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A quick lesson on QR codes: what they are and how they’re used

A quick lesson on QR codes: what they are and how they’re used A quick lesson on QR codes: what they are and how they’re used

A quick lesson on QR codes: what they are and how they’re used

The past few years have introduced QR codes into many of our daily lives - though definitely not for the greatest reason.

For those who were fortunate enough to duck and weave around the endless check-ins, though, you might be wondering what they are.

Here’s an example of what they look like:

A quick lesson on QR codes: what they are and how they’re used

Short for Quick Response codes, they’re a type of two-dimensional barcode which can contain different kinds of data such as links to websites, coupons and other digitally-linked information.

Their ability to share information contact-free made them very popular during the pandemic, and you can now find them all over the place, from magazines and product packaging to outdoor advertising, social media posts and much more.

There are a growing number of businesses who have begun incorporating them into their marketing mix with incredible success - though only if done in the right ways.

The benefits of using QR codes as a marketing tool

You might be wondering whether it’s worth using QR codes for your business.
As a matter of fact, there are a lot of huge advantages to doing so instead of continuing on doing things ‘the way you’ve always done them’.

Increases engagement opportunities

Increases engagement opportunities
Increases engagement opportunities

It’s well known that the more you’re able to engage with your audience, the more sincere and powerful the relationship becomes. QR codes are an absolutely fantastic way to transform your marketing campaign into something much more interactive and engaging.

For example, you might use a QR code in a social post which provides your followers with exclusive access to a competition, video content or something similar.

Enables cross-channel messaging

Enables cross-channel messaging
Enables cross-channel messaging

In the past, advertising through traditional media channels - specifically print and outdoor - meant your message started and stopped on the page or billboard your ad was featured on. This was really quite restrictive for brands looking to tell more of their story.

But now, a print ad, billboard or other type of static traditional media ad can feature a QR code. With this, you can link to a video or other rich media that continues your brand’s messaging long after the page has been turned or they’ve walked past the outdoor ad.

Reduces potential of user error

Reduces potential of user error
Reduces potential of user error

Let’s face it, entering a URL manually can quite easily lead to user error which will result in a 404 error. And at that moment, the chances are you’ve probably lost their interest.

Protect yourself from these kinds of roadblocks by instead using a QR code which points straight to the URL you want them to visit. This creates a much easier and more seamless experience for your audience, too, which is a great way to increase your brand equity.

Allows for the tracking of important data

Allows for the tracking of important data
Allows for the tracking of important data

Any decent marketing campaign should include plenty of data and analytics that can be used to improve your next campaign and provide you with insights about your audience.

Unlike digital, traditional media generally lacks the ability to track anything - unless you bring QR codes into the fold. There are a few different methods of tracking depending on where you’re pointing the QR code to (website, social media, etc.), through which you can learn things like how many people scanned it, which ad they scanned and when - and in real time!

Chat with us to find out which tracking method will work best for your campaign goals by calling us on 1300 479 226.

Expands your communication capacity

Expands your communication capacity
Expands your communication capacity

There’s only so much room for information on packaging, in print ads and the like. If you have a real need to offer your audience more information than you can fit in an ad or on a packet, you’re in luck!

Simply offer a QR code that takes them to this expanded amount of information should they wish to read more.

How to create a QR code using our awesome free generator How to create a QR code using our awesome free generator

How to create a QR code using our awesome free generator

How to create a QR code using our awesome free generator

Now you understand the many different benefits of using QR codes, you’re probably ready to get the ball rolling with our awesome free QR code generator!

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to create your very own:

Step 1Head to the top of this page.

Step 2Choose the kind of application you’d like the QR code to be. In this guide, we’ll go with a link as this is the most common option for businesses.

Step 3Paste the link you’d like the QR code to point to in the URL field.

Step 4Go through each of the rendering options as required (size, colours and gradient, dot shapes, etc.).

Step 5Either upload your business logo or choose the watermark that coincides with the action of the QR code (you can leave this blank if you’d like, though).

Step 6Click on the ‘Generate QR code’ button.

Step 7Once your QR code pops up, you’re free to print or save it and use it in your marketing assets!

