8 Ways to Include QR Codes in Your Local Business Marketing
Oh, the ways the pandemic has changed our world.
From digital wallets and payments, touchless and contactless services, to general online marketing, the pandemic accelerated the adoption of digital tools that were juuuust gaining traction prior to COVID.
QR Codes are no exception. In fact, I’m pretty sure the pandemic saved QR codes from extinction.
QR codes have been around since 1994, but your smartphone had to have a QR code reader, which was a barrier to more widespread use. So, few people could use them and they have quickly labeled a fad and fell off the tech radar.
Smartphone developers eventually added a code-reading feature to our phone cameras, but– I’m not sure most consumers even knew that until the spring of 2020. I sure didn’t.
Enter the pandemic, when no one wanted to touch a restaurant menu, and the real value of consumer QR codes was finally validated and quickly expanded.
Why Do QR Codes Matter?
QR codes matter today because they provide measurable marketing in the physical world.
Print advertising, billboards, newspaper articles, and flyers were never trackable before QR codes. Sure, we knew people read them, but truly had no way to measure how many. All of those and more are now trackable when we apply a QR code.
We can also now provide our customers with instant information, including answers to their questions. And we know our customers like instant gratification!
Dynamic v. Static
Dynamic code is one that can be changed after it’s printed. The QR image will remain the same, regardless of changes to a link. If you want the option to change the code in the future and not have to reproduce the QR this is the best option.
Static codes are fixed. The content of the static QR codes is not editable. Once created and printed there is no going back. Static codes are usually offered in free QR code creation tools. If you know nothing will change with your links, this option is good.
How Do I Use QR Codes In My Business?
Imagine attending an event and you run out of business cards. What would you do? How would you share your information with people?
You could write it down on a piece of scrap paper that would probably get lost. You could have people take a photo of your business name, then look up your website later.
OR, you could whip out your phone and share a QR code they could scan off your screen, one that sends them directly to your contact card they can save in their phone right then and there.
That code could also send them to a landing page that contains your contact information and other ways of interacting with your business.
Which is the better option, huh? Do you even need a physical business card anymore?
Here are more ways to use QR codes to help grow your business and reach more customers in your local area.
1. Grow Your Email List
Create a QR that sends users to your sign-up form to collect emails. You can do this on print ads you may run in magazines, on mailers, printed ads, flyers or posters.
This is also by far the best way to collect emails at events. Having a QR eliminates having to create a physical sign-up sheet that’ can be lost or leaves you deciphering handwriting. Best of all, when a user scans and adds their contact information, it’s incomplete compliance with email CAN-SPAM laws because the user made the choice to share.
To set up a QR Code you will need to grab the link to a webform from your email marketing system.
2. Drive Traffic – to social, website, landing page, videos
Send people from a QR code to your website, a specific web or landing page, a video, or to your social profile.
If you have a popup on your website collecting emails, you could get more signups. Or perhaps the code could drive customers to a resource that lives on your website – a recipe, product use information, or a how-to video.
3. Gain Information – Forms, Surveys, Giveaway Entries, Reviews
Create forms or surveys and ask for customer feedback. Sending a mailer? Add a QR code to collect giveaway entries. Post a QR code around your physical location asking for reviews!
4. Product Information
You can share product information, manuals, online ordering information, how-to videos, a blog that gives more information on your product or service. Share product reviews or buying comparisons.
5. Contact information
We already talked about sharing your vCard with people at networking or in-person events, but a QR code can also send them directly to your business’s location map. A QR code is a great way to give driving directions to your store.
If you’re sending mailers or printed ads, the code can share your email or your contact on a messenger app.
6. Events – Ticket Sales, RSVPs, agendas, event site or landing page
Do you plan events? Share the ticket sales page or the event’s website page on posters and flyers to provide more details about the event.
Add a QR code to table tents, table stickers, or name badges. Your code could go on the event agenda or reference materials and lead people to more information about the event or speaker. No more giving out expensive thumb drives.
7. Smart reordering
Do you sell online? Have a QR for your products with reordering options.
Allow users to download a coupon or special discount code. This works well at events or on print advertising.
Instead of handing out printed pamphlets or materials at events, you can provide all the materials through a QR. In fact, anything you would normally print or give on a thumb drive can be delivered via a QR code.
As you can see, there are dozens of possibilities for using QR codes in your business but don’t overwhelm yourself. Start with one or two, then branch out.
QR Code Generator Tools
These sound great, but how do I actually GET a QR code?
Use a Free or Paid QR Code Generator service.
Paid QR tools have two general ways of charging, either by the number of scans or the number of QR codes you create. As always, check the parameters before you decide on a tool.
QR Code Generator
The QR code tool I’ve been using the past few years is www.the-qrcode-generator.com. It allows free static QR codes and tracks the clicks. The paid version is affordable at $6/mo. and includes Dynamic (editable) QR codes.
Flow Code is another low-cost service I like https://www.flowcode.com/plans. They do have scan limits for their pricing plans (unlike the-qrcode-generator), but they have more design options.
Canva also includes a way to create QR codes, however, they are not dynamic or trackable.