Quick response (QR) codes are nothing new—developed over a decade ago, according to Marqui.com, QR codes have been widely used in places like Japan for years—and in North America, their influence is only expanding. Having increased by as much as 1,200 percent in late 2010 according to Mobile Commerce Daily and scanned by 14 million Americans in June 2011 according to ComScore, QR codes can provide innovative marketing opportunities for businesses looking to engage their audiences, generate new leads and expand opportunities to connect with business customers or employees.
What Are QR Codes?
QR codes are customized bar codes that can be scanned to smartphones for fast access to predetermined information or resources. Designed to link the online and offline worlds, QR codes give businesses a way to extend their influence beyond printed materials.
What Can They Do?
QR codes can accomplish specific actions and link to various multimedia resources. Among their possible uses, QR codes can link to website landing pages, call telephone numbers, send text messages or emails, download materials, display a Google Map location, take users to a social media profile and more.
How Can You Use QR Codes in B2B Marketing?
QR codes represent powerful marketing opportunities for the B2B market where information is so critical, particularly because research shows close to 40% of the mobile users scanning QR codes are business professionals who earn a household income of $100K or above. To determine which application is best for your business, consider what your audience would find valuable and make sure your idea is smartphone-friendly.
Here are Straight North’s top 13 ideas to get you started!
- At Events
When you take part in an event, be it a trade show, a conference or something else, look for as many ways as possible to integrate your QR code: put it on your marketing materials, on your display panels, with swag—and customize the code to take users to a landing page designed for event attendees, one which provides details about your business and includes a form for you to generate new leads.
- As a Link to Video Demonstrations
A QR code can bring users to a video demonstration of your product or services, something that would be hard to share in typical person-to-person interactions.
- On Business Cards
Easily share contact info through a QR code on the back of your business card. “Business cards are the simplest means of passing on your contact information, but including any sort of advertising makes them look cluttered,” says Martine Hunter of the Distributed Marketing Blog. “Instead, add QR codes that have promotional material already on them.”
- On Company Logos
According to Entrepreneur Community Online, “Essentially anywhere you display your company logo (business card, building, booth, stationery, etc.) should/will have a QR code so the user can find out more about your business/product.”
- In Catalogs
QR codes give you a way to make catalog and magazine ads interactive. “Imagine someone flipping through a print item, seeing a QR code, scanning it, and then learning more about your company,” says NotixTech. “[QR codes allow you to] Link to case studies, white papers, installation guides, specific tools, video media, and more. Connect the offline with the online.”
- To Gather Opinions
IT superstore Best Buy used QR codes last year to gather information about employee satisfaction. Through a campaign focused on mood-sampling codes, the major retailer asked employees on any given day to scan in a “good” or “bad feeling. The information then informed Best Buy about which stores had the highest employee satisfaction overall.
- In Magazines and Newspapers
Strategically using QR codes can be a powerful way to engage readers beyond print advertisements. According to Rachel Sprung of HubSpot, “When people see advertisements in newspapers, magazines, or signage, they often ignore them, but with a QR code, many people become interested in what other information it leads to.”
- In Mailings
QR codes make it possible to add all the multimedia resources you want to postcards, direct mail campaigns or other mailings—making these materials more impactful as they communicate a more in-depth message.
- In Product Packaging
QR codes in product packaging can link to relevant resources like product information, support, instructional installation videos and more.
- On Handouts
When was the last time you attended a lecture or workshop and remembered everything you heard? Make it easier for the people who listen to you speak by distributing handouts with simple highlights of your message—and a QR code that links to the full content, which they can view as they like.
- On Trucks
Follow the example of one electrical service supplier to commercial businesses, William Dyer Electrical UK Ltd, which took an interesting approach to using QR codes: print codes on your business vans and trucks to draw the public to your website.
- For Contest Promotion
Take a page from Conde-Nast’s Glamour Magazine, who used QR codes for promotions in its September 2011 issue. Your company could allow users to instantly enter a Facebook or other contest via QR codes or include contest QR codes in mailings or magazines.
- In Troubleshooting Guides
Amplify the support you can offer clients by filling your troubleshooting guide with QR codes that point to how-to videos on dealing with common problems.