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QR Codes the Remarkably Misunderstood Marketing Tool

Smartphones are on a roll! With their increasing popularity and increasing capacity to Do Stuff, your best prospects are increasingly open to taking advantage of offers and shortcuts with the apps that are erupting from developers creative brains!  The QR code was hyped as the next best answer to everything at one point and despite a slow start and some inappropriate uses, they are slowly gaining ground. This evolved barcode; an invention that was originally for cataloguing car parts in a factory, is still a powerful advertising tool that can bring new and repeat customers through your door. QR codes help distribute information to man’s new best friend, and multiply your advertising options, by connecting print media back in to the digital loop.  Here are just 5 possible ways to use QR codes for popularizing your business and for attracting more customers.

1. Offer Your Complete Company Profile on a Business Card or a Flyer

Traditionally, when networking is in full flow, business people have stuck to the long time tradition of exchanging business cards in order to keep tabs on the details of the contacts they’ve met.  QR codes allow the exchange of business data in the form of a Vcard – or virtual business card.  This is simple to achieve by uploading a vcard (.vcf) file to your website and using the qr code to provide a download link to the phone.   Alternatively the data from your vcard can simply be encoded into the QR code itself.  This tends to generate pretty finely detailed QR codes that can be difficult to scan, but – as smart phones rapidly improve their acuity, this is becoming less and less of a problem.  Different QR code readers are also of varying degrees of capability, so it pays to choose a vcard app that can definitely recognise the Vcard format and pass it on to the appropriate software on your phone for display.


qr code for vcard download link for ray cassidy

Same information, but this time it is presented as a URL for downloading the vcard file. Less information leads to much chunkier blocks.


vcard qe-code for ray cassidy consulting cumbria ltd

This Vcard QR Code is very dense as all the contact information plus an image is encoded.


2. QR Code Advertising in Shopping Centres, Windows, Display Boxes or on A-Boards

QR codes take business cards to a different level. Handing over a business card with a QR code provides easy access to your company’s landing page – or it can display your whole CV in an instant, making sure that an exciting meeting that opens new doors for your business will not be forgotten due to lack of further information about you. Flyers usually contain abridged information about a company’s products or services. If you add QR codes to your leaflets or brochures, the person interested can quickly find out all about your company with a few simple clicks – maybe even place an order right on the spot. You can also use a code that takes people to a box where they can sign in for your newsletter.

By plopping your eye-catching ad anywhere people are passing, with the QR code included, you’ve got the opportunity to instantly send the person who scanned it to your MOBILE FRIENDLY landing page. With the right call to action, you can use a code that lands visitors on a page with a short video in which you present your products or services, making advertising more personal, or incentivise the visitor with a mouth watering offer.

qrcode - billboard advert linking to uncensored version of ad.

Calvin Klein’s almost famous QR code link to the uncensored version of their X ad

3. Offer Special Promotions

Is there a certain period of the day when the number of customers entering your shop seems to drop significantly? Maybe you are a cafe suffering that horrible mid afternoon tumbleweed feeling!  You can use QR codes to entice customers to come in by offering them promotions if they scan the codes in that particular period. Whether you use the code on websites or in a printed form, make sure it is advertised attractively and unambiguously.

4. Product Orders Placed through Scanning QR Codes

You can save your potential customers from all the hassle of having to type in the whole URL of your company website (yes, many of us are that lazy) and you can offer promotional prices for the products ordered via QR codes. The code can take the potential customer directly to an order form, saving them the time and energy they would have had to invest into finding your product otherwise.

5. Boost the Power of Social Proof

qr codes lead to freeindex and other review sites boosting social proof.

This QR code leads phone users to the Freeindex review page for Consulting Cumbria. Please do add a review if you have been pleased by any work we have done for you.

There are several ways you can use the potential of social media sites to boost the usefulness of your Facebook pages and the general volume of online chatter about your business.  One of the most powerful uses of  the QR codes is to use them to take the customer who has scanned it, to one of the local review sites that is important to your market and get them to leave you a review. You will of course offer them a little thankyou for taking the time and trouble to help you out like this.  Special promotions and presents for those who spread the good word about you, will soon spread, multiplying the number of potential customers.

Summary – QR Codes Have Many Untapped Uses Beyond the Original Hype

Every business needs distinguishing features that are appealing for the customers – let QR codes highlight your company by making access to your products and services easy, fun and reputation enhancing.  This short video gives a more forward looking treatment of scan branding as this QR Code technology is starting to be known as.

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