Are QR Codes the Future of Marketing?

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    There are many people in the marketing arena that believe QR codes are the future of marketing. These codes are popping up everywhere in the media including billboards, magazines, product labels, and advertisements.

    Quick Response codes, also known as QR codes or QRCs, are two-dimensional barcodes that hold alphanumeric characters that link to online content. Your customers scan the barcode with a smartphone camera and are given the information hidden in the code.

    This one will take you to Google Maps on your mobile device with directions to my office. This way you don’t have to type my address when visiting me! Cool, huh?

    Google map qr code

    Another example, you can embed a sales page URL in the code, and the customer will immediately be taken to that page on their smartphone browser.

    A Little History

    QR codes are not a new technology. In fact, QR codes have been on the scene since 1994 in Japan as a means to keep track of inventory in automobile factories. Since that time, QRCs have been the norm in Japan for advertisements on consumer products.

    The technology behind QRCs has been slow to migrate to other countries because of a lack of knowledge and accessibility to this technology. As this technology gains popularity, the utilization of QRCs in marketing will continue to bridge the gap between print and electronic media. Google, a giant in the computer industry, advocates the use of QR codes for businesses. They recently added QR codes to their ‘Favorite Places’ service for their businesses. They issue QR codes to businesses that register and encourage the use of these codes.

    With Google pushing QR codes on the public, it is reasonable to conclude that QR codes are indeed the future of marketing. They definitely have their place in the business world and provide an interactive method for consumers to get information on your business.

    Hurdles to QR Code Adoption

    The biggest hurdles towards the mainstream acceptance of QRCs are knowledge and accessibility. Much of the public doesn’t know what QRC codes are or how to use them. You need to educate your customers on what QRCs are and how to use them.

    Additionally, not everyone has a smartphone to scan these barcodes. Most smartphones do not come with a stock barcode scanner for reading QR codes. This means your customers have to know what a QR code is and then download an application to read them.

    As smartphones continue to replace traditional cell phones, you will find more consumers with the knowledge and capability to access your QR codes. Like any new technology, there will be a period of time for consumers to adjust and get used to it. Once we can get past the hurdles involved with QRCs, these versatile barcodes are going to be splattered all over the consumer landscape.

    Where can you get a QR Code?

    There are some websites that will help you generate QR codes: – simplest format – more options – many, many options for your QR code

    How to Track QR Codes

    A Quick Response code (QR code or QRC) is a type of barcode, but it is also used as a marketing tool to increase traffic to your website, boost sales, and help market your business. They may seem a novelty at this point, but they’ve been used in Japan since 1994.

    These barcodes get your customers interacting with your website or products by generating interest. In order to get the information in the code, your customer has to scan it with a smartphone.

    Tracking for True ROI

    Like any other internet marketing campaign, you want some statistics on how well your QR code campaign is working for you. QR code tracking helps you with this problem.

    There are several ways you can track your QR code campaigns including full QR generation and tracking services, manual analytics, and shortened URL tracking. Most methods are free to use; however, extra features may end up costing you money.

    Generation & Tracking Services

    Several websites offer QR code generation and tracking services. These full-featured QR vendors provide several packages to fit your budget. A few QR vendors available include PercentMobile, Sparqcode, and Ventipix.

    Their analytic services integrate into your online account. Once you generate your code, you can return to your account to see the statistics on how your QR code marketing campaign is performing for you.

    Below are some free services that we recommend you try: – Create a short URL and generate a QR Code. – Create QR Codes with our QR Code Generator for URLs, Tweets, Foursquare Check-ins, iPhone App Store, Android Market, Google Analytics Campaigns & more.

    Manual Analytics Tracking

    Manual analytics tracking for your QR code campaigns is possible with a little tech knowledge. For your own website, you can add a campaign to your existing analytics account to monitor traffic coming from your QR codes. Use Google Campaign Builder to build unique URLs for each channel.

    Shortened URL Tracking

    Shortened URLs assist your customers by eliminating the need to type long or involved URLs into their web browser. Services such as and allow you to track your shortened URLs. Simply use these shortened URLs in your QR code and you can track them with your or analytics.

    Regardless of the method you choose for monitoring your QR code campaigns, you need to keep track of your QR codes. Under-performing QR codes or inaccurate QR codes may end up costing you business or traffic if you do not monitor them. You can always change QR code data on the back end to make sure it is current and accurate.

    10 Real Life QR Code Examples for Marketing

    1. On your car, while parked at a client’s home or office or a stoplight, visitors or neighbors can scan your code rather than type in your phone number. QR Codes can instigate a call, a website, or text.
    2. On postcards, direct mail that will send users to a landing page that describes that specific feature or special that you are promoting. It can send users to a coupon or contest
    3. Restaurants, on your menu to see photos of the food
    4. On a business card, send users to a special video of you welcoming them and telling them more about you and your business.
    5. Place it on your storefront to direct users to your online store. You might be close but not your website.
    6. Add a QR code at checkout, send them to your Facebook page to continue the relationship.
    7. QR code stickers. Place anywhere and everywhere that you can.
    8. Magazine advertisement that sends users to a mobile-friendly landing page.
    9. Expo or Conference Welcome signs with individual QR codes that send participants to specific seminar pages, speakers, content downloads.
    10. At a cocktail reception that you are hosting, QR codes on napkins or coasters. This same concept would work great in bars where customers can be set to dial, say, a cab’s phone number, or an online mobile game, or a Facebook fan page.
    Think past your website and more toward multi-media; videos, articles, coupons, phone calls, texting. The QR code is meant to expand the customer’s knowledge and supplement information and advertising.
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    Christina Hawkins

    Christina Hawkins is CEO of GlobalSpex, Inc. and a Fractional CMO for her clients. A seasoned digital marketer since 1999, Christina has designed and built exceptional websites partnering with small businesses to help them grow and increase revenue. She understands that digital marketing is a constantly evolving technology and works to stay on top of the latest changes. She is always looking for the best route for clients' lead generation needs and revenue. In addition to her ability as a digital marketer, Christina is a coach and mentor with Agency Mavericks to other digital marketing freelancers, helping them grow their businesses. She is also a sponsor and co-leader of Houston's WordPress Meetup.

    1 Comment

    1. QR Code Marketing Examples on August 1, 2017 at 10:15 pm

      […] a past blog post, I explained the idea of QR Codes. Below are 10 examples of what you can do to incorporate QR Codes into your internet marketing […]

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