Achieving Big Results: QR Code Strategies for Small Business Marketing

Whether you’re an entrepreneur launching a new startup or the owner of a local business, effective marketing is the grease that keeps the wheels of your business turning. 

But with their busy schedules and shoestring marketing budgets, most small business owners are on the lookout for low-cost, low-effort strategies that can deliver big results.

One tool that you can use to achieve your small business marketing goals is QR Codes. There are tons of ways small businesses can use QR Codes in their marketing, and QR Code Generator PRO makes it easy to get started. 

We’ve put together these proven QR Code marketing tips that you can use across all your marketing channels, from in-person events to your business website.

How to get started with small business marketing: The basics of QR Codes

QR Codes are incredible marketing tools, but you do need to define your marketing strategy before you start bringing out the tools. In other words, you need the blueprint before it’s time for the power saw.

When combined with the right marketing strategy, QR Codes can modernize and streamline standard small business marketing efforts. Here are a few ways to maximize the benefits of QR Codes in your marketing strategy:

Specify your marketing objectives

Every marketing plan needs to have concrete and measurable objectives. Boosting brand awareness, generating leads, driving conversions—your goals can be anything, but you do need to identify them before you get started. 

But it’s important to pinpoint the specific objectives you want your campaigns to accomplish, as well as the metrics you will use to measure results.

QR Codes allow you to easily track interactions with both your physical and digital marketing materials. So you can accurately measure your progress toward your marketing objectives.

Get to know your target audience

The most effective marketing campaigns are personalized for your target market. However, it’s impossible to personalize marketing for your target audience without doing market research to understand their needs, desires, and pain points.

There are many different sources of customer data that you can turn to for research. But, the data and insights provided by QR Codes (like total unique scans, which you can filter by city, country, operating system, and scans over time) can be especially useful for pinpointing the type of marketing materials that your audience responds to best.

Choose your marketing channels

From social media posts to Google ads to print media, small business owners have a litany of different marketing channels to choose from. But unless you have the time and budget to leverage all of them, you’ll have to narrow your focus to the most effective channels for your business.

Fortunately, whatever you decide on, you can use QR Codes throughout online, print, and in-person marketing campaigns.

Create high-quality marketing materials

In marketing, it’s quality over quantity. You’ll likely see better results if you focus on creating professional marketing materials that are attention-grabbing and persuasive rather than focusing on pumping out as many as you can.

Incorporating QR Codes into your print and online marketing materials can make them even more exciting, interactive, and appealing. It’s an easy way for small business owners to create high-quality materials that actually deliver results.

Monitor and adjust your plans

A marketing plan is not a static document. As your company grows and the market evolves, your marketing plan will need to be adjusted and fine-tuned.

Based on the data from your campaigns, you can refine nearly every aspect of your marketing campaigns—from the content to QR Code placement and beyond. Monitoring and optimizing your marketing strategy keeps it fresh and also lets you fine-tune it for maximum results.

Top small business marketing strategies to try with QR Codes

Now that you know why you should use QR Codes to enhance your small business marketing strategies, it’s time to look at how. If you would like to use QR Codes to take your marketing efforts to the next level, here are a few proven strategies to explore:

Online marketing

Also known as digital marketing, online marketing includes various marketing channels and tactics. Almost everyone uses the internet to learn more about businesses and products, so if you aren’t using online marketing for your small business, you’re missing out on a significant source of new customers.

In short, QR Codes take your in-person customers straight to your online content. If you would like to leverage QR Codes in your online marketing, here are some of the different channels and tactics you can use:

Social media

The average person spends 2.5 hours per day on social media sites. So, whatever your target audience is, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to reach them on social media.

But audience engagement is a key part of social media marketing, and embedded QR Codes are a great way to make your posts more engaging. You can add QR Codes to your social media posts to link promotions or exclusive content, capture leads, and more. 

Email campaigns

Email marketing may not be the newest or most exciting digital marketing tactic, but it’s still highly effective. So effective that 56% of companies plan to increase their email marketing budgets.

You can use QR Codes in your emails to offer exclusive content, discounts, or easy event registration. Plus, it gives your emails a little something extra that helps them stand out.

Business website

Creating a business website should be a part of every small business’s digital marketing plan. That said, the phrase “build it, and they will come” doesn’t usually apply to business websites. 

As of June 2023, there were over 1.1 billion websites online, making it incredibly difficult for any new website to be found by potential customers.

To get your website in front of as many eyes as possible, you’ll need to get your site near the top of the search engine results page—which is easier said than done. Content marketing, social media marketing, and search engine optimization (SEO) all work together to get your website ranking.

We could write volumes on what it takes to optimize a website for search (and plenty of people have!). But user-friendly design, easy navigation, and engaging content are a great start. This is where QR Codes come into play.

