Why should you use QR Codes for marketing?

QR Codes in marketing are used to bridge the gap between the online and offline worlds. Businesses and marketers place these QR Codes in strategic locations and on products for consumers to scan using their smartphones and move them through the marketing funnel by giving consumers access to the right information at the right time.

QR Codes have been around for over 26 years, but their accelerated adoption in western countries took off during the COVID-19 pandemic, with QR Codes being used extensively for contact tracing and digital menus at restaurants, to name a few use cases.

As per this research conducted by Statista in September 2020, over 86% of consumers in the US and UK reported having scanned a QR Code during the year. And with the rising demand for contactless experiences, the adoption rates for QR Codes are expected to grow exponentially.

QR Codes' accelerated adoption in western countries took off during COVID-19

Specifically for businesses and marketers, QR Codes can help create effective marketing campaigns to increase brand awareness, generate more leads, and enhance customer engagement.

Here are some reasons why you should consider using QR Codes for your marketing campaigns -

  • a. QR Codes help create a seamless offline-to-online experience for consumers, resulting in better engagement.

  • b. Because of their ability to store significantly more data, QR Codes can let marketers store the required information and display it to their prospects/customers to create successful marketing campaigns.

  • c. With dynamic QR Codes, marketers can edit the QR Code data as many times as required and get access to scan analytics to better optimize their marketing campaigns.

  • d. Using QR Codes for marketing campaigns is extremely cost-effective as compared to traditional marketing.

Best QR Code marketing campaign examples

1. Coinbase’s viral Superbowl ad with colorful QR Codes

Coinbase, a leading cryptocurrency exchange platform, aired a viral TV commercial during the Superbowl 2022 event. The commercial featured colorful bouncing QR Codes on TV screens, which upon scanning redirected users to their limited-time campaign page.

The campaign was to boost sign-ups in exchange for discounts and offers for a limited period. The ad was such a huge hit that Coinbase’s website crashed while taking the internet by the storm with its unique yet simple concept.

Make QR Codes for TV Ads

2. Burger King used QR Codes to boost app downloads

Burger King, at the MTV VMAs, used QR Codes in a super creative ad to let viewers download the Burger King app. During the broadcast, viewers were encouraged to download the app and scan QR Codes that appeared on-screen to avail various discounts.

3. PepsiCo uses QR Codes in their soda-stream style drink dispenser

In an attempt to combat single-use plastic, the ‘Integrated Hydration Platform’, as Pepsi calls the drink dispenser, replaces a typical vending machine that allows users to bring their own bottles to fill it with still and carbonated options. The drink dispenser works with QR Code stickers that users can place on their own reusable bottles. To start with, this system was launched in schools, offices, and hospitality places, but QR Codes allowed it to seamlessly expand in more public places.

You can make your own QR Codes now!

4. Calvin Klein hid censored content in their QR Codes on billboards

Calvin Klein made a bold move by replacing models on billboards with red QR Codes which when scanned took users to a 40-second commercial that they could then share on social media.

Here’s everything you need to know about QR Codes on billboards

Calvin Klein hid censored content in their QR Codes on billboards

5. Pizza Hut places QR Codes on their pizza boxes to boost app downloads

In an attempt to get users to download the Pizza Hut app, Pizza Hut’s pizza boxes come with a QR Code along with a CTA: “Scan to download the app”.

Want to boost app downloads? Here’s a quick guide on how to use QR Codes for app downloads

6. Pringles used shoppable QR Codes to link to their online store on Amazon during SuperBowl

Pringle’s SuperBowl advertisement featured QR Codes that would take users to their online store on Amazon when scanned. This QR Code helped them create a bridge between offline and online marketing, resulting in an increase in engagement.

Learn how to create your own shoppable QR Codes

7. L’Oreal’s QR Codes allow women to customize their hair color

L’Oreal launched their new hair color trend Parisian Cool with a twist. Users can access the digital campaign with QR Codes placed in salons. The campaign asks users a bunch of questions to create the perfect Parisian Cool look for them.

Design customized QR Codes for your brand

How to maximize your marketing funnel using QR Codes?

QR codes can assist businesses and marketers in building a successful marketing funnel. Let’s learn how.

  • 1. Top of the funnel marketing (Awareness stage)

    • Building Awareness

      Building brand awareness is extremely crucial for businesses as it is the first step in any marketing funnel. A strong brand presence can help keep your brand at the top of your consumers’ minds.

