These days, it feels like no matter where you go, everyone is using a smartphone.
It’s not just young “tech-savvy” people either. Today, more than half of all Americans are smartphone users and for the first time in history, more people in the US are using smartphones rather than their “land line” or other mobile devices.
The good news: you can reach your customers via smartphone whenever they’re on the go.
The better news: you can also reach them via smartphone when they’re standing right there in front of you at your place of business—using QR codes.
What are QR codes?
This is a QR code.
These funny-looking square designs have been popping up everywhere recently and there’s a good chance you’ve seen them around in magazines, on direct mail pieces, in stores, or even in the subway on your way to work.
They are computer generated images that are used as a shortcut to connect customers directly with websites or online resources without having to type a URL into an internet browser. When you see one, you can scan it with your smartphone and it will connect your mobile browser directly with the intended online location.
Why the heck would I want to use QR codes?
Think about all the stuff you’re already doing online—whether it’s an email newsletter, social media, local deals, or event registration—aren’t you always looking for a more affordable and convenient way to drive results for those activities? QR codes can help you do just that!
Plus, QR codes are free! All you need is an online QR code generator like Kaywa QR Code Generator, and a website URL.
But more importantly, QR codes are effective! They give you the opportunity to get people to act now and connect instantly, before they walk out the door.
Still not sold? Here are 11 reasons you SHOULD be using QR codes at your place of business.
1. QR codes boost traffic to your website—if you’re using them the right way
When it comes to using QR codes at your place of business, there is definitely a right way and a wrong way to do things.
The right way, is to place them in a convenient location where people can take the time to scan them, visit the site they are directed to, and take the intended action. The wrong way, is to plaster them on any and all marketing materials, flyers, or promotional content without any clear goal of why you’re doing it.
While placement is important—the goal is really the deciding factor on whether or not you’re going to get results from using QR codes. When it comes to your website—the goal shouldn’t just be: drive more traffic, it should be: drive more traffic AND provide something valuable to my customers.
A lot of restaurants for example, put QR codes on their menus (that’s great placement!). But if all they’re doing is asking patrons to “Visit Our Website!” then they’re missing an opportunity to provide something valuable (like recipes, information about the source of their ingredients, or reviews of their most popular dishes).
2. QR codes can help you register people for your next event—if you give them a reason to
How many times has this happened to you? You see a flyer for an event, you think “Hey, that sounds like it will be fun,” and then you don’t think about it again until you see pictures online and realize you missed it.
Placing QR codes on your event flyers is a great way to make sure that doesn’t happen to your customers. Use a QR code to let people register for your event online or, if you’re not using online registration, use it to connect people with more information about the event.
Remember: a QR code alone isn’t going to get people to want to register. Make sure to provide enough content about the event (text and visual) on your flyers and give people an incentive to sign up.
3. QR codes get people to actually want to take your surveys and share their feedback
Fact: asking people to go online and take a survey after they leave your store is not an easy sell. Your customers are busy and while they may love your business and want to share their feedback, it’s unlikely they’re going to take the time to go online to take the survey after they’ve walked out the door.
With a QR code, you can give them a chance to participate in your survey while they’re waiting in line, seated at a table, or finishing up at the register. It’s much more convenient and it will generate better results for you.
Use a flyer to explain why you’re running the survey and how their feedback will be used. And remember, the biggest incentive for people to take your surveys is seeing their suggestions put into action.
4. QR codes help you turn new customers into email subscribers (and help you build your list!)
Whether you end up using QR codes or not—you should be providing a way for everyone who visits your store, restaurant, or office to sign up for your email newsletter.
For new customers, this is an opportunity for them to stay connected and learn more about your business. For you, it’s a way to continue your relationship after they walk out the door and improves the likelihood they will come back in the future.
