Using QR Codes in Digital Marketing to Improve Conversions

The barcode is a technology most people associate with making a retail purchase or shipping packages. But it has been adapted for many other uses. Marketers have been using them for a while now to enhance marketing and sales results. And the QR code leads in this effort.

What is a QR Code

The most widely used barcode symbols are 1D barcodes. They are one-dimensional and linear in type. You have seen them as the vertical lines of varying widths on product packaging. The lines have specific gaps resulting in a particular pattern.

Then there are 2D barcode symbols. They are two-dimensional and appear to be more complex. The data they encode is commonly done within square or rectangular patterns of two dimensions. The QR code is a 2D barcode.

A Quick Response code, abbreviated to QR code, can be decoded by a camera, scanner, or other imaging devices. It was developed in 1994 by Toyota subsidiary Denso. It is now defined by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 18004.

The QR code can encode a wide variety of data types including numeric, alphabetic, special characters, and binary data. It was designed for high-speed component scanning and has a 360-degree reading feature. Each QR code has a finder pattern located in three of its corners to facilitate finding it. QR codes gained in popularity with the growth of mobile devices. As a result, they have become popular for use in marketing.

Examples of Marketing Campaigns

During the pandemic, we have seen restaurant menus be transformed from printed to being accessible via a QR code scan. This opens up a myriad of marketing opportunities for restaurants. The landing page for the menu can become so much more.

A restaurant can provide coupons, newsletter sign ups, and so on. Since the menu now becomes a web page, tracking its use is now possible. Want to find out how many people access your menu and then go elsewhere on your restaurant website? This is now possible.

But this is possible for any small business in that the same application can be applied. If you really want to measure product interest, you could assign a QR code instead of a price label. While this is daunting the more products you have, you could test it in limited capacity.

For example, maybe you just added three new products. Instead of pricing labels, affix a QR code so you can track how many people show interest. The landing page can provide pricing, specifications, and other details. You can encourage click-throughs to other pages to measure levels of interest.

Are you looking for more foot traffic? Let us say you are an ice cream shop in a strip mall. People regularly drive or walk right by you without a notice. You might strategically advertise your business with nearby ad posts. These ads can have a QR code to your location. This increases visibility with nearby visitors so on those hot summer days they can more easily find you.

Using a QR Code Generator

To get going with a QR code, you will need to create one. This also might seem daunting but that they are arguably easy to create is why they have become popular in marketing. There are many websites offering to create a QR code for you.

With just a little bit of information, you can complete a form, click a few things, and within a few minutes have a QR code. Plan ahead. Typically, you want a QR code to send someone somewhere – a web page, to an email, to an app download store, and so on. So, have this asset ready to enter on the generator page. These website services are QR code generators and searching for this online will have you find plenty of options.

Web App vs Smartphone App

When you embark on using a QR code, one question you might ponder is whether you should design an Android or iOS app to land people on your end goal. Designing an app can be an overwhelming task for a marketing campaign. You must decide if you need to target Android, iOS, or both. You will need to provide app updates as needed when these two platforms thrust their own updates on you. So, there is a lot of maintenance to consider. But there is an alternative and arguably better option – build a web-based QR code scanner. This is probably a good idea unless your end goal is to specifically get app downloads.

What you want at the end of the day is an online QR code scanner using a mobile camera. With a web application you can arrive at this too. You might consider using a QR code web SDK to expedite deployment. With one, you can drop in a scanning component in hours to days. But once this is done, you have a QR code scanner that can be used with any common web browser, regardless of it being on Android or iOS, or even Windows or macOS. You have also eliminated one other pitfall that can doom a marketing campaign – requiring an app download.

QR codes are popular for marketing uses. They can push marketing to impact sales more directly. Their use to do so stems from their being easy to use, from their creation to the application build, to how consumers can easily scan them using that QR code scanner everyone walks around with – their smartphones.

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