QR (Quick Response) codes have been around since 1994, when they were invented by Masahiro Hara from the Japanese company Denso Wave. However, it took two decades for them to gain popularity. When mobile phone technology made it possible to use these codes effectively, the QR code marketing craze finally unveiled. Now QR codes enable us to perform all kinds of actions, from accessing websites for more information to making payments. The benefits of using QR codes have reached their full potential since smartphones became able to ‘scan’ these black squares and dots and translate the information into data that can be easily processed by humans.
What are QR codes?
QR codes are a constant presence nowadays and come in the shape of a matrix or two-dimensional barcode. They can also be described as encoded pieces of data. These graphical symbols are used to get information or data from the transitory media and have data instantly transferred into your mobile phone.
Where can you see QR codes?
You have probably seen these QR codes on billboards, in magazine adverts, on web pages and even on someone’s T-shirt. Once this code is scanned by your smart phone, it will provide complete details of that specific business (such as helping users in their search of nearby locations) or information about the person wearing the T-shirt.
There are virtually countless applications of QR codes as you can provide a variety of data through these. They can give you a URL (or website address) for the review of movie trailer or show you the coupon that you can make use of in a local outlet. They are also great for data capture i.e.: get to sign up for more special deals and promotions, etc.
Why are they preferred instead of barcodes?
The major reason why QR codes are more effective and beneficial than the standard barcodes is complexity. These codes can easily store data of large sizes, including geo coordinates, text, and URL links. Another key feature of these codes is that it is easy to scan them through the latest smart phones instead of using a chunky hand-held scanner. No consumer will ever get a barcode scanner and just to use it be able to read barcodes they casually drop into.
Benefits of using QR codes For Inbound Marketing and Content Marketing
QR codes’ popularity had experienced a decline in the last years, until they have found a new life in 2020. The pandemic which broke out in 2020 revived the need for touch-free solutions. QR codes resurged and are now being used for contactless payments, contactless delivery, and contactless pickup among others.
But what other benefits do these codes provide aside from preventing contact with potentially contaminated surfaces? Keep on reading to find out what has made them successful in the first place:
A bridge between online and offline media
QR codes may be easily added to offline media: flyers, business cards, billboards, posters, brochures, and signs. They are quicker and easier to use and minimise the risk of an error by end users. When a prospect sees the code on your message or flyer, they may scan the specific code and respond to your website or call to action offer.
Enable building and sharing community
Various apps are used to produce QR codes that can redirect users towards your Facebook page, even directly to the ‘Like’ button. QR codes can help you plan discounts, run promotional ads, enable users to retweet statuses or posts on your social media pages. QR codes can be used to help customers and visitors to share your content with other followers with very little effort.
Helpful for call to action
QR codes can easily be linked to stories about products, how to videos, tweets, website landing pages, audio commentaries, and trailers.
You can attract people by creating the call-to-action text message and having it embedded with these codes. Examples of calls-to-action are ‘Email us’ and ‘Call us.’ The great thing about QR codes is that end users can scan the code and call or email automatically.
Encouraging prospects to make a purchase
QR codes can also be used for e-commerce. A QR code can trigger the action of adding a certain item to the shopping cart. Also, you can link them to landing pages to exchange information for a discount or a gift.
Contributing to SMO and SEO marketing
Jeff Korhan, famous social media examiner, has explained at an event that QR codes increase both your social media and search engine optimisation. They are effective in generating a high volume of traffic to your website due to more sharing.
Effective in lead generation
The real charm of the inbound marketing campaign is that it is easy to accurately determine the number of sales generated through QR codes. Offline media like billboard or print did not allow marketers to measure effectiveness. By using these codes, you can estimate the sale revenue based on leads and clicks.
Reducing printing costs
One of the most important benefits of using QR codes is saving money. QR codes are cheap compared to printing costs. Product information can instantly be accessed through a smartphone whenever prospective buyers scan these codes.
Creating customer excitement
Mystery attracts customers. QR codes increase excitement because people are quite curious about information available behind these codes. By scanning the code, users get instant gratification and will come back for more.
As the term QR indicates, your prospective clients and customers are not required to wait long to get additional details about your services, special offers and products.
QR codes are easy to generate
You can make use of free software available online to create these codes and place them everywhere on print. If you are not the technical type of person, hire the services of a computer geek or marketing expert to create these codes for your business.
Most popular ways a business can enjoy the benefits of using QR codes
QR Code for contactless menu for restaurants/cafes
The need to constantly disinfect surfaces has forced restaurant businesses to adapt their menus. While some cafes have opted for laminated menus, others have adopted the scan and order system. By scanning the QR code displayed at each table, customers can view items on the menu, place their order, and make payments. This smooth process has increased the level of customer satisfaction while also reducing staff workload.
QR to record customer details
The Covid rule for venues in Australia right now is to collect contact information from customers and to keep it for a minimum of 30 days. This enables authorities to trace anyone who might have come in contact with someone with Covid-19.
Businesses are also required to move away from paper-based record keeping and to adopt methods such as QR codes, online forms, and digital spreadsheets.
QR codes with giveaways
QR codes offering discounts or giveaways can be placed on marketing material, such as promotional products. Less expensive methods are also available, such as placing QR codes on coupons that are cheaper to print. Billboards displayed at a table tent are suitable when you want to promote giveaways at an event.
Revel discount codes and promotions
One way to do this is to input coupon details and create a landing page connected to a scannable QR code. When someone scans the code, they are directed to a landing page with all the coupon details.
Add QR codes on posters and flyers to gain social media visibility
Scanning these QR codes directs users to the business’s social media accounts; it is also possible to automatically like or follow the page when scanning the code.
Linking QR codes to your location on Google maps
Why provide location details on the phone when you could provide instructions via a QR code? This tactic is particularly useful when you need customers to reach your physical location in order to purchase your product.
QR codes for customer feedback
Every customer has an opinion about your product, but not everybody will share it. Encourage them to talk about what they liked and what they didn’t by scanning a QR code that redirects them to a feedback online form.
How to create a QR code
Creating a QR code is easier than you think. You too can enjoy the benefits of using QR codes and proximity marketing by following these simple steps:
- Choose a QR code generator
Make sure you get free QR codes that you will own and be able to use forever.
- Choose the content linked to the QR code
It can be a landing page, an online submission form, a free resource – anything that provides useful information, entertains, or represents a call to action.
- Choose the support for your QR code
You can place the QR code on leaflets, coupons, flyers, posters and any other type of print material. Make sure the positioning makes the QR code accessible to prospects.
- Keep track of QR code scans
You will want to know how much traction you have gained through your QR codes, such as how many people have scanned your codes.
The benefits of using QR codes are countless, both for business and customers. From avoiding physical contact during the coronavirus pandemic to providing fast and easy access to your business content, QR codes provide significant value and are definitely here to stay.