Try These 5 Simple and Effective Ways to Use QR Codes

Have you noticed that QR (quick response) codes are becoming much more common?

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, QR codes are those little squares of black and white squiggles. People scan them with their smartphones and the codes automatically bring up a web page, photo, phone number, video, music, or text.

This article explains some of the QR code basics. Since it was written there are more smartphone users as well as smartphone users who are savvy to scanning QR codes. Also, the means for creating your own QR codes are readily available and easy to use. If you search for “QR code generator,” you’ll get a lot of listings, including QR Stuff, where you can get free basic codes.

Many small businesses use QR codes to direct people to a web page. If that might be your purpose, you need one more piece of technical information: the difference between static QR codes and dynamic QR codes.

Static vs Dynamic QR Codes

A static QR code will always direct users to the same URL. If you use a static QR code and want to change the web address, you have to change the code, and this could mean printing new materials and/or changing graphics on your website. With a dynamic QR code, you can change the web address that it points to without needing to change the QR code itself. Often paid subscriptions are required for dynamic QR codes and they include analytics that would let you do A/B testing, for example.

With the fundamentals out of the way, let’s suggest some ways you can use QR codes in your business.

Business Cards. We hand out business cards all the time. If we try stuffing a marketing brochure in the person’s hand at the same time, there’s a good chance the card and the brochure will end up in the trash. With a well-designed business card, including a QR code on the back, you can send your prospect to a web page that features all your marketing information. Further, you can keep the information fresh.

Your Front Window. Retailers and restaurants are posting QR codes in their front windows. They could lead to a coupon, a menu, a Facebook check in, a Yelp listing, or more.

Posters. If you’re sponsoring an event you’ll have posters up around town. With a QR code you can make signing up easy and the easier you make it to sign up, the more attendance you get.

Capture Prospects. In the same way as you get participants in an event, you can use QR codes to boost your prospects. Offer a free download, coupon, or some other incentive and use the QR code to direct the user to a landing page.

Boost Your Social Media Followers. You can integrate your QR code campaigns with your efforts to get more Facebook “likes,” Twitter followers, YouTube subscribers, and pinned merchandise on Pinterest. Some retailers may want to have several QR codes posted around their stores.

For a long time, Internet marketing efforts were designed to get customers to do something in the “real world,” e.g., come to you store or use your service. QR codes are often the opposite. They take people from the real world and draw them into your Internet presence. It makes sense because you are investing a great deal in content and social media marketing today.

And once your prospects are connected online with your business, you can more fully develop your brand recognition and allegiance. That should pay off for you quite well.

Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.

Photo credit: “1. Find QR code,” © 2008 CoCreatr, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license:


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