Everyone is familiar with the traditional barcode, but not as many people know about the new mobile counterpart, the Quick Response code. Its convenience is transforming the world of mobile advertising, since it gives business owners more opportunities to reach their customers without being bound to a specific location.

How have two-dimensional, computer-generated images had such a large influence in this field? The answer lies in the ability of a customer to scan and process a QR code with their smartphone’s QR code reader, which automatically redirects the customer to a website or online resource associated with the code. No URL has to be typed into any Internet browser when scanning a QR code. It is this efficiency and simplicity that makes QR codes an attractive mobile advertising solution, especially for small businesses.

The codes are effective in maintaining customer loyalty and adding new prospects to customer bases, because they give business owners the possibility to connect with people both during their time in an establishment and after they leave. QR codes thus drive results for online activities such as email newsletters, social media, and event registration by increasing the likelihood that customers and prospects will become engaged in them. 

Where would a business owner go in order to create a QR code? A multitude of QR code generators exist online. All the user needs to do is provide a website URL that they want to associate with the generated code. This process is not only fast and simple, but it is also free. With such ease of use, there is no reason why a business should not be taking advantage of the versatility that QR codes have to offer.

Once QR codes have been created, they can be used in multiple ways to suit the needs of any kind of business. Primarily, businesses can utilize them to directly link customers with company social media accounts, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. This kind of promotion comes at no cost to a business, and it allows people to “like” and “follow” businesses quickly, without the hassle of searching online for the business later. There is also a higher chance that the content a business posts on social media sites will be shared. 

QR codes can also help a business to build their customer relationships. Many businesses find it difficult to get customers to fill out surveys about their purchases or service experiences. This is mainly due to people not being interested enough to complete surveys at home after leaving from a store or business. QR codes close that window of time, because they give customers the opportunity to participate in online surveys while they finish at the cash register, stand in line, or wait to be seated at a restaurant table. The convenience of this solution is appreciated by the customers and the business.  

Additionally, QR codes can be used to gather reviews for online sites such as Yelp. Businesses, however, should always take care to tell their customers how their feedback will be used, since people want to know that their comments are being taken seriously. For customers who do write reviews, incentives such as special discounts or free items can be offered.

Small businesses can even use QR codes to cater directly to their local audience. Coupons or other forms of deals can be distributed via QR code. This makes QR codes an excellent method for advertising local promotions. When a new customer discovers a company that they really love and then they get an immediate deal for a product or service, they are very likely to share their story with friends and family. If QR codes have enticing incentives, they will develop relationships with the users, who will talk about a business more and will probably become repeat customers.

Another kind of local promotion that QR codes are good for is event registration. The codes can directly link to a registration page. Flyers and posters can be made with visually appealing content, and a QR code can be added that gives people a chance to register or learn more about the event. Coupons, deals, or other incentives can even be offered for signing up to motivate people into registering.

Aside from customer relationships, QR codes can also build email subscription lists. Many businesses send out newsletters for new customers to stay connected and learn more about the business. Not as many give all potential and existing customers a simple method for signing up.  QR codes offer an efficient solution, especially since they can directly link customers to a subscription page.  Businesses can thus further customer relationships while increasing the chances of gaining return customers.

Placing QR codes in prominent and convenient locations can boost website and blog traffic. In order to motivate customers into visiting their online sites, businesses must link their QR codes to some sort of valuable content. QR codes that directly link to just company websites often bore customers, who will not care enough to explore the page. Offering relevant information to customers instead will help to drive the kind of traffic that businesses desire.

A great example to illustrate where QR codes can be placed and how valuable content can be provided is a restaurant. To attract potential customers who are considering a visit, restaurants can attach QR codes to their front doors. They can also be placed in the lobby of the establishment, so customers can download the code to pass time while waiting to be seated. Both of these codes can link to such engaging pages as the menu, pictures of dishes, or interesting facts about the history of the establishment. QR codes printed on flip menu stands and tabletop signs can send guests to webpages dedicated to food and drink pairings, available daily specials, or nutritional information about dishes, which can all increase check sizes and promote higher margin items. To engage paid customers, restaurant materials such as receipts, tray liners, and takeout and pizza boxes can feature QR codes that take them to digital comment cards. The restaurant can then get customer opinions and feedback while also receiving contact information to aid in future marketing campaigns.

In today’s digitized world, it is crucial for businesses to endorse their website, which functions as a sort of digital real estate. Business owners across all industries invest time and money into their websites, but then forget to promote them. This is a problem that could potentially cause a loss in revenue. It can be fixed, however, with relatively simple solutions, and the benefits of QR codes make them one of the better solutions. For affordable and effective advertising, the small business should definitely consider using them.