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QR Codes: How are QR codes being used for marketing and business?

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

In today’s digital era, integrating QR codes into your marketing strategy is a modern and innovative technique which provides accessibility and efficiency. These little black-and-white squares may appear simple, but behind the graphics, they hold the power to connect an online audience and deliver online content within seconds. In this guide, we’ll explore how QR codes are being used throughout marketing strategies and how businesses are using this cost-effective method to boost engagement, drive traffic, and enhance brand awareness.

What is a QR code?

A QR code (quick response code) is a type of two-dimensional barcode that can store a large amount of data compared to traditional barcodes.

They can hold various types of data, including numeric, alphanumeric and byte/binary. QR codes are widely used in marketing and advertising, linking to websites and social media profiles, mobile payment systems such as Apple Pay and Google Pay, product tracking and login and authentication systems.

How does a QR code work?

A QR code works by encoding information in a visual pattern that can be read and interpreted by a scanner, usually a smartphone camera. Information is encoded into a QR code using a specific pattern of black and white squares. The data can include text, URLs, contact information, or other types of information. QR codes use a standardised encoding system that ensures they can be read by any QR code reader.

Tips for using QR codes for your business

Creating high-quality QR codes is essential for successful marketing integration. The following tips will help marketers generate codes that can be easily scanned by customers to reliably reach targeted online content.

  • Correct proportions — Make sure your QR codes are large enough to be easily scanned. Small or blurry codes will frustrate customers or not work with their digital devices.
  • High contrast — Use high contrast between the foreground and background colours for best scanning. Black and white is ideal but dark colors on a light background also work well.
  • Avoid inversion — Don’t create a QR code where the foreground and background colours are inverted, as this can cause scanning errors.
  • High quality finishings — Generate your QR codes at a high resolution so they are crisp, clean images without pixelation.
  • Optimise the location — The landing page the QR code leads to should be optimised for mobile use and display the right information at a rapid speed. You will also need to ensure that any forms or CTA’s are working effectively.
  • Test before using — Don’t deploy QR codes in marketing until you test that they can be successfully scanned and lead to the right destination from multiple devices.

How to use QR codes in your marketing strategy

Using QR codes in your marketing strategy can enhance customer engagement, streamline processes, and provide valuable data insights. Here are some effective ways to incorporate QR codes into your marketing strategy:

  1. Direct users to your website or content

    Landing pages: Create dedicated landing pages for specific campaigns, promotions, or product launches. You can then use QR codes in your advertisements to direct users to these pages where they can learn more and use your services. This approach also allows you to track the effectiveness of each campaign by monitoring traffic and conversions.

    Similarly, you can embed QR codes on product packaging or in-store displays that link to product pages. These pages can include detailed product descriptions, specifications, reviews, and videos demonstrating the product’s use and details.
  2. Print advertising

    Magazines and newspapers: Include QR codes in your print ads to provide a connection between offline and online consumers. Readers can scan the code to access exclusive content, promotional offers, or further information about the advertised product or service.

    Flyers and posters: QR codes on event posters or flyers can provide quick access to event details, sign-up forms, schedules, and maps. For instance, a QR code on a concert poster can link to a page where users can buy tickets, view the lineup, or get directions to the venue.
  3. Increase social media engagement

    QR codes can be used to direct customers to your social media profiles, making it easier for them to follow you and engage with your content. They can also be used to promote contests and giveaways or provide a signup system for newsletters.
  1. Payments and transactions

    Mobile Payments: QR codes can streamline the payment process both online and in-store. Customers can scan a QR code to complete a transaction using mobile payment platforms like Apple Pay, Google Pay, or PayPal. This not only speeds up the checkout process but also reduces the need for physical contact, enhancing safety and convenience. This system is often used in restaurants, cafes and retail.
  2. Track and analyse

    Analytics integration: Integrate QR code tracking with your analytics tools to gather data on how and where your codes are being scanned. This can provide insights into customer behaviour, such as the most effective locations for your QR codes and the types of content that drive the most engagement.
  3. Customer feedback

    QR codes can be used to direct customers to online surveys or review pages using when printed on receipts, packaging, or at the point of sale. This makes it easy for customers to provide feedback on their experience or the product they purchased.

Annie is imaginaire's Digital Marketing Executive and covers topics such as social media, web design, SEO and content.

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