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 QR Codes, you’re destined for success.

What is marketing automation?

Think of how something like a car is made in a factory: There are different parts of the process that go through various stages in an automated system that results in a complete car being built. That process is continually optimized to make better cars at less cost. 

You can apply the same concept to marketing. All of the pieces of your marketing strategy, be it social media, blog posts, Google ads, and even customer service and sales processes, can be put into one automated system known as marketing automation. Just like there are machines that create car parts in a factory, marketing automation uses software tools in an area known as CRM (customer relationship management). 

Why is marketing automation worthwhile?

Marketing automation is extremely worthwhile for all marketing strategies because it focuses on streamlining the development and implementation processes. Here again, we can refer to a car being made in a factory. In order to have the best car possible and to always create the same quality, you need a highly detailed and organized system where all the pieces of the puzzle fit nicely together.

If you apply this concept to marketing, it has a similar effect. The entire marketing and sales process can be organized in a CRM tool (Salesforce or HubSpot for example) and then implemented in an automated fashion. This automation factor is the most important because it means you spend less time managing the structure of your marketing strategy and focus instead on optimizing it. And when optimization becomes the focus, that’s how you scale business growth.

Top 6 tips for using 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 make sure that you not only choose a suitable CRM platform but that you also develop a marketing strategy that can be automated based on supporting tools. And there’s one supporting tool you won’t want to miss: QR Codes. Let’s take a look at our top five tips for implementing QR codes in your strategy.

1. Lead generation

What it is: Any well-designed marketing automation strategy begins with lead generation – that’s how you build your target audience and market to them. Lead generation can be done in many ways, but often involves incentives like free ebooks, webinars, industry research reports, discounts, giveaways, and more. The goal with lead generation is for users to fill in a contact form to access said incentives, which then enables companies to send email marketing campaigns and add their contact information in the corresponding CRM platform.

QR Code on a brochure prompts readers to scan to download an eBook to learn how to create a successful business plan
A QR Code generates trackable leads on a brochure

How QR Codes help: QR Codes are useful in lead generation because you can generate leads on both print and digital mediums and even calculate ROI (return on investment) for that entire process. In the image above, a business consultant created a brochure with a Website URL QR Code to give out at a conference. Those who were interested could scan the QR Code and then be redirected to a landing page to download the ebook.

2. Landing pages

What it is: You also need to develop landing pages that promote the incentive you’re offering in order to generate leads. When you design a landing page for marketing automation, in most cases it uses an image and description of the incentive and a contact form with a CTA (call-to-action) such as “Download Now.”

QR Code on a picture editing landing page prompts visitors to scan the code to download the app and get 30 days free
A QR Code on a landing page acts as an alternative to a contact form for an app download

How QR Codes help: QR Codes work really well on landing pages that promote apps. They could act as an alternative to a contact form and also make the app easier to download. Say, for example, that you have picture editing software in the form of an app. By offering a 30-day free trial to first-time users of the app, you’ll incentivize downloads – and generate 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, their contact data is added to your CRM system, and they are asked if they wish to receive marketing emails from you.

3. Campaign segmentation

What it is: Whichever leads you generate need to be segmented based on the incentive they were interested in, i.e., eBook vs. webinar leads. That’s how you know what content would be best used to target a particular group. The ideal scenario is that all leads get personalized content based on their segment, and are eventually guided to make a purchase.

Campaign information for a Dynamic QR Code in a QR Code Generator Pro account
QR Code campaign segmentation in QR Code Generator PRO

How QR Codes help: 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. Tracking metrics for QR Code campaigns include location by city and country, unique vs. total scans, time scanned, and operating device used.

4. Social media ads

What it is: Social media ads can be used in two different ways in marketing automation: either they generate leads (like an ad that promotes an ebook), or are used for retargeting. Retargeting with social media ads is a popular marketing automation method because it 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 that visitor a discount on that item, could encourage the visitor to purchase the product.

QR Code on an Instagram ad prompting prompts viewers to scan the code to download the picture editing app and get 30 day free
A QR Code on an Instagram ad enables automatic access to links

How QR Codes help: If your goal is to use social media to direct traffic to mobile, you definitely need a QR Code, especially on Instagram. 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 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 it makes your link short and speedy, and gives users the option to access your content by clicking on the link or scanning the QR Code.

5. Email marketing campaigns

What it is: 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, that’s great! 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 who are most likely to react positively to a particular offer or message.

QR Code in a boutique email marketing campaign prompting recipients to scan or click the Code to redeem a 25% off coupon
A Coupon QR Code in an email marketing campaign

How QR Codes help: QR Codes can be directly added to email marketing campaigns. They’re particularly useful whenever you would like to direct traffic to mobile platforms, such 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 connection.

To point out another important aspect of QR Codes, they can be adapted for whichever medium they’re on. You can style them with custom frames and a CTA (call-to-action), brand colors, different edges, and a logo in the middle. You also have the option to download them in four image file formats, so you have full control over their size and how they’re added to your other graphic designs.

6. Conversion rate optimization

What it is: 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 determine which ones deliver 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 is needed to generate revenue. Overall, this process of optimization is why marketing automation heavily influences business growth.

QR Code on a gym poster ad prompting people to scan to watch a video about their trainers, classes, and location features
A Video QR Code on a billboard generates leads and tests the success of campaigns

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

Adriana Stein

Adriana Stein is a Freelance Content Writer for Egoditor GmbH and is originally from Oregon, USA. She is now based in Hamburg, Germany, and specializes in creating and managing SEO and content marketing strategies for businesses across a variety of industries. Feel free to connect with her on LinkedIn!

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