Hey, 2021, 2005 called and they want their QR Codes back!
I think I first noticed an uptick in the use of QR codes on the 4th of July. I was enjoying a parade with my family when a local company came by with signs to enter a contest and a QR code to scan to enter.
My first thought was “A QR code? Really?” but after whipping my phone out, opening my camera app, and scanning it, I realized something different.
“Man, that was easier than I remember it being 10 years ago.”
At that moment, I started to notice QR Codes everywhere once again. Thinking maybe it was just because I was hyper-focused on it, I put a poll up on my LinkedIn account to see if others had noticed too. To my surprise, with 100 votes, 92% of you agreed!
Now we have something here!
But do QR codes really work? Can they be a helpful thing as a part of your marketing strategy? And for those of you who are younger or “technology challenged,” what the heck even is it?
What is a QR Code?
A QR code is a scannable code that is linked to a webpage, app, or another digital piece of content. In order to scan the code, most smartphones just need you to open your camera app and point it at the code. You then get a pop-up asking you to go to that webpage. For those of you who might not know what I am talking about, here is what one looks like! Go ahead and scan it and give it a try.
How do I make a QR Code?
While making a QR code might seem like a hard thing to do, it is actually quite simple. All you need to do is Google “QR Code Generator” and take your pick of free tools! Yup, it is really that easy. Many of these tools do have paid options that let you add your logo to the code or style it in many different ways. While this isn’t necessary, have some fun with it and see if one of the options fits with your brand!
Should I be using QR Codes in my marketing?
If recent trends are telling us anything, the answer here seems to be a resounding yes. (Never thought I would be saying that again!)
Reason #1 is that they can make no digital media, into digital. One of the biggest reasons why, for example, print marketing can be less effective is its lack of flexibility. What is on the paper is on the paper and if someone wants more information, they have to jump through some hoops to get it or remember that ad to buy that item later. A QR Code allows you to easily turn that print into something digital.
Reason #2 is that adoption is much higher than it was 10 years ago. When QR codes first started to become popular, the vast majority of people really had no clue how to use them. As we mentioned above, they were easier to use either. However, now that some time has passed, people are much more receptive to them and understand how they work much better. Using them in your strategy could really be beneficial for you and your marketing!
Reason #3 is that in a COVID world, it can come in handy. One of the most common answers on the poll I asked on LinkedIn was how much people enjoyed using QR codes now, especially in restaurants for the menus. When you get creative with QR codes, you allow the ability to access information on their own device – something that many people will find helpful.
Creative Ideas To Using QR Codes In Marketing
So what ideas do we have if you want to use a QR code in your marketing?
I LOVED the way that the local business I talked about in the intro used their QR code in the local 4th of July parade. They had the attention of everyone in attendance and wanted to turn it into a digital experience. A QR code was perfect for making people do it. Whether it is print or using drones to make a QR code in the sky, you can be very creative!
QR Code exclusive deals
Want to offer customers a fun incentive? Give exclusive deals to people that scan QR codes. Want to make it even more fun? Let every customer scan from a set of QR codes, some offering 20% off, and others offering nothing. Let them scan and see which one that they get!
Leave them around town
Want people to learn about your business even though they aren’t near it? Try hiding some QR codes around town on a flyer or using a sticker. You might get some curious passersby to stop and scan it even though they aren’t sure what it’s for. You can have a lot of fun with this, just make sure you aren’t putting it on other people’s property or vandalizing it!
QR Codes are back! And in the right situations, they can be a great marketing tool. We’d love to hear how you are using QR codes as a part of your strategy!