QR Codes for local marketing

Gerry White
September 20, 2023

6 min read

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QR Codes for local marketing
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In the ever-evolving landscape of marketing, staying ahead of the curve is essential for businesses seeking to connect with their local audiences effectively. One technology that has gained significant traction in recent years for local marketing is the humble QR code. These square, scannable patterns have come a long way since their inception, and they now offer a multitude of creative and effective ways to engage with your local customers.  We'll explore some of the best ways to use QR codes for local marketing and how they can become a powerful tool in your marketing arsenal.

1. Contactless menus, ordering and services

Since 2020 the demand for contactless options has surged and restaurants, cafes, and bars can leverage QR codes to provide customers with digital menus accessible via their phones. Customers simply scan a QR code, browse the menu, and place orders from their devices, reducing physical contact and streamlining the experience, when you do this, don’t just limit the options to your menu, allow them to drop a review or connect with you on instagram

2. Product information and reviews

QR codes can be an excellent tool for providing customers with detailed product information and reviews. For local shops, this can help bridge the gap between the offline and online shopping experience. Place QR codes on product labels or store displays to direct customers to product pages with comprehensive descriptions, customer reviews, and even video demonstrations. This approach can encourage your visitors  to make informed purchasing decisions and boost sales.

3. Special offers and discounts

Everyone loves a good deal, and QR codes can be an excellent way to distribute special offers and discounts to your local customer base. Create QR codes that link to exclusive coupons or promotional landing pages, and distribute them through flyers, posters, or social media. This not only incentivizes repeat business but also helps track the effectiveness of your promotions by monitoring QR code usage.

4. Loyalty programs

Implementing a QR code-based loyalty program can help you build a loyal customer base and encourage repeat visits. Each time a customer makes a purchase, they can scan a QR code to earn points or unlock rewards. This not only gamifies the shopping experience but also provides valuable data on customer preferences and habits, which you can use to tailor your marketing efforts further.

5. Event promotion

Local events, such as concerts, workshops, or community gatherings, can benefit greatly from QR code marketing. By placing QR codes on event posters or flyers, you can direct potential attendees to event details, ticketing platforms, or even interactive maps. These codes can also be used for contactless ticketing, simplifying the entry process and enhancing the overall event experience.

6. Location-based information

For brick-and-mortar businesses with multiple locations, QR codes can be a handy tool for directing customers to the nearest branch or providing them with location-specific information. When customers scan the QR code, it can auto-detect their location and redirect them to the closest store's webpage, complete with contact details and directions.

7. Customer feedback and surveys

Customer feedback is invaluable for any business looking to improve its products or services. QR codes can be strategically placed in-store, on receipts, or even within product packaging to encourage customers to provide feedback. You can link the QR code to a quick survey or review platform, giving customers an easy way to share their thoughts, and demonstrating your commitment to continuous improvement.

8. Interactive marketing campaigns

QR codes can be integrated into interactive marketing campaigns to engage local audiences in a fun and memorable way. Create QR code scavenger hunts, mystery promotions, or interactive stories that require customers to scan codes to progress. These campaigns can create a buzz around your brand, increase engagement, and even go viral on social media.

9. In-store experiences

Enhance the in-store experience by using QR codes to provide additional information or entertainment. Does your business have a unique story? QR codes can link to audio guides or in-depth history. In a clothing store, they can lead to fashion tips and styling suggestions. These enhancements not only enrich the customer experience but also differentiate your business from competitors.

10. Social media engagement

QR codes can bridge the gap between your physical and online presence by connecting customers to your social media profiles. Place QR codes on business cards, receipts, or signage, leading customers directly to your social media pages. This can help grow your online following and facilitate ongoing engagement with your local audience.

11. Tracking and analytics

One of the most significant advantages of QR code marketing is the ability to track and analyze customer interactions. Use QR code tracking tools to monitor scan rates, demographics, and the effectiveness of different campaigns. This data-driven approach allows you to refine your marketing strategies and make data-backed decisions for future campaigns.

12. Aesthetic considerations

Lastly, don't underestimate the visual appeal of your QR codes. While functionality is crucial, an attractive and branded design can make your QR codes more appealing to customers. Customize QR codes with your logo, brand colors, or creative visuals that align with your marketing message.

QR codes are versatile tools that can revolutionize your local marketing efforts. Whether you're a small business looking to engage with your community or a large corporation seeking to enhance the customer experience, QR codes offer a wide range of opportunities to connect with your local audience.

Advanced recommendations & considerations

1. Dynamic QR codes

Static QR codes, once generated, cannot be changed. Dynamic QR codes, on the other hand, allow you to update the content they link to. This flexibility is crucial for ongoing marketing campaigns. With dynamic QR codes, you can change where the code leads, update promotional offers, or modify event details without needing to create a new code each time.

2. Branding and customisation

Make your QR codes visually appealing and on-brand to increase scan rates. Customize the code's design with your logo, colors, and a unique frame to make it instantly recognizable as part of your marketing materials. A visually appealing QR code is more likely to capture the attention of your audience

3. Mobile-optimised landingpages

Ensure that the landing pages linked to your QR codes are mobile-responsive. Almost all your users will be scanning QR codes with their smartphones, so it's essential that the content they access is easy to navigate and read on mobile devices. Test your landing pages on various mobile devices to guarantee a seamless user experience.

4. A/B testing

Use A/B testing to compare the effectiveness of different QR code campaigns. Create multiple QR codes with slightly different messaging, designs, or offers. Track and analyze the performance of each code to determine which one resonates most with your audience. This data-driven approach will help you optimize your future campaigns for better results.

5. UTM parameters (Google tracking parameters)

Integrate UTM parameters into the URLs linked to your QR codes. UTM parameters allow you to track the specific source of traffic in your analytics platform (e.g., Google Analytics). This detailed data can help you understand where your QR code scans are coming from and which marketing channels are the most effective.

6. Shortened URLs

Long, complex URLs can be unattractive and difficult to scan with QR codes. Use URL shortening services like Bitly or TinyURL to create concise, user-friendly links. Shortened URLs are not only more visually appealing but also less error-prone when scanning.

7. QR code placement

Consider the physical placement of your QR codes carefully. They should be visible, easily accessible, and contextually relevant. Avoid placing them where mobile network connectivity is poor, as this can lead to a frustrating user experience. Ensure they are large enough and positioned in a way that encourages scanning.

8. Security considerations

Be mindful of security concerns when using QR codes. Malicious QR codes can lead users to harmful websites or trigger unwanted actions on their devices. Always double-check the URLs and content associated with your QR codes to ensure they are safe and legitimate.

9. Performance analytics

Implement robust tracking and analytics tools to monitor QR code performance in real-time. These tools can provide insights into scan rates, user demographics, and even the time and location of scans. Use this data to refine your marketing strategies and improve the ROI of your QR code campaigns.

10. Educate your audience

Many people are still not entirely familiar with QR codes or may be hesitant to scan them due to privacy concerns. Provide clear instructions on how to scan QR codes, explain the benefits (e.g., exclusive offers or quick access to information), and ensure your audience knows that your QR codes are safe and trustworthy.

11. Lifecycle Management

Keep track of your QR codes and their associated campaigns, make sure old ones that are still around on printed material don’t go to outdated or removed pages!

If you want to know more about QR code and usage, Bitly have just done a great report here - https://bitly.com/blog/bitly-qr-code-trends-2023/