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10 Easy Ways to Use QR Codes in Your Marketing

Updated on September 12, 2013

If you're a small, or large, business, wanting to find new, cost-effective ways of marketing your products, services, or event, then check out QR Codes!

QR Codes are huge in Japan, where they were invented, but are now going worldwide as everybody catches onto QR Codes, something you'll agree we should have spotted years ago!

Put simply, QR Codes are 1" images that, when scanned with a smartphone, enable you to hand over your basic information (website, name, address, telephone number), or to take the scanner to your website, or to a specific product, or even to a discount voucher or special deal.

You'll be seeing a lot of QR Codes appear in the coming months and years - as everybody will be doing it! And that means you need to.

QR Codes are Easy Peasey

QR Codes are probably the easiest thing to get started with - and it's zero cost. Beyond this, you've some low cost options too, for example you might think they're fab for your exhibition next week and now want to have some QR Code stickers printed up. However, the cost of a couple of thousand stickers is nothing compared to the savings you'll make in not having to print glossy brochures off!

How Can You Use QR Codes In Your Marketing?

Well, that's a big question, sitting face to face with you, I could draw up an entire marketing plan for you, based on your business and your budget (even if your budget were $0). But I'm not. So, instead, I've put together these ...

10 Easy Ways to Use QR Codes in Your Marketing:

... to help you get thinking!

QR Code See where you end up
QR Code See where you end up

Add a QR Code to Your Business Card

OK, maybe not the most exciting thing - and maybe you've just had your business cards reprinted, so that's bad timing and luck, eh! If you have got an existing stock of business cards though, you could think about having QR Code stickers printed for the rear.

A business card has a limited amount of space for you to include all your details without it becoming cluttered. Why not generate a QR code that takes people to your various accounts on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc. In fact, anywhere where you have a profile, can now be listed, all contained in the QR Code.

10 Easy Ways to Use QR Codes in Your Marketing: Use QR Codes On Packaging
10 Easy Ways to Use QR Codes in Your Marketing: Use QR Codes On Packaging | Source

On Your Product Labelling and Packaging

If you're selling goods, that are re-sold, then across the country people might now have your product in their hand. Maybe it's a food/drink product in a shop or restaurant, perhaps even in a friend's house after they bought your produce at a Farmers Market. Maybe you are an artist - and somebody is admiring your work on somebody's wall; perhaps you exhibit your work in local hotels/bars on the walls - who is looking at that right now?

By attaching a QR code to your labelling and packaging, people can quickly scan it - and they can then be taken to your mobile site, where they can find out more about you, your product range and your contact details. Imagine an artist with 1000 paintings in hotels being able to link somebody looking at one of them to an online gallery of current art for sale!

In Your Shop Window

Your shop isn't open 24/7 - but your customers are passing by, perhaps window shopping, every day. Ever seen something you want in a window and wished the shop were open? Well, now you can be, virtually.

Simply create an online shop (if you haven't got one already) and generate a QR code to display on your shop window. With just one quick scan, that passerby could turn into a paying customer!

You could generate another QR Code to put alongside your times of opening, which would take your potential customers to a webpage that you keep updated with your opening times.

10 Easy Ways to Use QR Codes in Your Marketing: Deals, Vouchers and Discounts
10 Easy Ways to Use QR Codes in Your Marketing: Deals, Vouchers and Discounts | Source

Discount Vouchers, Deals and Promotions

These days everybody's looking for something for free. Consumers increasingly search out special prices, promotions, discount vouchers and freebies. You could create discounts that are specific to your QR codes, which you could then run in adverts, or post them throughout your store.

As a bonus, you could even turn them into a "retweet" so that your shoppers share their discount with their followers.

People will soon start producing lists of shops that offer discounts for smartphone users reading QR Codes - so you might get an increased footfall if you've got special discounts just for users of smartphones.

Another way to use this is if you have a stall at an exhibition centre, or a large marketplace.

If you advertise regularly in newspapers, you can always direct people to the current offers, which you cann change on the fly ... or, use the QR codes to monitor responses.