      However, brand awareness can be a vague concept for marketers without proper tracking systems in place. Measuring brand awareness can be somewhat trickier when compared to tracking a sale or a conversion.

      This is where QR codes can help marketers with their marketing campaigns.

      Marketers can build brand awareness through QR Codes on out-of-home (OOH) advertisements, such as billboards and banners, flyers, etc., to direct prospects to their company’s website, social media pages, or dedicated campaign landing pages. As a result, businesses can have consumers take immediate action and engage with their brand to drive better engagement.

      Additionally, QR Codes analytics can help marketers actually track engagement rates so they can fine-tune their marketing campaigns based on the insights collected - such as the number/location of scans, best/worst performing campaigns, etc.

      For example, Intersection and Elle Eyewear launched QR Codes on OOH advertisements to boost brand engagement and drive mobile e-commerce amid COVID-19.

      Increase brand awareness using QR Code marketing
    • Lead Generation

      Generating relevant leads is one of the most critical steps for any business. Without effective lead generation, companies will have lower sales, resulting in a customer base not being adequate enough to help companies grow to their full potential.

      Marketers can generate quality leads by using QR Codes to redirect consumers to contact forms, information requests, special offers, promotions, email lists, newsletter sign-ups, lead capture forms, etc.

      This can help businesses and marketers effectively introduce their products, services, discounts, etc., to prospective customers and attract the right audience.

      Generating leads using QR Code marketing
  • 2. Middle of the funnel marketing (Consideration stage)

    • Lead Nurturing

      It’s crucial to nurture leads captured during the first stage of the marketing funnel, as brands don’t usually go directly from lead generation to lead conversion.

      According to Marketo, companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales at 33% lower costs.

      To nurture leads, marketers can deploy dynamic QR Codes in strategic locations and on products to retarget prospects on Facebook and Google with relevant marketing campaigns. These campaigns can be used to deliver additional product information, display product journeys, initiate app downloads, and more.

      This lets marketers enhance the consumer journey with meaningful touchpoints and positively impact their purchasing decisions.

      Retarget users on Facebook and Google and nurture leads using QR Code marketing
  • 3. Bottom of the funnel marketing (Conversion stage)

    • Lead Conversion

      It’s easy to understand why the final stage of the marketing funnel (lead conversion) is essential - generating revenue and fostering brand loyalty.

      A lot of effort goes into generating and nurturing leads, and you wouldn’t want those leads to drop out of the funnel without performing the desired conversion action - signing up for a demo, filling up a form, purchasing a plan, etc. - depending on the marketing campaign.

      QR Codes can be used at this stage to enhance consumer’s experience with your brand’s products/services and drive more sales. This can be done by providing product tutorial videos, customer testimonials, product demos and garnering consumer feedback through surveys upon scanning the QR Code.

      RELATED: Convert YouTube videos to QR Codes to boost lead conversions

      Increase lead conversions with QR Code marketing
    • Brand Loyalty and Advocacy

      Additionally, businesses can use QR Codes directly on product packaging to let customers share their experience on the company’s social media and offer giveaways and loyalty points in return. This helps build customer loyalty and allows customers to advocate for your brand.

      Build brand loyalty and advocacy using QR Code marketing

How to use QR Codes for marketing? 8 creative QR Code marketing ideas

If QR Codes are not a part of your offline marketing strategy yet, you might be missing out. QR Codes are extensively used by marketers to drive traffic, generate customer interest, and increase sales. Think coupons, ratings and reviews, social media awareness, and contest entries!

Some of the QR Code use-cases for marketing are listed below -

1. Generate more leads and revenue with QR Codes

By strategically including QR Codes in your marketing strategy, you can drive people to your desired landing pages and generate more leads and revenue.

For example, in his recent webinar about Google’s Core Web Vitals and Core Updates, Neil Patel used a QR Code to direct people towards his services’ landing page to drive more leads.

First, Neil Patel educated the viewers and provided valuable insights to help viewers keep up with Google’s Core Updates, and then he nudged the viewers to scan the QR Code to avail of his company services.

Generate more leads and revenue with QR Code marketing

RELATED: URL to QR Code: Engage users offline and increase online traffic

2. Direct customers to social media pages using QR Codes

Increase your social media engagement by driving traffic to your social media pages through QR Codes. For instance, having a Facebook QR Code on your marketing material or products can instantly allow people to visit your Facebook page and better engage with the page by either liking and sharing your social media posts or leaving a product review.