Users can scan QR Codes to save your contact information, view product details, and more—which is especially useful on mobile websites. It gives your users a better experience, which can drive engagement and boost your site’s search rankings.

Traditional marketing

While online marketing may be all the rage in our modern, tech-driven world, traditional marketing tactics still deserve a place in a small business owner’s arsenal.

This is especially true when you use QR Codes to connect your traditional marketing with your online marketing materials. Here are some ways you can add QR Codes to your traditional marketing campaigns:

Print advertisement

When you put QR Codes in your print ads, potential customers get a convenient way to access your website, product pages, and other online marketing materials.

But remember to be mindful of the design. You’ll need to make sure the QR Code is the right size (with space around it to prevent scanning interference) and that there is plenty of contrast between the QR Code and the background color.

Direct mail

Direct mail campaigns are marketing materials mailed directly to your target customers. As with print advertisements, including QR Codes in these direct mail materials gives you the opportunity to personalize the campaign and turn each interaction into a digital one.

Plus, QR Codes make it easy to track campaign performance with metrics like response rates, conversions, and buyer behavior.

Business cards or store displays

Business cards and store displays are great for in-person marketing. And putting QR Codes into these marketing materials allows you to turn in-person customer interactions into digital interactions.

For example, you might want to put a QR Code on your store display that lets customers access a digital catalog with additional style or color options. Or you can add a QR Code to your business cards that makes it easy for customers to quickly save your company’s contact information to their phones. 

Experiential marketing

Also called engagement or event marketing, experiential marketing gives your customers memorable in-person experiences. These in-person experiences can be even more impactful when you connect them to the online world via QR Codes, and here’s how to do it:

Events and workshops

Events and workshops help grow brand awareness, and QR Codes work great for simplifying registration and sharing event details.

Plus, you can use them on-site to create personalized experiences that attendees will remember. Use them to collect feedback, share digital event materials, or even create scavenger hunts and other games. 

Product demonstrations

Putting QR Codes for demo videos or user guides on your product packaging is a great way to amplify product engagement and passively support your customers post-purchase.

If you are holding a product demonstration event, QR Codes can give attendees the opportunity to learn more about the product (and ideally purchase it) once the event is over.

Influencer marketing

Influencer marketing is everywhere you look, but it’s not just for huge brands anymore. Even small business owners can form partnerships with influencers and market their products to those influencers’ audiences.

If you would like to make the most of your influencer partnerships, here are a couple of strategies for incorporating QR Codes into influencer marketing:

Product unboxing videos

Unboxing videos have become one of the most popular types of videos on YouTube and TikTok.

These videos can showcase your products and give potential customers a better look at what you have to offer. By having the influencer embed a QR Code into their unboxing video, you can make it easy for their audience to find the product online.

Review videos

Review videos are similar to unboxing videos, except that they are typically recorded after the influencer has had a chance to use the product for a while and can give an in-depth review.

QR Codes enhance the credibility of these review videos by directing viewers to other user reviews and product details. As with unboxing videos, they can also be used to boost the conversion rate by providing viewers with immediate access to the purchasing platform.

Relationship marketing

Every small business owner knows how important customer relationships and loyalty are, and marketing tactics designed to build relationships often yield a substantial return on investment. 

If you would like to use QR Codes and relationship marketing to build valuable relationships with your customer base, here are a few strategies to consider:

Loyalty programs

Loyalty and rewards programs encourage repeat business and brand awareness, and QR Codes can help your loyalty program stand out. With QR Codes, you can build a streamlined experience where customers can collect their points or rewards with just a quick scan.

Exclusive events

Exclusive in-person events can help you network and generate new customers. Whether you’re creating physical or digital invites for these events, QR Codes are a streamlined way to direct invitees to event details or RSVP platforms. It makes a good first impression, plus it’s easier for people to sign up, lowering the barrier to entry.

Referral programs

QR Codes make it incredibly easy for customers to refer others to your business. By simply sharing their QR Code, a customer can refer someone else and collect reward points for doing so.

But to know if your QR Code-based referral programs are successful, you’ll need to track metrics such as scans, unique scans, referral sign-ups, and conversion rates. An advanced QR Code generator allows you to automatically track these metrics and more.

Use a QR Code generator to boost your small business marketing efforts

QR Codes can be an incredibly powerful marketing tool for small businesses looking for more bang for their marketing bucks. But a QR Code generator that offers advanced features and tracking can help you refine your marketing and make the most of your marketing budget.

With QR Code Generator PRO, you get QR Code customization, multiple types of QR Codes, performance tracking, dashboards for QR Code management, and more. 

To unleash the potential of QR Code-based small business marketing, sign up for a free trial of QR Code Generator PRO today!

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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