If you’re a Constant Contact customer, our Scan-to-Join feature allows you to create a QR code that takes your customers, clients, members, and supporters to a mobile friendly Join My Mailing List page, where they can add themselves to your lists. (For some great tips on using Scan-to-Join, download this quick handout.)
5. QR codes get people to “like” and “follow” your business when you ask them to
Asking people to “like” you on Facebook or “follow” you on Twitter is a great idea, but are you making it easy for them to actually do it? I mean sure, some people will take the time to search for your business, but most will want a better way to do it.
Make it easier for them—provide a QR code that links directly to your Facebook and Twitter Pages.
6. QR codes will let your customers “pin” your products and promote them on your behalf
Pinterest is a great way for small businesses to use pictures to showcase their products online. If you’re a retail store with a new seasonal collection or a bakery that turns desserts into works of art, you can take pictures and pin them to your boards for the world to see.
With a QR code, you can link customers to your Page, specific boards, or directly to pictures of products you’ve already pinned to your boards. This means you’ll not only be able to build your following, but will also give customers the opportunity to link directly to products they’ve found, love, and want to share with their friends.
Because Pinterest will be new to a lot of your customers, make sure to explain what your QR code is linking to and what they can do when they get there. You could be the business that introduces your customers to a whole new world of social media.
7. QR codes can help you promote your local deal to the people who’ll love it the most
What better place to promote a local deal then right there in your place of business? Using a QR code to connect people with your deal will improve your chances of turning them into repeat customers and get them talking about your business.
Finding a new business they love AND getting a great deal in the process—now that’s something people will tell their friends about.
8. QR codes will get your blog in front of a whole new audience
If your business has a blog already, you’ve probably seen that it’s not always easy to grow your readership. There are plenty of ways to promote your blog online, but how do you promote it to the people who are visiting your place of business each and every day?
You guessed it—QR codes. The best way to do this is to think of how you can get your customers to read your blog later, not right there at your store (most people probably won’t have the time to do so). Consider turning one of your most popular posts into a handout, place a stack of them where customers will find them, and include a QR code on the page to link to more content.
You can also add a QR code to the back of your business cards.
9. QR codes can help you generate more donations and volunteers for the causes you support
Whether you’re a nonprofit or just a small business that supports a local cause—QR codes can be a great tool for driving donations and participation from your customers. Create a flyer that captures the cause or organization you support, include fundraising goals and a description for how funds will be used, and include dates and deadlines to create a sense of urgency.
You can even offer a discount that day, for anyone who makes a donation online.
10. QR codes will improve the chance of your videos going viral
Your videos may never get as many views as a dancing baby or a skateboarding puppy, but there are plenty of ways you can promote your video to improve the likelihood of it going viral (or at least being watched).
Aside from sharing the clip on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, why not set up a QR code in your store that leads visitors to the videos you’re using to market your business? Like QR codes, videos can be free and easy to create, and provide a memorable first impression for people who are just discovering your store.
11. QR codes will help you get more online reviews from people who actually know your business
You’ve probably noticed that a lot of the benefits of QR codes are geared toward connecting with new customers.
But the fact is your loyal customers are loyal for a reason. They know you, they’ve done business with you in the past, and they’re probably already receiving your newsletter, reading your blog, and following you on social media. So if you’re looking to boost your ratings online and get feedback from the people who know you best, they’re the people to target.
A QR code allows you to link directly to your business page on review sites like Yelp so you can ask customers to log on and share their thoughts.
Put your business ahead of the curve
With smartphones making up 70% of the total phones sold in the US during the second quarter of 2012, it’s clear that we’ve only just scratched the surface of what this new mobile world has to offer.
Why not be ahead of the curve and be the first business in your community to take advantage of all technology has to offer?
However you decide to use QR codes, make sure you have a clear goal in mind, a location that makes sense, and a call to action that will get your customers to take out their smartphones, scan your code, and take action!
Are you already using QR codes? Tell us what has worked for you or what creative ways you’ve seen other businesses use QR codes!