Marketing With QR Codes – Learn How They Work

Posted by Cory Howell - August 5, 2011 - Social Media, Tools - 2 Comments
Marketing with QR Codes

You may have seen them around town: odd black-and-white squares on signs, brochures, and product packaging.  QR codes (Quick Response codes) function similarly to UPC codes, which most of us are familiar with.  Two major differences between a QR code and UPC code are the type and amount of information contained in the code.  UPC codes consist of a limiting twelve numbers; QR codes can hold more than four thousand characters, including numbers, letters, and symbols.

Where They Originated

QR codes were invented in Japan in 1994 by a subsidiary of Toyota.  Although fairly new in the United States, QR codes have been used extensively in Japan for years.

How QR Codes Work

Here’s how a QR code works:  a potential customer spies the distinctive square and uses a mobile phone application to scan the QR code.  The code is interpreted and the phone screen displays information, such as a web address, link, or even a phone number.

Marketing Idea: Pizza Delivery

For example, let’s say that you own a pizza delivery company.  As part of your marketing strategy, you paste your contact information and a menu on every pizza box to encourage future sales.  Use a QR code generator to create a code that leads directly to your website, where customers can view current coupons and specials.  Add this code (which is simply an image) to your menus.  As the coupons and specials expire, no need to generate another code; simply update your online specials and the same code will take customers to your website.

Marketing Idea: Real Estate Agents

QR Codes are powerful; they connect the physical world to the virtual world.  A tech-savvy real estate agent may add a QR code to the property information sheets provided for potential buyers.  The QR code could link directly to a real estate website featuring a virtual gallery of the inside of the property.  A QR code could also be printed on a “For Sale” sign, leading clients to a website that displays all of the properties listed by an agent.

Not every potential customer will have a phone that can scan QR codes; however, these codes are becoming more and more popular.  As the public is educated about QR codes, you will find them popping up all over the place.  Why not generate a free code for your business to see if you can bring in additional sales?  In this economy, you need every competitive advantage you can get.

Try QR Codes for Free

Try a free QR code generator

About the Author

Cory Howell

10+ yr web development & search marketing strategist at MorePro Marketing in Phoenix, AZ. Through inbound marketing strategies, link building and other organic SEO strategies, I've been able to help hundreds of businesses succeed online. Follow on Twitter.
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4g lte iphones

nice blog....i definitely say that in next generation is grow with these qr codes...majority of people use these right fro any purpose qr is required... 4g lte iphones

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4G LTE Phones

I have seen those QR codes, but never really stopped to ask what the point of them were or why they are created. It's true that the majority of people do not have phones that can scan QR codes, but in the next few years I can definitely see more and more businesses trying to get an edge with these codes.

Noel Addison
Noel Addison

The potential for QR Codes is limitless. What’s most exciting is how they take what social media is doing well now, bringing people together with technology, and extending it to enhance the experience. The next generation of barcodes will hold even more information – so much that an Internet connection will not even be necessary. The content will be effectively embedded in the code. My recent post Mobile Website – Do You Need One?


Hi Cory, We have found a recent increase in the number of customers in our online printing store implementing QR Codes into their printed marketing material such as brochures, flyers-even on business cards. It is certainly catching on and I think QR code use will be very widespread in the US over the next year.