Direct customers to social media pages using QR Code marketing

3. Boost customer engagement using QR Codes

To boost customer engagement, Amazon used QR Codes to bring printed objects on their delivery boxes (a pumpkin, a car, a dog) to life. Users were encouraged to scan the QR Code that let them download the Amazon Augmented Reality App, which then brought up a customizable AR version of the printed object on the user’s phone.

4. Drive more footfalls by directing users to your business location with QR Codes

Using a location QR Code, businesses can seamlessly direct consumers to their business location. By having location QR Codes on their marketing material, companies can let people scan the QR Code and get directed to their site without having to manually search for the address on online maps.

Drive more footfalls by directing users to your business location with QR Code marketing

5. Get customers to leave product reviews by scanning QR Codes

As per this research, 90% of consumers read online reviews before making an online purchase. Hence, getting customers to leave online reviews is crucial for your business.

Using a rating feedback QR Code, businesses can get customers to leave product reviews instantly, which also allows customers to voice their opinion about the product and get rewarded for providing a review, in some cases.

Get customers to leave product reviews by scanning QR Code marketing

6. Build email marketing lists with QR Codes

Marketers use QR Codes on marketing materials such as print ads, business cards, etc., to direct users to lead generation web pages. This, in turn, allows marketers to capture emails by having users sign up to avail attractive discounts, for product updates and launches, and more.

Build email marketing lists with QR Code marketing

RELATED: Build your email list with QR Codes

7. Share your business contact details with vCard QR Codes

Through a digital business card, businesses can easily share details such as email, work address, phone number, location, etc., with their customers. Additionally, using a dynamic vCard QR Code, businesses can update their details as many times as required without reprinting the QR Code.

This not only allows customers to instantly save your contact details on their smartphones and interact with your business in real-time but also saves reprinting costs for your business.

Share your business contact details with vCard QR Codes

RELATED: vCard QR Code: Grow your business with a virtual business card

8. Demonstrate product authenticity through QR Codes

Businesses can build trust among consumers by demonstrating product authenticity, i.e., the product’s journey right from the farm to the store, using QR Codes. Once a consumer scans the QR Code, they can be taken to a landing page to view the product’s origin and ingredients. This helps consumers be rest assured of the product’s authenticity and improves your brand’s credibility.

Demonstrate product authenticity through QR Code marketing

For example, Farmer Connect and IBM announced a blockchain-based tracking app - Thank My Farmer - that allows consumers to understand the origin and quality of their coffee.

Best practices for using a QR Code for effective marketing campaigns

Here are some useful tips to keep in mind while creating and printing QR Codes for effective marketing campaigns. Remember, QR Codes should be not only beautiful but also functional and compelling for consumers to scan.

  1. Give consumers a reason to scan: Include a compelling and relevant call to action (CTA) along with the QR Code. Using a QR Code frame is a good option.

  2. Customize it to fit the marketing campaign: Avoid using black and white QR Codes. Make it attractive and personal by customizing it with brand color and logo.

  3. Place the QR Code strategically: Use high-contrast QR Codes that are easily scannable. Avoid using a dark background for QR Codes. This reduces the readability of the QR Code. Additionally, place the QR Code strategically, so it’s clearly visible to the user.

  4. Do not distort the QR Code: While resizing the QR Code for posters or billboards, make sure you maintain the proportion. Use shift+drag to resize QR Codes. A distorted QR Code is difficult to scan.

  5. Make sure the QR Code stands out: Maintain whitespace around the QR Code. This helps scanners distinguish the QR Code from its surroundings.

  6. Avoid using multiple QR Codes in one poster: It can get confusing for the user when you use multiple QR Codes to drive app downloads. For instance, do not use three different QR Codes for App Store, Play Store, and Windows App Store. Instead, create a QR Code with a universal link that redirects to different app stores depending on the device being used for scanning.

  7. Use high-quality QR Codes: Pick the right size of the QR Code for your use case. Make sure the QR Code is not blurred. Not only does this give a poor impression of the campaign, but it also becomes difficult for scanners to scan them.

  8. Maintain the scan distance to the QR Code size ratio: For effective scanning, the ratio of scan distance to QR Code size should be 10:1. Make sure you use bigger QR Codes for billboards than you would use for an in-store poster.

