How to Use QR Codes in Marketing Automation

The buzz around marketing automation has recently skyrocketed. Why? Because it solves a lot of problems surrounding marketing and sales. It saves time and money, optimizes your strategy, and boosts business growth. And when you combine that with Quick Response Codes (QR Codes), you can create more dynamic, interactive, and personalized marketing strategies.

This article explores the importance of QR Codes for your business marketing automation, and offers up some industry-specific use cases to inspire you.

What is marketing automation?

Think of a car-making process in a factory: Different parts go through various stages in an automated system, resulting in a complete vehicle. Auto manufacturers continually optimize that process to make better cars at lower costs.

A similar concept applies to marketing. You can put all your marketing materials—be it social media, blog posts, Google Ads, or customer service and sales processes—into one automated system, also known as marketing automation.

With this system, you don’t have to execute every communication when managing your marketing campaigns and processes across various channels. Instead, you only need to use automation tools to send clients automated messages through social media, SMS, or email marketing. 

Marketing automation focuses on streamlining every marketing technique’s development and implementation processes. You can organize the entire marketing and sales process in a CRM tool and then implement it in an automated fashion. 

With this automation factor, you can save time managing the structure of your marketing efforts and focus on optimizing it. When optimization becomes the focus, that’s how you scale business growth.

How QR Codes play a role in marketing automation

While marketing automation can significantly boost your sales productivity—it drives a 14.2% increase—integrating QR Codes can be a game changer. A QR Code allows you to streamline information sharing and provide engaging content with your target audience. Thus, you can boost the potential of your marketing automation techniques, leading to increased revenue.

The use of QR Codes in your marketing automation campaigns also helps to:

  • Increase engagement with your target audience: QR Codes offer customers an interactive and convenient opportunity to connect with your business. They can access vital information like promotions or product information, enhancing engagement and time spent connecting with your brand.

  • Save marketing costs: Using QR Codes on printed materials like flyers, product packaging, or posters is cost-effective compared to other channels.

  • Access real-time performance and analytics: You can track who is scanning your QR Code, from where, and with what operating system. This gives you important insights and data about your customers’ behavior and the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.

Top 6 ways to use QR Codes in your marketing automation strategy

A marketing strategy can only be as good as the sum of its parts. So, you need to choose a suitable CRM platform and develop a marketing strategy that you can automate based on supporting tools. And there’s one supporting tool you won’t want to miss: QR Codes.

Here are innovative ways you can implement QR codes in your strategy:

1. Lead generation

Any well-designed marketing automation strategy begins with lead generation—that’s how you build your target audience and market to them. There are many ways to generate leads, but it often involves incentives like free e-books, webinars, industry research reports, discounts, giveaways, and more.

Lead generation lets users fill out a contact form to access said incentives, enabling you to send email marketing campaigns and add their contact information to the corresponding CRM platform.

A brochure with a QR Code in the corner that encourages people to interact with more resources, such as a downloadable ebook
A QR Code generates trackable leads on a brochure

Modern business owners use QR Codes for lead generation because they can generate leads on print and digital mediums and calculate the return on investment (ROI) for that entire process.

In the image above, a business consultant created a brochure with a Website URL QR Code to give at a conference. Interested people could scan the QR Code and then be redirected to a landing page to download the eBook.

2. Landing pages

You also need to develop landing pages that promote the incentive you’re offering to generate leads. Designing a landing page for marketing automation uses an image and description of the incentive and a contact form with a CTA (call to action) such as “Download Now.”

An example of a QR Code on a landing page used to promote app downloads
A QR Code on a landing page acts as an alternative to a contact form for an app download.

QR Codes work well on landing pages that promote apps. They could act as an alternative to a contact form, making the app easier to download. Say, for example, that you have picture editing software in the form of an app. Offering a 30-day free trial to first-time app users will motivate downloads—generating leads. 

To do this, you can use an App Store QR Code on a landing page so users can automatically download the app for their particular device. Once the user downloads and registers with the app, they can add their contact data to your CRM system. They can then choose to receive marketing emails from you.

3. Campaign segmentation

Whichever leads you generate need to be segmented based on the incentive they were interested in, i.e., e-book vs. webinar leads. That’s how you know the best content to target a particular group. The ideal scenario is that all leads get personalized content based on their segment and your content eventually guides them to make a purchase.

A screenshot of QR Code campaign segmentation with QR Code Generator PRO
QR Code campaign segmentation in QR Code Generator PRO

Whether you use QR Codes to generate leads from print ads, digital marketing, or a combination of both, you can segment leads from individual QR Code campaigns. You can select various mediums and then add the start and end date to differentiate their tracking metrics. QR Code tracking metrics include location by city and country, unique vs. total scans, time scanned, and operating system of the device used.

4. Social media ads

You can use social media ads in two different ways in marketing automation: Either they generate leads (like an ad that promotes an e-book) or are used for retargeting. Retargeting with social media ads focuses on converting customers who previously engaged with your content. For example, a website visitor views a particular e-commerce product landing page multiple times but does not make a purchase.

Triggering a retargeting ad on Facebook and offering a discount on that item could encourage them to purchase the product.

A QR Code in an Instagram ad to direct traffic to mobile without needing a link
A QR Code on an Instagram ad enables automatic access to links

If your goal is to use social platforms to direct traffic to mobile, you need a Social Media QR Code, or an Instagram QR Code if you’re focusing your efforts on the platform. Instagram does not allow direct links in either posts or ads, so you either need to write out the full link or tell users to find it in the bio, which often results in a mismatch. Referring back to the picture editing app, you can use the same 30-day free trial incentive to generate leads, and they can download the mobile app without even needing to view your landing page.

