I’ve written previously about the usefulness of QR Codes. However, they are such a versatile tool that it requires a completely separate article to highlight the tremendous utility they provide you. What I’ve listed here is just the tip of the iceberg; there are many other ways (some possibly undiscovered) to introduce QR codes into your marketing strategy. Honestly; the sky’s the limit. The myriad of ways you can truly turn your communications strategy into a multi-channel marketing campaign.
Before I get started, let’s talk first about how to use a QR code. If you’re the creator, then many services let you create QR codes for free, like this website. I know from personal experience that the Adobe Creative Cloud service comes with a comprehensive QR generator pre-installed as well. Using any of these options, you would generate a QR code almost in the same way that you’d generate a web address; choose where it should go and how it should look. The code itself will be auto-generated.
As the user, interacting with a QR code has never been easier. Any smartphone from the past decade will know exactly what to do with it. You simply need to point your camera app at the code (no need to snap a photo, just point the camera) and the app will produce a pop-up, which after you tap on, will take you where the QR code creator wants to go. It’s that easy.
Let’s get back to the primary uses of a QR code in marketing. The most popular example is as a means to direct your audience to a particular webpage. That could be your business’s home page, a specific webpage or a unique, dedicated landing page that taps into a specific promotion or digital campaign.
Using something we call UTM Parameters you can also point customers to a primary webpage that, depending on the QR code they use, will tell you where they’re coming from. For instance, a distinct UTM parameter can be added to a QR code on your direct mail, on a flyer, and a social media post. When customers use these different channels to view this webpage it will, in turn, tell you how they arrived there, giving you valuable insight into what your strongest channel of communication is, and which campaigns perform best.
To be honest, the era of the business card was fading away even before the act of physically interacting with a friend, colleague, or prospect became taboo in 2020 (thanks, COVID!). While I’d still recommend you hang onto business cards for when we do go back to meaningful in-person interactions, I’d like to suggest you consider a QR Code-based “digital business card” as well.
Using a free QR code generator you can quickly build a code that tells a person’s smartphone to automatically save your contact information (or, your digital contact card that goes into a phone’s contact list). As you can see from some examples, you can even print your old fashioned business card by including your custom QR code. Putting your contact information on a QR code isn’t just cool, it’s useful.
Using the same tool I just mentioned you can generate a QR code that initiates the “send email” function of your smartphone using the default mail application with the email address and subject of your choice. A great use for this would be on a flyer—how many times have you read a poster that piqued your interest but never committed to send an email? A QR code makes it easy to make your statement actionable in the moment when it matters.
For many of us, even email seems antiquated these days. It’s strange to say, but informal communication is quickly becoming the norm in many circles, even in marketing and customer service.
Using the same tool you can produce a QR code that sends a text message (SMS) just as easily as it would send an email. SMS marketing, when done right, is a clever and effective method of marketing.
As if you didn’t think QR codes did enough, what if I said they could both seamlessly point to your Twitter or Facebook account and also compose a tweet?
What better way to generate word-of-mouth than with a QR code that sends a special tweet out on behalf of a customer with a custom hashtag included? Your social media is a lifeline to your business, both as a customer service tool and as a hype generator.
When you upload a document to share, it often comes with a large web address that is often difficult to share in the physical world. QR codes eliminate that challenge.
You can generate a QR code that shares an eBook, catalog, or even a digital contract without the other party needing to worry about what comes after the “www.“.
A great example that I think we’ve all experienced recently is the trend for restaurants to place QR codes on their tables instead of menus to avoid cross-contamination. After passing your phone over the code you’re quickly treated to the restaurant’s full menu. Think of the other possibilities!
Think of what it takes to share an app with a customer; they have to tap on their respective app store, search for the name of your app (which hopefully is unique enough that 200 other apps don’t pop up) and then they have to download it.
A QR code can be generated that moves your customers right through that experience. All they have to do is hover over the code and their app store will open right to your app where it’s ready to download. The shopper’s journey comes with many diversions in the road; making their progress to you as direct as possible is always the best strategy.
Whether it’s a gallery of photos of an event your business just held or an interactive digital portfolio of your work that you showcase to potential clients, a QR code can be a simple and direct method of delivering interested parties to those corners of the web.
As I’ve said previously, when you reduce the steps needed to get to a destination, you have a higher rate of success.
Lastly, sometimes you just want a client, customer, or whomever to have access to a direct line of communication. Just like how a QR Code can direct a person to send an email or text message, it can also direct them to dial a specific phone number. What’s easier, hover over a QR code or dialing a 9-digit number?
QR codes are multi-dimensional tools. You can use them for simple purposes or you can get clever and integrate them seamlessly into your marketing campaign. They are a direct method of creating an actionable process that moves your customers through your marketing campaign. Most of all, they’re fun and engaging.
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