QR (Quick Response) codes remain a creative way to increase traffic and connect with your audience. But are they still useful in today’s ultra-digital age? Or did you go the way of flip phones and pagers?

As it turns out, QR codes are still a valuable tool for marketers. In fact, QR usage increased 28% from 2018 to 2019.

However, QR codes are not suitable for every business. However, several companies have found innovative and unique ways to not only get you to scan their code, but also increase their brand awareness.

Here are some of the most memorable – and some tips on how to implement that strategy for your brand.

Who uses QR codes?

As early as 2011, 14 million Americans scanned a QR code. But the novelty quickly waned, and most marketers were calling for the official death of QR codes.

Why didn’t you get it? Most smartphones required a third-party app to read them. This added another step to the already cumbersome process. However, now most smartphones have native QR code readers, which makes the process a lot easier.

Currently, an average of 11 million US households scan a QR code every year. QR codes return.

How can you use the power of QR codes? Here are a few options.

1. Creative ads for apps

Here’s a noticeable way to use a QR code on an ad from Burger King at the VMAs. The QR code was included in a video ad multiple times and directed users to a link to download the Burger King app. (I highly recommend checking out the full video; it’s incredibly clever!)

2. Greeting cards and mixtapes

Here’s a creative and interesting thought – what if you combined greeting cards with playlists? It’s the new generation of the mixtape, and the QR images, as they are called, were developed by the same UK agency that ran the aforementioned unofficial ads for Instagram and Angry Birds.

If the user has the premium Spotify app on their phone, they can scan the barcode and start the playlist immediately. The music in the playlists spans almost all interests and occasions, including music for geeks, music for chefs, and everyone’s mixtape favorite – love songs.

3. QR codes breathe new life into boring places

When was the last time you were in a museum? If you answered “on a field trip to elementary school” or “only old folks go to museums”, you’ll be happy.

Poland’s Sukiennice Museum has added a whole new dimension to its paintings to turn each into a series of stories about madness, intrigue, deception, war and much more.

The Sukiennice Museum brought reenactors to tell the “secrets behind the paintings”. Visitors scan the QR code for a specific painting and receive the inside information directly from the “painter”.

4. Get festive with personalized gift messages and wrapping paper

You can’t help but admire the clever way marketers have attracted vacation shoppers with QR codes. For example, JC Penney released “Santa Tags” that allowed the gift giver to record a personalized message that was played when the recipient scanned the QR code:

5. QR codes divide your life into a single graphic

While we don’t see QR codes on tombstones just yet, they can be used to check-in at the funeral (similar to Foursquare) and notify the family present. They can also be used to provide funeral instructions to families.

Currently, most older generations don’t know exactly what they are, but once they are told how the QR codes (or reminder codes as they are called in the industry) they are amazed.

Who still believes that names and dates are obscured by QR codes that tell a story about the life of a loved one in the future?

How to get your own QR code

Example of a QR code design

An example of a stylized QR code through custom QR codes

The quickest way to get a QR code (free) is over at QR Stuff. You can also get scan analyzes for a small fee.

If you’re looking for something a little more stylish, RCode Monkey Codes designs a lot like a logo by letting you choose colors, size and design.

Possible pitfalls of QR codes

Before you dive into this new trend, you should be aware that there are some potential issues with QR codes.

They seem to be spam

Spammers are now using QR codes to flood smartphones with their junk (you knew this was coming, right?). Savvy hackers and scammers can use them to disguise malware downloads and force your phone to send premium text messages without interruption for $ 1 each. Since you can use shortened URLs with some QR code scanners, there is no telling where these URLs might point.

This is why, like your computer, knowing how your QR scanner works, what is being downloaded, and whether or not you trust the source is important.

Not everyone has a QR reader

QR codes aren’t always the best way to interact with your audience. Some people may not know how to use a QR code or may not take the extra step of pulling out their phone to read it. And believe it or not, some people still don’t have a smartphone!

Limits of communication

QR codes take users to a specific URL – and that’s it. Depending on the reason for using a QR code, it may be more beneficial to direct them to your website where you have a live chat feature or to encourage them to like your Facebook page so that you can continue the conversation can.

How to use QR codes for your business

How can you use this growing trend for your company? Note that much more than just web addresses can be scanned.

For example, you use QR codes to:

  1. Direct customers to your resume, LinkedIn profile or website.
  2. Use a QR code in a direct mail, business card, or postcard for a discount.
  3. Give your customers an insight into your new Facebook promotion.
  4. Share a digital menu for your restaurant, food truck or catering business.
  5. Direct users to download your app.
  6. Put them on a page with more detailed information that won’t easily fit in a print ad, e.g. B. a product sheet or a price list.
  7. Provide step-by-step instruction videos or a printable setup sheet.
  8. Have the QR code tweeted as it is scanned or check into Foursquare
  9. Have them register for an event such as a webinar.
  10. Use the QR code so customers can send each other a reminder via SMS.
  11. Link them to a special “exclusive” YouTube video.
  12. Deliver AR content.

Did you use a QR code yourself in a campaign? What results did you get? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below!