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Use QR Codes to Spice Up your Marketing

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September 15,2016

By Kristen Gramigna, BluePay


If you haven’t yet used quick response (QR) codes in your marketing campaign, you’ve certainly seen them on signs, packages, and posted on storefront windows and doors. Though QR codes have been a viable means of engaging with customers for several years, they’re often underutilized by small business owners: the very marketers that can benefit from them most. Here are a few clever and cost-efficient ways to use QR codes to spice up your marketing.


Make your code the breadcrumb path to mobile content. eMarketer estimates that people spend at least three hours a day interacting with their mobile devices. (When they’re not looking at their device, it’s still highly likely that it’s within reach.) Mobile devices work hand in hand with QR codes, making them the perfect medium to form a breadcrumb path of sorts that leads customers and prospects to your message.

User engagement with QR codes starts the moment users scan the code on their mobile device — and should stay in the realm of mobile throughout the interaction. Whether your QR code takes users to a mobile-friendly website, serves a mobile-offer to store on their mobile device, takes them to a mobile game, video, app or social media profile, QR codes are all about the mobile moment — from start to finish. 


Send your QR codes on the road. Unlike a traditional marketing message that may require infrastructure or a specific amount of space, QR codes are small enough to fit on nearly anything; put them on the move! If your business exhibits at a trade show, for example, put your QR code on the back of the shirts your staff wears, on name badges, and on your booth (in a location that’s easy to snap). Place a QR code on the back of your company car so interested customers can snap a pic while at a stoplight. Print QR codes on bags, packaging and giveaways to continue engaging customers once they’ve left your business.  The more exposure you can get for your QR codes, the better response you’ll generate.


Give people a reason to snap. Like any marketing message, your QR code needs to have a message or incentive that draws the customer to notice it and perform the desired action. Increase the odds that people engage with your QR code by giving them a reason: Promise a discount, special offer, VIP information, a compelling story or a special event.

If you own a boutique that sells items for local crafters, for example, a QR code next to a few featured items could take those who download it to a video that tells the story behind the items, shows how it was made, and how it should be cared for to maintain its quality. If you own a home improvement store, the same tactic can be adapted to your audience: A QR code next to the paint aisle could feature tips for selecting that perfect color palette, and include a coupon that users can download to their mobile device when they’re ready to purchase.


Design truly unique offers. QR codes leave room for plenty of creativity, but you have to make users feel like they’ve gotten a value-added benefit from the code they wouldn’t have otherwise.  If you promise an offer, discount, special access or entry to a contest for those who engage with the code, make sure it’s a one-of-a-kind offer. (And promote it as one!)

Though it may not cost customers much time or effort to scan a QR code, it’s an extra step that they willingly perform; so make it worth their while!  If you make the benefit of the QR code appealing enough that people will help spread the word of its value on social media or online reviews, you may just find that QR codes are one of your most cost-effective marketing tactics.



Kristen Gramigna is Chief Marketing Officer for BluePay, a credit card processing firm. She has more than 20 years experience in the bankcard industry in direct sales, sales management and marketing. Follow her on Twitter at @BluePay_CMO



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