30 Ways to Use QR Codes to Reach More Customers

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QR codes are important to business because business customers are mobile customers. Just about everybody and their mother has a mobile phone or device with a QR code reader installed. That gives business owners the option of using the same technology to communicate with their growing mobile audience.

Why Use QR Codes

I could give you a long list of reasons why you should use QR codes, but I’ll restrict it to my Top Three:
 

  1. QR codes are easy. Easy to create, easy to save, easy to track (depending on the QR code generator you use) and easy to use.
  2. QR codes are flexible. They can be used on virtually any publishing platform, including websites, social media pages, print advertising, mobile sites, and physical products.
  3. QR codes are inexpensive. Most QR creation services allow you to create QR codes for free. Placing them on your online sites, networks and social media channels is free. The cost of adding them to your mobile site or landing page is usually nominal.

Think of QR codes like a mini-marketing messenger system. The idea is to create a message that triggers a quick response (hence the name), like redeeming a coupon, joining a list, visiting a website, or whatever your purpose in getting your customer’s attention.

Any business that uses QR codes to link to mobile optimized content increases their chances of growing their audience and connecting with potential buyers.

How can you use QR codes?

QR codes have many practical applications. Here are 30 ideas to consider:

  1. Link one to your Facebook Fan Page (Facebook is mobile)
  2. Link one to your Twitter Profile (Twitter is mobile)
  3. Link one to your LinkedIn profile or Company Page
  4. Connect to a Pinterest board (Pinterest is mobile)
  5. Link to your engaging Google+ group (Google+ is mobile)
  6. Add one to your desktop site (leading to a mobile optimized page)
  7. Link to your latest/most popular blog post (mobile version)
  8. Embed a vCard with your contact information
  9. Send people to a newsletter sign up page (most major email management services are now mobile)
  10. Invite people to join your mobile list
  11. Promote your next gig, radio show, local meeting, etc
  12. Create a QR code rubber stamp like one of these
  13. Add it to customer receipts
  14. Advertise a sale (leading to a mobile ready page)
  15. Include in print ads
  16. Put a larger version in your storefront window or strategic ‘no miss’ location
  17. Use in mobile campaigns to attract more customers
  18. Show your location on a map (Google, of course, is mobile)
  19. Announce special offers
  20. Sell products with discount codes
  21. Put on physical products (T-shirts, cups, windows, menus, etc)
  22. Send customers to mobile landing pages
  23. Point to a promotional video
  24. Give away a free ebook or creative piece
  25. Have one imprinted on the back of your business card
  26. Get the word out about a contest or sweepstakes
  27. Send a reminder about your upcoming webinar
  28. Broadcast a coupon offer
  29. Tell customers about your new mobile website (well, yeah)
  30. Print them on flyers and leave behind’s
Using QR codes successfully

QR codes can be a powerful branding tool that quickly gets your advertising message across with little to no cost other than the time you take to create them. To make sure they work to your advantage:

  1. Keep your message simple
  2. While you can include graphics (like a logo or other image) proceed with caution – the more data (including graphical data) you put in your QR code, the greater the chances for distortion.
  3. Always test your QR code on different platforms to make sure it displays properly.
  4. When adding links to your QR codes, make sure you’re sending mobile users to pages that are mobile-friendly
  5. Whenever possible, track your QR codes to see which ones are most effective and which platforms give you the best results. Like any other promotional vehicle, ad copy and placement can have a major impact on the outcome.
  6. Remember that not all QR code makers are the same. Some allow you to create dynamic (read ‘changeable’) codes, while others don’t. Some require a subscription to access premium services. Others use URL shorteners which you may not want to use
Resources for Creating Your Own QR codes

A simple search of Google will show you there are many QR code makers to choose from, depending on your needs and preferences. Here are just a few options:

  • QRlicious –  a paid service for custom QR codes
  • myQR.co –  a free app for creating codes that link to your website, send a promotional message, include your contact details or point to a mapped location
  • Beqrious – create colorful codes of different types (web URL, text, email, phone, vcard, YouTube video, etc) Free and paid
  • Social QR code – an entirely free QR Code Generator Designed for Social Sharing and Social Media
  • uQRme – create and manage multiple dynamic codes per month with this inexpensive subscription based service
  • visualead – a unique fee based service that lets you embed custom QR codes into a larger sales image
  • QR Stuff – one of the most popular QR code generators that creates all kinds of  codes in color or black and white for free or choose the subscription option for advanced features

Are you using QR codes in your business? Have you found them helpful in promoting your brand? Share your thoughts.

By , who thanks you for reading this post on QR codes.
 
 

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I am a small business success coach and mobile app developer. I help my clients leverage cutting edge technologies to get and keep more customers.

28 Responses to “30 Ways to Use QR Codes to Reach More Customers”

  1. Thank you for the useful information. I thought QR codes were on their way out the door and aren’t being used much anymore.
    Christy Garrett @ Uplifting Families recently posted..15 Pregnancy Superfoods – Ensure Proper Nutrition During PregnancyMy Profile

    • Dawn Lanier says:

      You’re welcome Christy – glad you found the post useful. QR codes are definitely still being used, largely by big retailers from what I can tell. However, I think we’ll see a change in that as more small businesses go mobile. It’s really a mobile marketing tool, so businesses that aren’t targeting the mobile market don’t have much occasion to use them. That may account for why they appear to be ‘on their way out the door’. Thanks for your comment!