On an important note, if your social media ad is not on Instagram, you can still connect users with the same QR Code content through a short URL. Short URLs are useful for any QR Codes used in digital marketing because they make your link short and quick and allow users to access your content by clicking on the link or scanning the QR Code.

5. Email marketing campaigns

Email marketing is a core element of marketing automation because it’s how leads enter your sales funnel. When customers or users sign up for emails, it means they’re interested in learning more about your brand or business. The key to a successful email marketing campaign is segmentation. When done properly, you can focus specific content on the leads that are most likely to react positively to a particular offer or message.           

A Coupon QR Code in an email marketing campaign for a boutique
A Coupon QR Code in an email marketing campaign

You can add QR Codes directly to email marketing campaigns. They’re particularly useful whenever you want to direct traffic to mobile platforms, as in the image above. An e-commerce retailer wanted to focus their email campaigns on their mobile app, so they used a Coupon QR Code to promote a discount for a new seasonal collection.

You can adapt QR Codes for whichever medium they’re on. You can style them with custom frames, a CTA (call to action), brand colors, different edges, and a logo in the middle. You also have the option to download them in any of four image file formats, so you have complete control over their size and how to add them to your other graphic designs.

6. Conversion rate optimization

Once you have set up your marketing automation strategy, you have to monitor your progress and try to improve it. This often involves A/B testing, which compares similar campaign elements to identify those with the best results. The main focus of marketing automation isn’t just to save time but also to consistently improve your conversion rates, i.e., how much input you need to generate revenue. Overall, this optimization process is why marketing automation heavily influences business growth.  

A large billboard with a QR Code linked to video content for a gym
A Video QR Code on a billboard generates leads and tests the success of campaigns

Combining QR Code tracking data with a well-segmented campaign is a recipe for success. When used effectively, it can help you optimize your conversion rates. For example, you can A/B test different aspects of QR Code marketing campaigns, such as the mediums used, time periods, their locations, or even CTAs. In the case above, a fitness studio placed a Video QR Code on a billboard ad and tested multiple ads to see which locations got the best results.

QR Code Generator PRO offers an API for Static codes, making setting up and integrating with other CRMs and automation platforms easier.

Industry-specific applications for QR Code marketing automation

The use of QR Codes for marketing has increased significantly over the past few years. In fact, 54% of consumers claim they’ve scanned a marketing-related code, while 75% of Americans say they’ll use a QR Code in the future. The following are examples of QR Code marketing automation applications in various industries.

Retail: In-store experiences and online shopping

QR Codes for retailers help to bridge the gap between in-store experiences and online shopping. For instance, you can include QR Codes on shelf tags to link to product details, customer reviews, or exclusive online offers. You can also create QR Codes for loyalty programs to allow customers to sign up or check their points balance easily.

With a 2D Barcode, you can add a site URL to the QR Code to direct your customers to web content when scanned. Further, you can personalize your QR Code to convey information like recommendations or discounts based on a customer’s purchase or browsing history. 2D Barcodes are an efficient, convenient solution for businesses and consumers alike—which is why they’re poised to replace traditional 1D Barcodes by 2027!

Events: Event check-ins and personalized agendas

Event organizers can also enhance attendee experiences using QR Code marketing automation. For example, you can use a QR Code for event management for ticketing and check-ins, allowing a quick and contactless entry. In addition, attendees can access personalized agendas, maps, or schedules directly on their mobile devices with a single scan.

Finally, attendees can scan QR Codes linking to your social media profiles or digital business cards, increasing networking opportunities.

Healthcare: Patient engagement and sharing information

QR Codes for healthcare settings help improve patient engagement and information sharing. For instance, doctors can use QR Codes to accurately identify their patients’ names and details of their illnesses. They can also use these nifty innovations to provide easy access to health resources, appointment schedules, client forms, instructional videos, medication information, or support groups. However, it’s important to consider a patient’s privacy and security when implementing QR Codes in healthcare settings.

Education: Facilitating learning and resource sharing

QR Codes for educational institutions can facilitate easy access to learning materials and resources. Educational publishers could also use them in textbooks to direct learners to supplementary videos, interactive quizzes, or additional reading materials.

Learning institutions can also use QR Codes in the library for better management. Students can scan the code to check out, confirm campus tours, or access course schedules.

Create better QR Code marketing strategies with QR Code Generator PRO

As the need for marketing automation continues to grow, integration of QR Codes is needed more than ever before. Whether in healthcare or retail, QR Code marketing automation helps to create personalized and interactive marketing strategies while saving time and money.

With QR Code Generator PRO, you can create a wide range of QR Codes to support your marketing automation efforts and track their performance to inform future strategies. Whether you need a Coupon QR Code to boost your sales, a Social Media QR Code to increase engagement on social platforms, or a Website URL QR Code to help generate leads, you have the right tool. 

Sign up for QR Code Generator PRO today to simplify manual marketing tasks and save time with automation.

Trupti Desai

Trupti Desai is Bitly’s Senior Director of Growth Marketing. She has over 10 years of experience working in B2B and B2C marketing roles spanning the UK and the US. A key part of the marketing strategy at Bitly, Trupti elevates global teams with her expertise and insights and was notably a speaker at the Digital Marketing World Forum. You can connect with Trupti on LinkedIn.

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