How to use QR codes in your business

Contributor - Sonja Jefferson

A male customer pays for his order  using a QR code

There are lots of ways to use QR codes in your small business; they are a great marketing tool and they can improve your customer service, as Richard Gauder of CMS Web Solutions tells Sonja Jefferson

What are QR codes?

RG: "QR codes or Quick Response codes are a two-dimensional barcode that can be read by smartphones with a camera."

What can QR codes do?

RG: "When a smartphone user takes a picture of the code, they are directed to a page on a website. A business could have anything on that webpage - product information, menus, order forms, coupons, store hours and promotional offers.

"You can place them on marketing materials, on products, in store windows, on restaurant tables, on billboards, TV commercials, newspapers, t-shirts, anywhere!"

Why should businesses use them?

RG: "QR codes are a fantastic marketing opportunity. As most people have smartphones, they now expect instant information: take the opportunity to lead the way in giving them just that."

How easy is it to use QR codes?

RG: "QR codes are quick, convenient and easy for the consumer. For businesses they are simple to set up and can be generated for free - a great way to interact with your customers. Results are easy to track; you can quickly adjust your marketing strategy based on what works best."

Can you suggest any marketing ideas?

RG "You could use a QR code to direct people to customer reviews. How about a page that shows up at check out offering an extra gift or discount if they sign up for your e-newsletter?

"They're not just for retail. How about putting one on your business card sending people to your website? Estate agents could add a QR code to the For Sale sign: interested buyers can scan the code and immediately access details about that property."

So how do you set up a QR code campaign?

RG: "For best results, make sure your QR code takes visitors to a customised landing page on your website. Also, make sure your page is mobile-friendly. You want it to load quickly and have the most important information near the top.  Include contact details so that visitors can quickly connect.

"Once you've created your landing page, you'll need a QR code for it. It's easy to generate - URL shortening services such as let you create a code from any web page address (usually by adding a '.qr' to the end of the shortened URL). With services such as QRStuff you can create other types of response such as text messages or phone numbers. It's simple."

Ten ways to use QR codes in your business

  1. Print QR codes on stickers so they can be applied anywhere - coasters, business cards, packaging, brochures or price tags, for example.
  2. Give passers-by the chance to link to your website easily by displaying QR codes in the windows of your premises, on vehicles, on banners and posters.
  3. Use QR codes to give customers a quick way to access your menu and allow them to order from the table.
  4. Publish QR codes in printed materials such as flyers and direct mail to save customers having to type in your web address.
  5. Use QR codes to allow customers to book an appointment.
  6. Provide a quick and easy mechanism for coupons, promotions and competitions by using QR codes.
  7. Provide links to review sites such as Google and TripAdvisor by printing QR codes on receipts.
  8. Encourage customers to connect with you on sites such as Instagram or Facebook by using QR codes that link to your social media accounts.
  9. Instead of having to provide passwords, use QR codes to give your customers access to the WiFi in your premises.
  10. Use QR codes in job advertisements to give candidates more information about the role.
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Sonja Jefferson

Sonja is a marketing consultant, content specialist and business book project manager with a background in B2B sales.

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