QR codes have been around for a while. Most web designers laugh and mock people who use them. (Or at least that's what my Twitter timeline tells me.) But I think they can be pretty useful.

What's a QR Code?

A QR (quick response) code is a type of barcode that a device reads and and returns information on whatever it is you've scanned. In marketing, typically you'll get sent to a webpage.

Why Use One?

While some people may think that QR codes are dumb or just a trend, I don't expect them to go anywhere any time soon, especially with smartphones being so engrained into our daily lives. But why would you, dear business owner, want to use one? Great question. The answer? Marketing.

Okay, so that's the short answer. Of course, like with any marketing tool, you have to be smart about how you use it. Plastering QR codes everywhere isn't going to do you much good.

Here's a real-world example...

Let's say you're house-hunting. I don't know if you've noticed but those flyers next to the For Sale signs don't last very long. And it's rather frustrating to go up to a house and wonder whether or not its an option because you can't see the specs.

A QR code right on the sign would be incredibly helpful. Scan the code with your phone's app and voila! You're taken to a webpage with all the critical information (ideally more than just what's on the flyer).

QR Codes for Your Business

So now that you get the idea, you probably want to know how it could work for you, right? Well, that all depends on your business. All it takes is some brainstorming and consulting with your digital marketing team. Here are some ideas to start you off:

  • Give your customers a way to remember your products. Instead of having to write down the name of the product, they can scan the QR code, find out more, and save that info.
  • Competitions or giveaways – use QR codes to give something away and promote brand awareness.
  • Provide real-time updates for your store's events or specials.
  • Drive traffic to your website (or a specific landing page on your site).
  • Maps – link to a Google map so your customers can get to your shop faster.

Published on August 7, 2013