ideas for using QR codes to promote your company.
Adding a QR code to your business card is a straightforward way to introduce QR codes into your small business marketing strategy. You can embed a QR code with your contact information directly on a physical business card or share a business card QR code via email, SMS, social media and more.
Your QR code can lead to a contact page with your pertinent information or a page on your website that outlines a specific call to action (CTA). You’ll be able to track website visitors who arrive on your website via your business card’s code.
Giveaways, discounts and free trials are excellent ways to drive traffic to your business. You can link a QR code directly to an online coupon or special offer and then build and track engagement to determine the offer’s effectiveness. Linking to incentives is also an excellent way to generate new leads.
Using QR codes with promotions and incentives gives your marketing team flexibility and control. Your business can pivot to a new strategy if the current one isn’t effective and tweak the QR code’s online destination as desired.
Online reviews help drive business and foster trust, but asking customers to submit reviews can be time-consuming and ineffective.
Instead, use QR codes to link customers directly to a review site like Google, Yelp and other business review websites or a social media platform where you’d like them to post a review. At the same time, you can offer a discount or enter them into a drawing as an incentive.
Place QR codes facilitating reviews in stores, offices, restaurants or on receipts. Since customers will use their phones to access the QR code, it’s also a unique opportunity for them to include a photo with their review, helping attract more attention.
Link your QR code directly to a review site or social platform, or provide customers with multiple options. This is an excellent way to learn more about your customers’ preferences and where they go to read reviews.
The customer experience has become increasingly crucial to business growth, and QR codes can help improve your customer experience in many ways.
For example, many museums and attractions place QR codes throughout venues. They link to audio and video files, text, and maps, among other things. You can also use QR codes to engage customers in interactive games, such as a scavenger hunt.
QR codes can empower customers to move through experiences at their own pace and interact with your brand in new ways. They let you provide more positive and memorable touchpoints without necessarily requiring more staff or an increased marketing budget.
Let your industry, business and imagination fuel ideas for QR code usage. For example, the restaurant industry initially used QR codes to share menu offerings. Now, however, you’ll find opportunities to pay your bill, join customer loyalty programs, and follow a restaurant on social media via QR codes. Here are some more creative ideas to inspire your QR code usage:
QR codes allow businesses to rotate the content customers access, which is much more cost-effective than regularly printing materials that quickly become outdated or end up in the trash.
QR codes are an effective small business tech trend with numerous advantages. Here are some benefits of incorporating QR codes into your marketing strategy.
It took a pandemic to accelerate the use of QR codes, but their popularity shows no signs of wavering. As consumers embrace QR codes, marketers will have more opportunities to find new and effective ways to use QR codes as a mobile marketing solution.
As you consider incorporating QR codes into your marketing strategy, remember that every business is different. Take advantage of the tactics and benefits that make the most sense for your company’s goals and customers.