  9. Consider scanning time: Avoid printing QR Codes on moving vehicles because depending on the smartphone and the scanner, the scanning time differs. The time required to scan a QR Code on a moving vehicle might not be sufficient.

  10. Link your QR Code to a mobile-optimized campaign webpage: If you link your QR Code to a landing page, make sure the landing page is optimized for mobile devices.

  11. Always test your QR Codes before printing: QR Codes, if too small or blurry, fail to be scanned. It’s best to adequately test your QR Codes before having them printed so you can avoid the redistribution of a QR Code.

  12. Track dynamic QR Codes performance: Once your QR Code marketing campaign is live, always make sure to track the data (number of scans, devices used, etc.) to know the best-performing campaigns and optimize the underperforming ones.

RELATED: Improve your QR Code campaign performance + benchmarks

How to create QR Code marketing campaigns?

Setting up a QR Code marketing campaign is easy. Here is a step-by-step process to help you create dynamic QR Codes for your marketing campaigns:

  1. Choose a reliable QR Code generator that you can use to host your QR Code marketing campaigns. Then, log in to the dashboard of the QR Code generator.

  2. Select the type of dynamic QR Code (Website QR Code, PDF QR Code, etc.) required for your marketing campaign.

  3. Generate the chosen dynamic QR Code by filling up relevant details and personalizing it using creative templates, eye shapes, patterns, frames, etc.

  4. If you do not have a landing page ready for your marketing campaign, some QR Code generators also let you create a drag and drop landing page (no coding required), which you can then assign to the dynamic QR Code generated.

  5. Once done with testing, download the QR Code in the required format and attach it to your marketing material.

Why choose Uniqode (formerly Beaconstac) for your QR Code marketing campaigns?

Uniqode's (formerly Beaconstac) QR Code platform is the #1 rated QR Code solution on G2. Customers love us and it’s easy to see why.

  • a. Ease of use - Uniqode (formerly Beaconstac) provides an intuitive and smooth QR Code platform to help marketers get their marketing campaigns up and running in under 15 minutes.

  • b. Platform features - Uniqode's (formerly Beaconstac) QR Code generator offers various advanced features to set up your marketing campaign for success.

  • Apart from all the basic QR Code platform features, here are some of the key advanced features offered by Uniqode (formerly Beaconstac) -

  • c. Enterprise level security - With Single Sign-On (SSO login), SSL encryption, SOC 2 certification, and GDPR compliance, Uniqode's (formerly Beaconstac) QR Code generator ensures complete data protection and privacy for your business and your customers.

  • d. API for automation - Uniqode (formerly Beaconstac) provides its QR Code API so you can integrate it into your mobile app or workflow to create static, dynamic, bulk (static) QR Codes for your marketing campaigns.

  • e. Dedicated customer support - Our dedicated team of customer support professionals is readily available to assist you with your needs and resolve all your concerns.

  • f. Advanced QR Code scan analytics - In addition to the basic scan analytics - location, time, and date of the scan, Uniqode's (formerly Beaconstac) QR Code generator also provides a powerful analytics dashboard with robust analytics and weekly QR Code reports to help marketers gain deeper insights into their audience.

  • Here is the data displayed on the Uniqode's (formerly Beaconstac) analytics dashboard -

  • Overview - Number of scans, unique visitors

  • Campaign performance - Top 5 best- and under-performing QR Code campaigns

  • Reports (can be exported as a .xls file) - Overview of scans by location, aggregate scan details, individual scan details

  • Campaign distribution - Type of QR Code marketing campaigns currently active to measure which type is the most effective

  • Additionally, you can also integrate Google Analytics with Uniqode (formerly Beaconstac) to develop a further understanding of your target audience.

  • When you connect Google Analytics with Uniqode (formerly Beaconstac), you will be able to get access to the following data -

  • User behavior - New users vs returning users, duration of visit, sessions, page views, etc.

  • Demographics - Native language, city, country, age, gender of the person who scanned the Code

  • System/Devices used - Browser, operating system, the service provider used to scan the QR Code

  • This QR Code analytics can be used for the optimization of marketing campaigns in the following ways -

    • Optimize resources at your physical business location based on scans by time and the days in a week.
    • Based on user demographics and preferences, marketers can optimize existing marketing campaigns and A/B test to better appeal to their target audience.
    • Identify the hot spots at a physical location based on the most number of scans and deploy important QR Codes at that location to get more traction for your marketing campaigns.

Get started with QR-based proximity marketing in minutes