Invented in the mid-nineties as a more functional alternative to barcodes, quick response (QR) codes were originally a bit of a flop. Despite their obvious utility, the smartphone technology of today just wasn’t there to support them at that time. Slow mobile internet speeds and lack of integrated software made their use difficult which saw them quickly fizzle out of favour. However, with a global pandemic and some renewed interest, suddenly, they’re everywhere! From touchless payments to restaurant menus, the QR code has made its comeback in a time when we are afraid to touch anything.
If you are new to the QR code game, here are some ideas on what you can use them for and how they might benefit your business…

What is a QR code?

For those of you who need a recap, a QR code is the image of little black squares and dots on a white background that we often see on marketing literature, such as business cards, menus, flyers, leaflets and most recently on signs advertising the NHS QR code for customers to scan using the NHS Test and Trace app.

The QR code image can be scanned by any modern-day Smartphone (with a QR code reader application) and translated into something more meaningful such as web address information and links, or they can be used to direct Smartphone users to a multitude of other media too (e.g. videos, images etc).  Simply put, QR codes are used my marketers to simplify the process of finding a business website or a specific piece of content and therefore enticing more people to try.

5 benefits of using QR codes

There are lots of ways you can use QR codes to benefit your business. Here are a few ideas to inspire you:

  1. Increase online visibility and direct customers to your website.
    Scanning a QR code can lead potential customers to a signup page or any landing page/website, removing the hassle of going through the process of accessing the website and navigating their way around the page. By featuring them on your marketing literature, you will be able to easily direct people to a specific page that you want to promote and increase the online visibility of your business.
  2. Get more people talking about your business.
    Featuring QR codes on marketing literature to direct people to your social channels will create visibility for your social media presence and enhance the number of likes, shares, and followers for your business profile pages on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
  3. Request reviews from customers.
    A good review could make the difference between gaining a new customer and just not quite making the cut. Reviews are a powerful marketing tool often relied on by potential customers when deciding whether or not to purchase a product or service. Requesting reviews via a QR code after a job is complete or a service is delivered, will direct customers to your preferred review platform so they can leave a rating about your business quickly and effortlessly.
  4. Save costs on printing traditional marketing materials
    We have seen lots of examples of this recently with many hospitality outlets replacing their printed menus for online versions to reduce contact points and printing costs. One QR code can take the customer to a dedicated page on your website that can be easily updated, feature special offers etc.
  5. Send an email to customers
    The user will only receive the email once the QR code has been scanned. Sending emails through QR codes will help you read and monitor data for newsletters, email marketing, and your email’s performance rates (e.g. open and bounce rates).

How do I get a QR code for my business?

You can create a QR code for any website page you wish to share, and it is super easy to do. Simply search for a QR code generator online – there are loads to choose from, some free, some paid for. For example, Canva’s QR Code Generator is a good tool for creating a free QR code. Once you have found one, enter your website address and follow the simple on-screen instructions. You can even personalise your QR code with a logo if you wish.

QR codes can benefit a lot of different industries. Aside from saving time and energy, QR codes provide a creative way of engaging customers and allow you to properly measure your marketing campaigns through their ability to store a serious amount of useful information for you can analyse and use to grow your business. If you plan on encouraging your customers to get their phones out and start scanning, why not offer an incentive of a discount only available to customers through the code to get the ball rolling? Food for thought…