Estimated read time: 3 minutes
There is a real reason to use QR codes in marketing – even in 2022. The technology has improved quite a bit in the last decade. Most phones nowadays can just be pointed at a QR code in camera mode and the QR code gets read. Back in the day you had to download a special app.
I tried using some QR codes in my marketing before. The year: 2010. In one project we put a code on the back of somebody’s T-shirt and it said: scan me for a good deal.
That felt pretty clever but ultimately hardly anybody scanned the shirt – though it got attention.
QR codes were just not that user-friendly then.
I used them on a few more projects but – given the low – or at least perceived low user adoption I put them aside and thought they were a waste of time.
Even Super Bowl commercials have QR codes
During the 2022 game between the Rams and the Bengals, Coinbase ran a Super Bowl commercial on TV that was literally just a QR code.
I personally couldn’t get it to scan as the code was moving relatively fast but it is a great example of using a QR code in a campaign.
“If anyone had any doubts about QR codes, they are as mainstream as can be #SuperBowl,” said Frank Padikkala on Twitter.
More examples of QR codes
Aside from the big game, QR codes are being used more elsewhere, too.
I ran across a code while visiting Germany. The camera quickly offered me the link to click to go to the website.
Here’s how that looked on the screen:
Walking through a northern borough in Düsseldorf I saw another QR code on the window of a store:
Again, super simple: swipe left on the iPhone to open the camera, hold the camera towards the code and it offers you the option to open the website.
Contactless ordering at restaurants
Especially in the time of COVID, restaurants can use QR codes for diners to scan and get the menu on their phones.
The British Airways Lounge at London Heathrow allows you to view the menu and order through a QR code.
QR codes to drive reviews
Local SEO expert Gregg Gifford mentioned that business should consider using QR in marketing to drive reviews. Set up a landing page that has all the different review sites listed and point the QR code at that site. Once people arrive they can pick the network where they want to leave a review.
Basically QR codes can work where it makes sense for businesses to direct consumers from an offline experience to an online one. Really, anytime there’s an online component that makes sense it’s worth offering a QR code.
How to create a QR code?
There are a number of QR code generators that you can try. Please, before you hang up any QR code, make sure it’s working correctly. Test it with your own phone. Many of these also let you track usage.
If our audience is reliant on mobile phones – and which audience isn’t – QR codes might be worth trying. Please be sure the landing page offers a good mobile experience, though!
QR codes in marketing are especially useful to companies that have a physical location or that have physical marketing materials like printed brochures.
Try next: How businesses can maximize direct mail
The key for technology to be adopted is that it’s easy enough to use when it’s needed. QR codes didn’t fit that mold when they first came out, but now they certainly do.