Internet Marketing with QR Codes

With the growth in smartphone adoption, QR codes are rapidly becoming an important part of the internet marketer’s toolkit. The distinctive black and white, pixilated squares can be found on billboards, in newspaper adverts and on the back of cereal boxes.

Anyone with a camera phone equipped with a QR code reader can scan the barcode to access encoded information, such as a phone number, URL, or video. With one quick scan, the user’s phone automatically connects to a customer service hotline, displays a website, or plays a video.

35 percent of Americans own a smartphone, according to a report from the Pew Internet and American Life Project. Many smartphones come with a QR reader already installed by the manufacturer. For those that don’t, there are several applications available to download. The potential to engage customers through their smartphones is a marketing opportunity that few web-based businesses can afford to ignore.

QR codes are cheap (or free) and relatively simple to create. You can easily design one through a user-friendly website. No specialized skills or resources are required. Be aware that, if you decide to encode a URL, the landing page must be mobile-friendly.

Build your Subscriber List
QR codes provide an interactive experience, linking the real world with the internet. Potential customers attracted by an offline advert can opt in to your email subscriber list with a quick scan of the QR code. No need for them to remember the website address or struggle to type their details into a tiny online form using their mobile device.

Link Multi-channel Marketing Campaigns
QR codes are a great way of linking multi-channel advertising campaigns. Users can scan a QR code on a leaflet, printed advert, or product packaging and their phone will automatically take them to your website or display a video of the item being used.

Encourage Users to Share Content
QR codes embedded in emails have their limitations. It is far easier for a user to click on an ordinary link than find a second device to scan or take a picture of a QR code received by email. But, for example, you can overcome this limitation by encouraging the email recipient to share the QR code with friends, who can then scan the email with their own phones. Consider sending an interesting video clip or a discount voucher that users will enjoy sharing and create a buzz about your product.

Clearly, QR codes will not replace traditional email marketing techniques. However, if you offer interesting content that works well on a phone, media-savvy customers will relish the novelty of a QR code campaign.