QR Codes FAQ's

A Quick Response or QR code is a 2D scannable pattern which can be created to perform actions such as pointing to specific links, copying numbers to the recipient’s phone, displaying textual information and more.

They can be found in a multitude of places including (but definitely not limited to) in magazines, on the packaging of products, on outdoor advertisements and at airports.

If you’re like one of the other 6.5 billion people around the world who own a smartphone, it couldn’t be any easier to scan a QR code!

There are countless QR code readers/scanners available on both the App Store and Google Play Store - just search ‘QR code reader’ and download the one you want.

Then open the app, wait for the camera to begin operating and hold it up to the QR code you want to scan. That should either cause the action to occur automatically or display a link/phone number/et cetera which you can click on to perform the action manually.

QR codes were invented in 1994 by Masahiro Hara, an employee of Japanese company Denso Wave. Hara originally created them as a way to track vehicles and parts through high-speed component scanning during the manufacturing process.

There’s a long list of what you can incorporate into a QR code. Because it offers so much more capacity than its ancient counterpart, the linear barcode, its potentials are almost limitless.

Some examples of actions you can put into a QR code include:

  • inking directly to your website
  • Sending location coordinates
  • Calling a phone number
  • Following a social media account
  • Posting on a social media account
  • Directing to your Google Reviews page
  • Linking to YouTube (or any other URL for that matter)
  • Offering discounts and coupons
  • Directing to a contact form for further information request or feedback
  • Signing up to your e-newsletter
  • Becoming a loyalty member
  • Offering instant and necessary information (e.g. menus at a restaurant)

Linear barcodes are only able to provide a scanner information in a line, which restricts the ability to share data to just one straight row of stripes (one-dimensional).

QR codes, however, create another dimension into scannable data reading which increases how much information can be offered by combining horizontal and vertical reading (two-dimensional).

While a linear barcode might be able to provide information such as the product’s number and possibly where it’s located, a QR code can offer a whole lot more as well; its production date, expiry date, condition and much more.

QR codes can hold up to 4,296 alphanumeric or 7,089 numeric characters at a time - a heck of a lot more than the maximum of 85 characters a linear barcode can.

By bringing QR codes into your marketing strategy, there are a lot of ways this can help to grow your business - here are just a few.

  • Boost your social media following: It can prove to be quite tough to grow the amount of social media followers you have. Adding a QR code that links to the social platform you want to grow to all of your marketing material simplifies the sign-up process for your audience and increases the chances of conversion.
  • Quick and easy feedback: Negative feedback is a great way to know where to review and revise the way your business operates. Positive feedback is a great morale booster and can act as a highly effective promotional tool when others can see it. Make it easier for your customers to leave feedback by building a form online and creating a QR code linking to it.
  • Increase app downloads: If you’re thinking about launching an app (or have already), chances are you’re not going to see much activity if you simply publish it and hope for the best. Boost awareness and help to increase its download rate by utilising QR codes on your promotional material. This code should take users directly to its location on the App Store/Google Play Store directly.
  • Simplify the discount/coupon process: Making the lives of your customers easier should be a huge focus for your business. Creating QR codes for them to scan offering discounts or coupons is a great way to simplify their lives and drive repeat business.
  • And because they’re digital, they can easily be shared between your customers and their friends and family, expanding your potential customer base.

For business purposes, you really can use them in all kinds of ways - provided they align with the goals you’re looking to achieve in your marketing. Don’t just use them for the sake of using them!

Here are some great examples of ways to use QR codes for business purposes:

  • Add them to product packaging linking to videos that show customers how to use the product or to share further information about it.
  • Print one linking to your Google Reviews page and have it displayed in your store to help increase the number of positive reviews you have.
  • Include one in a social media post which takes users to an exclusive discount you’re offering to your followers.
  • Use one in print advertisements that takes engaged consumers to an enquiry form.

There really are so many innovative ways you can use QR codes to better promote your business. If you need some help coming up with ideas, we’re always happy to help. Call us on 1300 479 226 for a QR code brainstorming session!

If you want to make your own QR code you’ll want to use the best, most convenient one available, right? Head to the top of this page and use our super easy-to-use QR code generator and you’ll have a uniquely generated code you can use wherever you wish.

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