By now, everyone is familiar with the site of QR codes, even if they don't know what they are or what they are for. Many businesses are using these funny-looking images to help build their brands, drive traffic, solicit feedback, and more.
If you're a business owner who hasn't taken the time to understand what a QR code is or how it can help you promote your business, then you're missing out on a great opportunity. In this post, we'll break down what you need to know to get started putting QR codes to work as an additional tool in your marketing strategy.
What is a QR Code?
QR codes are a descendant of barcodes that take advantage of the more powerful imaging sensors and processing power available in modern devices. While barcodes use a simple sensor to scan an image that is only meant to be read horizontally, QR codes use the camera of a smartphone to scan a 2d image. By encoding their data in two dimensions instead of just one, QR codes are able to pack a lot more information in them than barcodes are. Usually, this information is used to point to a website, which can then contain even more information of interest to the person scanning the code.
How Do QR Codes Work?
Like barcodes, a special scanner is required to read a QR code. Thankfully, nearly everyone these days has a device in their pocket capable of providing this functionality. Smartphones are the most commonly used method for scanning QR codes. Users need to have a special app on their phone that will allow them to snap a picture of the QR code to begin the scanning process. Thankfully, most newer phones have this functionality built directly into the camera app they ship with.
How Are QR Codes Generated?
Special software is used to create QR codes. There are paid options available that may provide additional features, greater ease-of-use, or the ability to customise the appearance of generated QR codes, but you can readily find free options that can generate useful QR codes. The process is usually very simple: you tell the QR code generator which URL you want your code to point to and it will encode the data and display the QR code.
10 Ways to Use QR Codes
Now you know that you can generate a QR code and allow someone to scan it so they can be sent to a URL. But how does that help you promote your business or website? What ways are companies using the code that provides an effective marketing opportunity? As with almost anything in the marketing world, the best companies find creative ways to make use of the technology. To point you in the right direction, we've assembled the top 10 ways brands use QR codes.
1. Drive Website Traffic
Since QR codes point to a URL, using them to send potential customers to your website seems like the logical thing to do. It's common to find QR codes in print advertisements, promotional posters, billboards, product packaging, and nearly anywhere they can be made to fit that send customers to a website in the hopes of driving traffic to them. If you simply want to drive as much traffic as possible to your site without having to spend a ton of money on ads to do so, this can be a great option.
2. Provide Rewards Program Enrolment
If you have a business with a physical location and you offer a rewards program, QR codes can be a great way to send customers to the enrolment form for that program. Promotional materials can be displayed near the checkout that advertises your rewards program and directs customers to scan the QR code to enrol. Once they scan the QR code and arrive at the URL, you should make it as simple as possible for them to sign up for the rewards program. Less friction makes customers more likely to complete the process.
3. Solicit Customer Feedback
Customer feedback is a vital part of the growth strategy for any business. In order to successfully build your brand, you need to understand what you're doing right so you can do more of it, and what you're doing wrong so you can fix it. Receipts, invoices, and other post-transaction materials make excellent locations to place a QR code and let customers know they can scan it if they'd like to provide feedback.
4. Promote Social Media Accounts
Social media has become a boon for marketing teams. When customers follow you on social media, you can easily keep them aware of promotions, keep your brand fresh in their minds, and get their thoughts on how you're doing. But that can't happen if customers don't know about your page. QR codes placed on packaging, posters, and other promotional materials can direct customers straight to a specific social media account, or to a page that links to all of them. Then, they'll be able to effortlessly follow your accounts without having to take the time to open the various apps and search for your company.
5. Give Directions to Your Business
Placing promotional material anywhere other than your business is great for drumming up awareness about the business, but can leave customers wondering how they can find you. When potential customers find you online, it's easy for them to click a button that takes them to a map that will show them which of your locations is closest to them. Print ads don't usually have this luxury, but with a QR code pointed to your store locator or the Google maps page for your business, they can.
6. Feed Your Sales Funnel
Sometimes, driving customers to a website is less about getting them to the website itself, and more about getting them into the sales funnel. Online, landing pages serve this function. A landing page allows you to quickly make your sales pitch, and hopefully get a visitor to provide you with their email address so you can begin the process of working them through the sales funnel. QR codes on your printed promotional materials can provide the same functionality by linking customers to a relevant landing page.
7. Improve Ad Tracking and Retargeting
Normally, when you place printed promotional material, it's not possible to track how well it's performing for you. Marketing tools that digital advertisers take advantage of, such as A/B testing, have become useless. But with QR codes pointing consumers to a website, you've now given yourself a way to track that use and measure the performance of your printed materials. Additionally, you can use the cookies placed on the user's device to add them to a retargeting campaign to continually engage with the consumer and hopefully turn them into a customer.
8. Provide Expanded Contact Details
A business card can only hold so much contact information, but these days there are all sorts of ways to get into contact with you. It would be impractical to try to fit all of them onto a single card, but it's not impractical to put a QR code on the card. Doing so allows you to link anyone who has the card to your full contact information, so they can contact you using the method that's most convenient for them. Of course, this isn't limited to business cards. Promotional materials of all kinds can be used to give out your contact info via QR code.
9. Show Full Product Information
Whether you're a car dealership or a small retailer, there are likely products you offer that could benefit from providing potential customers with more information about them. This could be additional product descriptions that simply won't fit on the packaging, links to favourable reviews about the product, or even just to the manufacturer's website so the user can find whatever information they're looking for. Like with contact information, QR codes allow you to fit as much information as you need into a tiny image by linking to relevant websites.
10. Promote a Mobile App
Many businesses have their own mobile apps now. These apps allow customers to make purchases, gather rewards, provide feedback, and interact with your brand in all sorts of engaging ways. They also allow you to send push notifications to customers letting them know about upcoming sales, new products, or provide other relevant information that may result in them coming back to make a purchase. You can't rely on the app stores alone to promote your app, however. QR codes provide a way to promote the app that also lets potential users download it with minimal friction.
Pixel Fish Can Help
Because they rely on linking to websites, QR codes work best when the page linked to is properly designed for maximum conversion. If you're a Sydney business looking to use QR codes to drive more traffic to your site, let Pixel Fish help you craft one that will make the most of every code scanned. Contact us today to see what we can do for you.