10 Creative Uses for QR Codes in Marketing

Quick Response (QR) codes are nothing new. These little square bar codes are used in all aspects of modern marketing. From packaging to billboards, apparel to food, qr codes are still on the rise and bridging a gap towards a more augmented reality in advertising. Modern marketers and designers are utilizing qr codes to spread their reach, promote their business, and attract more customers.  It is a cost effective way to add some spice to your new marketing campaigns.

There are a number of reasons why you should look into this technology, especially if you are marketing to a younger, more tech-savvy generation.  The main being that They standout!  Qr codes are becoming a staple in the market place. Younger users are anxious to whip out their smart phone and see where these little black squares take them (especially if you offer some incentive).  You must be clear on where you take your users and give them a reason to go there.

The biggest advantage to qr codes is their versatility. You can use them to advertise specials at a bar, showcase a video, add customers to a mobile text messaging list, or just drive traffic to your website. Plus, I’ll show you how to create yours for free!

Below I’ve complied a list of creative ways to use qr codes in your marketing campaigns.  I hope you find some inspiration here, and if you have any other ideas you think I should add, just leave me a comment below.  Thanks and enjoy!

1. Get Interactive With Business Cards

qr code business cardSimple and effective, especially if your target market is a younger demographic.  This card from treelogic is a sleek example.  Perfect for marketers driving traffic to an offer, a squeeze page, or a sales letter.  Give away your card and keep your name in your prospect’s heads with a unique business card.

2. Promote With a Poster

qr code poster marketingPosters are an easy way to attract attention and stand out from other advertisers by offering interaction.  Give users some incentive to scan your poster.  You could offer a free giveaway, info about an event, or coupon codes for online purchase discounts.  This is a great example from the Rochester Jazz Festival.

3. Sweepstakes : Scan it to Win it!

George's Music QR Code ContestThere are many ways to entice users to scan your code, competitions and sweepstakes are the best.  George’s Music ran a contest with QR coded tags on their instruments. They offered a cash prize, and users had to opt-in to their mailing list to complete the registration.  This will help grow your user base and your brand.

4. Be Fashionable

QR Code Facebook LikesWear your qr code!  Certainly not the latest or greatest trend in fashion, but a standout way to drive people to scan.  Check out this example I put together with a qr code used to add a person as a friend on Facebook.  Not a bad idea if you are at a social gathering or marketing event.   You could also set this up to like your business’s fan page.

5. Interact With Packaging

qr code packagingDo you offer a tangible product?  Perhaps a printed version of an ebook, or special reports?  Adding a qr code to your product’s packaging is a great way to add more appeal.  You could use it as a link to a digital version of the product, or as a link to other similar products on your site or store.

6. Use Coasters

qr code coastersOne of my personal favorite ideas, coasters are a great piece of marketing material that everyone uses, all the time.  If you have a lounge or waiting area in your office, print some of these up and offer some more info about your company, or showcase a product or promotion.  This example from Interactive Media Labs is used just for that reason.  Keep clients entertained!

7. Stick One Anywhere

qr code stickerStick your brand everywhere! Using qr codes on stickers is ingenious. I’ve seen them applied to cars, stop signs, surfboards…the list goes on and on. This image from Dan Karran is for a treasure trail of qr codes leading users around London. Seems like a cool concept, but this run didn’t work out too well as there was no incentive to scan the codes.

8. Have a Drink on Me

Photo by AdactioEveryone needs to drink right?  I recently went to the dentist and received a coffee mug for being a first time customer. It had the name, address, and phone number on it… pretty basic. I instantly thought how much more interesting it would have been to have a qr code on the mug. It could read “scan to make your next appointment,” and scanning would call the dentist or take you to their site to schedule one. These have great potential.

9. Brand Your Self For Life

qr code tattooNot the most sensible application of qr codes in my opinion, but definitely the boldest!  You can brand yourself, literally, by getting a qr code tattoo.  Are you an artist or photographer with a portfolio website? If you are into tattoos, this would be a great way to stand out and market yourself by having people scan you.  Just make sure that you test out your qr code first!  Photo courtesy of Superiour Tattoo.

10. Food

qr code foodImagine sitting down at a restaurant and ordering a burger; on the bun is a qr code that you could scan to possibly win the burger for free.  That would be awesome!  Believe it or not, I have seen multiple applications of qr codes in food.  From cupcakes to candy, technology has never tasted so good.  If you have a bakery, try to make some cookies with quick response icing, like the ones pictured from Design Inspiration.

Want to implement qr codes in your marketing?  Head over to http://qrcode.kaywa.com/ to create yours for free.  It’s a simple and user friendly way to get your qr codes made.  Simply choose what type of code you want, enter the information, select your size, and BAM, you are done.

I hope you have taken some inspiration from this article. Be sure to check back soon for more design and technology related articles, from yours truly, here on Marketers Black Book.

Share This Post

Google1DeliciousDiggGoogleStumbleuponRedditTechnoratiYahooBloggerMyspaceRSS

One Response to 10 Creative Uses for QR Codes in Marketing

  1. I just happened on this as I have only just discovered this site. Feel compelled to make a couple of comments regarding the use of these nifty little pieces of artwork. I think it’s pretty important to do a few things routinely when using them in marketing, treasure hunts, or anything, for that matter.
    First, I think it is a mistake to assume that everyone in the general public know what QR codes are, what they’re capable of taking the consumer to, or what to do with them. Including some basic education with a QR code improves engagement.
    I would always include a link to a reliable QR reader in both Apple and Android app markets (i-nigma is my favorite and reads codes that other readers can’t) along with a short explanation of how to scan the code and what the user can expect, ie are they being taken to a video, a special offer, a mobile site, and not to leave out that age old question…”what’s in it for me?”.
    Thinking carefully about placement is important. Putting QR codes on billboards next to roadways, on buses, rooftops? For what? Driving and scanning doesn’t seem like a really smart thing to do, chasing a bus down doesn’t either and slapping QR codes up anywhere just because you can only dilutes their power.
    The biggest faux pas is not mentioned here and I’m surprised. Having a QR code go to a desktop website is ridiculous, yet I see it all the time and in this article you mention going to a website several times but fail to say that the site needs to be a mobile site or mobile offer, mobile something.
    The code is scanned with a mobile device. It makes no sense to take the user to something they will have to pinch and scroll to try to see and makes for a lousy experience.
    Lots of creative ways to use them if you follow some common sense rules.
    Thanks for an interesting read. I especially like the dentist idea.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *