QR Codes: 37 Creative Ideas for Small Businesses

Have you noticed these little black and white or colored boxes popping up on restaurant menus, magazines or trade shows, and TV commercials?

A variety of creative QR codes used by businesses

They are called Quick Response (QR) codes and are becoming increasingly popular, especially among businesses. You’re right to feel FOMO anxiety if you’re a small business owner without any idea what QR codes are or how to use them.

If you want to survive as a small business owner, you have to stay on top of digital tech. But it’s more than that. You have to remember that some technologies launch before their time, fall flat, and then come roaring back.

That’s exactly what happened with QR Codes.

QR codes are those little squares made up of a bunch of tiny black and white pixels. When you scan them with your smartphone, they can take you to a website, reveal a message or coupon, or even add someone’s contact details in your phone.

QR code image broken up into pixels

QR codes first came out in 1994. They hit the mainstream in 2010 and didn’t really get adopted as much as they could have. But then, when the pandemic hit, and businesses were looking for ways to give customers quick “touchless” access to menus and other marketing materials – BOOM! QR Codes came back with a vengeance.

The potential applications for QR codes are vast, and we’re only beginning to discover all the different ways businesses are using them.

What Are QR Codes, and What Do They Do?

QR code stands for quick response code, a black and white symbol that stores data. You can scan it with a smartphone to take the user to a website, phone number, or text. QR codes are a viable way for small businesses to get new customers and help existing customers buy more products and services.

You can find QR codes in many places, such as direct mail, signage, billboards, and TV shows. Here are some examples of QR codes:

How You Can Use QR Codes to Get New Customers for Your Business

  • Put a QR code on your business card that takes the user to your website or phone number.
  • Put a QR code on your product labels to redirect the user to a page with product information or a video demonstration.
  • Put a QR code in your print advertisements that take the user to a page with more information about your product or service.
  • Create a QR code that takes the user to a special offer or coupon page.
customer using QR code with a small business
  • Make a QR code that takes the user to your contact information page.
  • Link your QR code to a contest or giveaway page.
  • Put QR codes on your product packaging that takes the user to a product information page or video demonstration.
small business owner scanning a QR code on a cardboard box
  • Put QR codes in your retail store that take the user to a special offer or coupon page.
  • Put QR codes on your website that take the user to a landing page with more information about your product or service.
  • Add a QR code to your email signature that takes the user to your website or contact information page.

What’s the Difference between QR Codes and Barcodes?

Barcodes are similar to QR codes but only contain numbers and letters. It’s because QR codes are readable from any direction, whereas a QR code scanner must read barcodes in a specific direction. QR codes are more than just a way to store data, as they also act as an interactive medium.

Examples of QR codes compared to bar codes.

Barcodes are usually smaller than QR codes, and a scanner can read barcodes in a single line. Data is limited to what can fit into that one stripe. On the other hand, QR codes add another dimension from which you can scan information.

QR codes are much easier to read. All you need is your mobile phone camera, focus on the code, and you’ll be routed to the proper website or video.

Not only that, you can create all kinds of creative QR codes using a QR code generator for free. So, it’s no surprise that QR codes are more popular than barcodes.

Test tubes using a bar code

Can I Use QR Codes for My Business?

Yes, you can use QR codes for your business. There are many ways to use them, and they can be a great marketing tool. You can use QR codes to:

  • Promote your products or services
  • Share contact information
  • Provide directions
  • Offer coupons
  • Create a digital business card that people can scan

There are many other ways to use QR codes for a measurable marketing campaign, so be creative. 

Are QR Codes Free?

QR codes are free to use, and you can generate QR codes using some online tools like a QR generator and a QR code scanner to show you a QR code preview to enable error correction. 

You can also create unique, dynamic QR codes if you have the time and skills. Either way, there’s no cost associated with using QR codes for your business.

Dynamic QR Code vs. Static QR Codes

QR codes come in two varieties: dynamic and static. Here’s a quick rundown of the differences between the two:

Dynamic QR Codes

You can also track how many people scan your dynamic QR code and when they do so. However, the best dynamic code generators are not for free, so you spend a little on high-quality QR codes.

Static QR Codes

A static QR Code is a type of QR code that cannot be edited or updated after it has been created. Once you generate the QR code, it’s set in stone. You’ll need to generate a new QR code altogether if you need to change the destination URL or design.

So, Which Type of QR Code Should I Use?

It’s recommendable to use dynamic QR codes if you’re looking to use QR codes for your business. They’re more flexible and offer more features than static QR codes. Plus, they’re just as easy to create!

When Should I Use Multiple QR Codes?

It helps to use multiple QR codes if you need to send someone multiple URLs. This way, the person can scan the QR codes and get all the URLs at once. It’s also an effective way to keep your URLs organized.

You can also use multiple QR codes to track how many people are scanning your QR codes. For example, you can create a QR code for each product and track how many QR code scans each attracts. This way, you can see which products are most popular!

What Are the Best Ways to Create QR Codes?

There are a few different ways that you can create QR codes. You can use a QR code generator or create them yourself using a QR code maker.

QR code generators are websites or apps that allow you to create QR codes quickly and easily. All you need to do is enter the information necessary for the QR code, and the generator will create the code for you.

QR code makers are applications that allow you to create QR codes from scratch. It’s a bit more difficult than using a generator, but it gives you more flexibility when designing your QR code.

You can also create QR codes using graphics software, such as Adobe Photoshop or Inkscape. It can be a bit more challenging, but it allows you to create QR codes that are more visually appealing.

No matter which method you choose, ensure the QR code is readable and accurate. The QR code may not scan properly or lead to the wrong destination if the code is not accurate.

Also, be sure to test the QR code before you publish it. You can use a QR code scanning app to test the code.

So, which is the best QR code technology? It depends on your needs and preferences.

  • A QR code generator is the best option if you want convenience and flexibility.
  • A QR code maker is a better choice if you want more control over the design of your QR code.
  • You can create accurate and visually appealing QR codes if you’re comfortable with graphics software.

Here are some resources for QR Code Generators

  • Visme has pulled together a terrific list of 14 QR code generators that you can explore
  • QR Code Generator is my go-to-tool for creating free QR codes. It’s a great place to start.

How Can Businesses Track the Success of Their QR Code Campaigns?

You can track the success of your QR code campaigns by using a QR code tracking tool. A QR code tracking tool will help you to identify:

  • The number of QR code scans your business receives
  • The location of the scans
  • The type of mobile devices that read the QR codes

By mapping this information, you can determine whether your QR code campaign is successful or if changes are necessary. Additionally, using a QR code tracking tool can help better understand your customers.

According to the American Consumer Survey, 43% of Americans have scanned a QR code. This number is expected to grow as more businesses adopt QR codes to engage their customers.

You may be missing out on valuable data that could help your business grow if you aren’t tracking your QR code campaign.

There are several free and paid QR code tracking tools available. Choose the tool that best meets your needs and get started today!

How Can QR Codes Help Existing Customers Buy More Products and Services?

QR codes can help existing customers buy more products and services in many ways.

First, you can use QR codes to provide customers with instant access to product and service information.

It’s particularly helpful for customers considering purchasing but doesn’t have all the necessary information. By scanning a QR code, they can get detailed information about the product or service, including:

Second, you can use QR codes to provide special offers and discounts to customers.

For example, you could use a QR code to offer a discount on a customer’s next purchase when scanned at checkout. It encourages customers to buy more products and services from you in the future.

Third, you can use QR codes to provide loyalty rewards to customers.

For example, you could offer a QR code that gives customers points for every purchase. The customers could then redeem the points for discounts or free products and services in the future.

Fourth, QR codes can improve customer service.

For example, you could use QR codes to provide customers with troubleshooting tips for products or direct them to a support forum. Thus, customers get the help they need quickly and easily.

How Can Businesses Ensure Their QR Code Campaigns Are Successful?

There are numerous ways businesses can ensure their QR code campaigns are successful.

First, appealingly design the QR code.

The QR code should be easily scannable, and it should stand out from the rest of the marketing materials. Be creative when designing a QR code image, and use high-resolution QR codes even when tempted to use free QR code generators.

Creating QR codes is straightforward, but it demands passionate and knowledgeable attention.

Second, ensure the QR code leads to a sales landing page.

The landing page should encourage customers to take action, such as making a purchase or subscribing to a service. Get a copywriter to help you with the messaging and the Calls to Action.

Ensure the landing page is mobile-friendly, as many people will be scanning QR codes with their smartphones.

Third, promote the QR code campaign effectively.

Ensure people know where to find the QR code, what it does, and how to use it. Use various marketing channels to get the word out, such as print ads, social media, email marketing, and in-store signage.

Fourth, track the QR code campaign’s results.

Use analytics to determine how many people are scanning the QR code and what actions they’re taking after scanning it. Use this information to improve future QR code campaigns.

Overall, QR codes can be a valuable tool for helping existing customers buy more products and services from you. Try using them.

Why Use QR Codes?

Barcode, Plane, Truck, Cargo, Train, Ship, Pixabay

QR codes are a hands-off way to give depth and engagement to your marketing campaign. You can use them to guide your customers on a journey. 

The following are several reasons why you should use QR codes:

It is easy to create QR codes.

You don’t need any special software to create one. You only need a QR code generator and some time for custom QR codes and QR code content.

It is impressively cost-effective.

The average price of creating a QR code is around $0.50. You can find free QR code generators, but they will have branding. Who wants external branding on their QR code content and company logo?

QR codes can be placed on almost anything.

You can place them anywhere, including your website, social media pages, email marketing campaigns, etc. You can also use them in physical locations like in stores, at trade shows, or on products.

QR codes are easy to share.

Users can share them via text message, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Thus, it’s to go trending with your QR code campaigns.

Mobile phones and tablets can run QR scanning apps.

QR code technology bridges the gap between the physical and digital worlds. Seamless adaptability across any mobile device operating system and browser is also helpful for users.

You can embed QR codes into websites and apps.

Websites and apps have consistent traffic and can be pinned on the home screen of mobile devices for easy access. You can even post your QR codes on popular websites and apps, but you’ll need to pay the publishers.

You can link QR codes to other things like videos, images, and audio files.

Visuals will always get the most attention, so ensure your QR code campaign is engaging and interactive.

A quality camera app can scan a QR code 10 meters away.

Visibility should be a big deal for you when placing physical QR codes. Haphazardly placing them will only result in lower scan rates. Get customers QR code scanning from ten meters away if you have a QR code generator pro that even allows for QR code previews.

woman using a mobile device to scan a bar code at a theater

You can create QR codes with Microsoft Word.

You can try using Microsoft Word instead of a free QR code generator. You’re likely to have better scan statistics if you use unique QR codes that you customize on Microsoft Word.

You can make QR codes into stickers.

Try using stickers if you want to place your QR code in prominent or highly trafficked areas. QR code stickers are cheap and easy to produce, and they can be placed almost anywhere. Remember, custom QR codes are likely to perform better than generated QR codes, so consider quality for print QR codes.

You can send QR codes through emails.

Emails are an effective way to share QR codes because they can be easily forwarded and shared. You can also add them to your email signature as a call-to-action.

You can add QR codes to business cards.

QR codes are a trendy way to make your business cards interactive and informative. You can add links to your website, social media profiles, or email address.

You can also embed QR codes in brochures, flyers, posters, and postcards.

You can display QR codes on billboards.

Go big with your QR codes marketing, but create an attractive QR code image to go with some relevant copy. Billboards are super effective, and they also boost your brand image.

Other Creative Ways to Use QR Codes for Your Business 

Now that you know how to create your own QR code and how a QR codes work, you’re ready for even more creative ways to use them in your business.

  1. You can attach QR codes to products.
  2. You can insert QR codes into books.
  3. You can put QR codes on signs.
  4. You can incorporate QR codes into magazines.
  5. You can post QR codes on walls.
  6. You can inscribe QR codes on sidewalks.
  7. You can sell QR codes at events.
  8. You can install QR codes on vending machines.
  9. You can stick QR code stickers and posters on the sides of buildings.
  10. QR codes can be advertised on buses.
  11. You can give out QR codes at conferences.
  12. You can design QR codes into logos.
  13. QR codes can be featured in advertisements.
  14. You can distribute QR codes at trade shows.
  15. You can project QR codes into stadiums.
  16. QR codes can be mailed out as part of direct mail campaigns.
  17. QR codes can be delivered through snail mail.
  18. You can publish QR codes on social networks.
  19. You can offer QR codes as rewards for completing surveys.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, QR codes are a great way to attract new customers and increase sales for your business. QR codes can be used in many different ways, whether that’s on brochures, billboards or event swag. There is no limit to the number of creative uses you have with QR codes–be sure to explore all of them! If you’re looking for more.

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