  2. Rob says:

    QR codes are becoming the way to get information out! Great info here!

  3. Anita says:

    I had no idea there were so many ways to utilize QR codes! Thank you 🙂

    • Dawn Lanier says:

      It is pretty amazing that there are so many different ways to use QR codes. I like the fact they’re so flexible, and, of course, that they are easy and inexpensive to use 🙂 Glad you enjoyed the post Anita. Thanks!

  4. Maureen says:

    I had no idea how this worked so thank-you so much for sharing this information. Really great tips!

    • Dawn Lanier says:

      You are very welcome Maureen. I didn’t quite ‘get it’ myself at first, which is what made me decide to write this post. QR codes are an important part of the mobile landscape, and a great way to promote your business with mobile customers. Eventually we’ll all go mobile, so I’m glad to share the information. Thanks for visiting.

  5. Wow! I had no idea there were so many uses for QR codes! Thanks so much for pointing them out. One thing I have noticed: Very few businesses (at least locally here in South Florida) are using them at all. They need to see this!
    Jackie Harder recently posted..It’s never too late to plan for successMy Profile

    • Dawn Lanier says:

      Who knew, right? I was surprised myself when the list hit 30. That’s pretty impressive from a marketing standpoint if you think about it. As I mentioned to Christy, I think we’ll see QR codes more often as more small local businesses go mobile. Feel free to share the link to this post with businesses in your area that can benefit from the information. Thanks for your comment – I appreciate it!

  6. Wow, Dawn you really “over-delivered” in this post about QR codes. I have not implemented them into my marketing strategy as of yet, but it is definitely on the list of must haves in the future. Great article packed with a generous amount of business tips.
    Carla J Gardiner recently posted..Warning Sitting Too Much Is Killing YouMy Profile

    • Dawn Lanier says:

      Why thanks Carla! I certainly appreciate your very positive feedback. Can’t wait to see your first QR code – I’m sure you’ll make good use of them soon, since your marketing strategy is already in high gear 🙂

  7. MamaRed says:

    Wowser, who knew there were so many ways a small business could use QR codes? I only thought of them for retailers. Thanks for opening my eyes to other possibilities!
    MamaRed recently posted..Business strategy: How to pick what to work on firstMy Profile

    • Dawn Lanier says:

      You are most welcome MamaRed! Very astute observation about retailers – they seem (at least for the moment) to be the group using QR codes most often. I think it’s just a matter of time though before small businesses like ours start using them, because we’ll be reaching out to mobile customers too, and QR codes are a great way to do that. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  8. Thanks for the info and tips about QR Dawn, the article is complete with everything we need to know! I pinned and shared it! I loved the idea of creating a QR code rubber stamp, I’m still not using QR, but it is in my to-do-list!
    Meire Weishaupt recently posted..Your Blog Post Promotion Cheklist [Infographic]My Profile

  9. Robin says:

    That’s a serious big list and nice resource! Love all the QR code places to use too, thanks for this 🙂

  10. Marie Leslie says:

    Great tips for putting a versatile marketing tool to work, Dawn. I had QR codes for a while, but somehow they disappeared during some redesign work. Perhaps it is time for me to take another look.
    Marie Leslie recently posted..How to Choose the Right Domain NameMy Profile

  11. Lorii Abela says:

    Nice post! It provides notions on QR that is different from day-to-day knowing. How did you come across with this?

    • Dawn Lanier says:

      Thanks Lorii. Great question! I’d actually done research into QR codes a while ago for a local business client that was going to use them as part of their marketing strategy. They came back into view again when I started exploring mobile websites, which is one of the uses I mentioned. A lot more had been written about QR codes since the time I did my original research, and I was able to include that information as well, into this post.

  12. katrina says:

    I have used QR codes on and off over the past couple of years. You do see more restaurants use them with success. I love all the suggestions and the help links to creating your own! Awesome post and thank you for sharing!
    katrina recently posted..How to Write an About Me Page for BlogsMy Profile

    • Dawn Lanier says:

      You’re right Katrina – restaurants do use QR codes with success. You see one in the window, and it’s a pretty good bet there’s a special deal inside if you’re interested. I think other small businesses will catch on and start using them too eventually. Thanks for your kind words!

  13. Sharon O'Day says:

    Nothing like having the A-to-Z about QR codes all in one place, Dawn! I had no idea they were usable in so many places …
    Sharon O’Day recently posted..Financial Independence: A Quick and Dirty Path to FreedomMy Profile

  14. I never used QR codes, but my husband used to use them regularly. Maybe I should take another look at checking them out myself:) Thanks for the info:)
    Daniele Holmberg recently posted..Bodies Exhibit And Titanic Experience GIVEAWAY And Grand OpeningMy Profile

    • Dawn Lanier says:

      Great idea Daniele – that would be a good experiment for you. Just make sure that whatever link you include in your QR code goes to a site or page that is mobile ready, so your content displays well on a smartphone.

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