Stick Your QR Code Onto Your Phone and Laptop

Make sure you're not missing out on the obvious. Get your QR Code (probably as a sticker) stuck onto your smartphone or laptop - and any other device that you always carry with you. This way you've always got your 'business card' with you. Aside from that - if you lose your phone or laptop, it might just be the way that you're reunited with it!

Get a Custom Made QR Code That Stands Out

Use Photoshop to Alter the QR Image

While a QR Code needs to be scannable, there is a tiny opportunity for you to create a custom look to yours. It is possible to 'fiddle a little' with the code, so it generates something similar to your logo or initials. You can try to do this using an image editing tool like Photoshop and see if you can fit your own logo or brand into the QR Code.

Warning: Always test your results on a few phones before you start publishing it, in case you've mucked it up :)

POS Customer Information

If you're a shop selling goods, or a gallery selling art, consider generating a QR Code for each of your products, to provide more customer information at the Point of Sale. Ever been in shop, seen something and wondered how it's used, but don't want to undo the box or call an assistant over? A QR Code could take a smartphone owner straight to a webpage containing a demonstration video.

Ever wandered round an art gallery and wanted to know more about the artist? A QR Code could take them to a full life story, or to be directed to more of their works within the gallery.

Do you sell fresh food at a Farmers Market? Produce a series of online recipes - and a QR code beside each of your foodstuffs taking your customers to a recipe page, or information page. Perhaps even a video of the dish being made and some photos.

You don't have to make the videos yourself, for many businesses a video found on YouTube would fit their needs.

Or how about linking the customer through to an independent Reviews site so they know which to choose.

10 Easy Ways to Use QR Codes in Your Marketing: Get New Subscribers
10 Easy Ways to Use QR Codes in Your Marketing: Get New Subscribers | Source

Get More Subscribers

If you've got an email subscriber list, or send out Newsletters, why not create a QR Code containing the sign up link. Enabling people to instantly sign up for your Newsletter.

Or if you're running a draw. A QR code can link people straight into your draw entry page.

10 Easy Ways to Use QR Codes in Your Marketing: Get New Customers to Phone You
10 Easy Ways to Use QR Codes in Your Marketing: Get New Customers to Phone You | Source

Call Me!

A QR Code can even be generated to make a phone call. By scanning your QR Code people are instantly connected to your business or offer. You could use this in local advertising. How about a hair salon inviting people to call now by scanning the QR Code! Or conservatory salespeople inviting people to call for an appointment.

Quite simply, if your best way of getting business is to get people to call you, then that's what your QR Codes need to enable them to do.

Tell A Friend

Ever been out somewhere and thought "Oh, I wish xxx could see this, it's perfect". Whether you're a small shop owner, or a market stall holder, you can bet your bottom dollar people are thinking this. In fact, you've probably heard it loads of times before. If you do hear it, maybe you said "Here, take my card, pass it on to your friend" - but what are the chances of that card ever reaching that person - and the card simply isn't the product.

Generate a QR Code enabling a smartphone user to "Tell a Friend" - they can instantly send your details, a photo of the product, or a product sales page, to their friend by several methods.


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    • profile image

      Alexandra 4 years ago

      QR code is a great invention people made. I'm making mobile apps currently and find it really cool to implement QR codes into them. I'm amazed at QR code coupons app builder allows to create. They are really helpful for small businesses.

    • profile image

      QRKing 4 years ago

      Great info, neatly delivered.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

      Thank you for this useful tip. Well and clearly written hub.

    • supplies expert profile image

      supplies expert 6 years ago

      Nice hub, at the company I used to work for, at an exhibition on all our brochures we put a label with a qr code to our website, so if people wanted to see more about our company after going through our brochure, it led them right to our website. It worked out pretty good, and actually one other tip I have for using QR codes... Use a tracking URL to track the code... if you don't have a software such as coremetrics at your company to track the URL, use, you can create a shortened link and also it has tracking built in to it. It's a great way to see how affective the QR code really is. Especially necessary if you're an e-commerce site, because it would be great to see how many orders come from the QR codes.