Skip to main content

QR Codes Are Here to Stay (And That’s a Good Thing)

Posted on February 22, 2023
Written by David Nisley
Tags: Printing

Here is how businesses can use QR codes as a valuable tool.


In today’s digital age, businesses have access to a wide range of digital tools to help them connect with customers. QR codes, short for Quick Response codes, are one such tool that can be used to bridge the gap between print and digital marketing. QR codes are two-dimensional barcodes that can be scanned by smartphones or other mobile devices, allowing users to access information, websites, and other digital content quickly and easily. Businesses can use QR codes in their printed marketing materials to enhance customer engagement.

The codes were developed in 1994 by a Japanese company to improve manufacturing and logistics, before it was adopted for advertising and marketing. The rise of smartphones equipped with cameras made scanning QR codes more accessible and led to their widespread use around the globe. The Covid-19 pandemic initiated a resurgence, with restaurants and other businesses using QR codes as a contactless way to view menus, pay online, and more.

This “forced awareness” has opened the door to broader adoptions and greater acceptance. Here is how businesses can use QR codes as a valuable tool.

1. Determine the purpose of the QR code.

Before creating a QR code for marketing materials, it’s important to determine the purpose of the code. Do you want to direct customers to your website or social media page? Do you want to provide them with a special offer or discount code? Knowing the purpose of the QR code will help you create a more effective marketing campaign.

2. Create an eye-catching design.

Use colors, logos, and other visual elements to make the QR code more attractive and encourage people to scan it. Websites like www.qr.io offer easy, free customization; data tracking and other features are available with a subscription.

3. Provide clear instructions.

When including a QR code, make sure to provide clear instructions on how to scan the code. Not everyone is familiar with QR codes, so it’s important to explain how they work and what customers can expect when they scan the code. Something as simple as “Scan to visit WEBSITE.COM” or “Scan to make your reservation” gives a clear, actionable prompt.

4. Test the QR code.

Test the QR code to ensure that it works properly. Use a variety of devices, if possible, to test the code and make sure that it directs users to the correct content. Most smartphones are now capable of scanning QR codes through the built-in camera, without needing a separate app.

5. Track the performance of the QR code.

Tracking the performance of your QR code is essential to determining the effectiveness of your marketing campaign. You can use tools like Google Analytics to track the number of scans, the time of day the code was scanned, and the location of the scanners. This information can help you make adjustments to your marketing campaign and improve its overall performance.

6. Use  QR codes strategically.

QR codes can be used in a variety of printed marketing materials, including brochures, posters, business cards, and product packaging. It’s  important to use QR codes strategically and make sure they are placed in locations that are easily accessible to customers. They aren’t designed to use on digital platforms – customers can’t scan the code included in your social media post!

QR codes can be a powerful tool for businesses looking to enhance their printed marketing materials with digital content.

One of the great things about QR codes is that the cost of entry is … well, nothing! You can create QR codes for free and put them on your print pieces and try them out. If they don’t drive traffic, you have lost nothing. However, when they create engagement and drive people to your product or service, we find that they are priceless. By following these tips, you can engage with your community, encourage customers to write reviews, and easily share more information.