QR codes aren’t new, but in the past few years, they’ve surged in popularity. Nearly 89 million people in the U.S. scanned a QR code with their mobile device in 2022 — a 26% increase since 2020.
Learning to create a QR code will help you generate more engaging marketing campaigns that attract visitors to any webpage you want. Since there are several types of QR codes, learning how to use the right one will help you convert more of that traffic.
In this guide, you’ll discover how to make a QR code and explore 10 QR code tactics to boost your marketing efforts.
Quick response (QR) codes are a relatively new type of bar code. They were invented in the mid-1990s by a subsidiary of Toyota Motors and quickly gained popularity.
One reason QR codes caught on is their adaptability. You don’t need a dedicated QR code reader. Instead, users usually open the camera app on their cellphone or other smart device. Once the QR code is visible, the device will read the image and convert the patterns into usable data.
For example: At some restaurants, customers are never given a menu. Instead, they’ll notice a QR code to scan. This code triggers a menu pop-up and sometimes allows customers to place orders or make payments directly on their devices.
QR codes are pretty popular amongst users. A 2021 survey by Scantrust found 80% of respondents believe QR codes are safe to use. Specifically, 39% of Americans’ favorite reason to use a QR code was to make a payment.
How do QR codes work?
QR codes typically look like a square filled with black and white lines and boxes. A phone or other smart device can detect the pattern, decode it and use the data. Unlike a traditional bar code, QR codes can store a lot more data — around three kilobytes, which is roughly 4,000 alphanumeric characters.
And since you can link to website URLs, you can circumvent the size constraints. To illustrate: You can create an instructional infographic to make your users’ lives easier; even if the image is over three kilobytes, you can simply link to it — a URL is only a few characters of data.
Part of why quick response codes are so popular is that it’s easy to create a QR code.
How to make a QR code for your business
- Decide what your QR code should do
- Choose between static and dynamic
- Get your URL or data ready
- Select your QR code generator
- Generate your QR code
- Test your new QR code
- Share your code
Here’s a bit more detail:
First, decide what you want the QR code pop-up to do; this should inform whether you use either a static QR code or a dynamic QR code.
A static code is better for information that doesn’t change frequently, like your contact info or homepage. A dynamic code is good for information that does change frequently, like your sale items or available booking slots.
Once you’ve decided, prepare your URL, file, form or text.
Next, find a QR generator. Some of the more high-quality, popular and free generators include:
Once you’ve selected a service, add in your data and let the generator get to work. Once you generate QR codes, you can usually save them as a .png, .jpg, .svg or .eps file; pick the file type that works for you.
Test your code’s functionality. Try scanning it with both an Android and iPhone device if possible.
Finally, start spreading the word. Once your code is done and tested, it’s time to share it via social media, on product packaging or posted prominently in your store.
10 ideas to use QR codes for your business
Now that you know how to make a QR code, it’s time to use it for your benefit, especially with marketing and sales. Here are a few use cases to get you started.
1. Direct people to your landing page
One of the simplest ways to use QR codes is on flyers, business cards and posters. Build a landing page that will convert people who show interest by scanning the QR code.
Alternatively, have them go straight to your digital storefront. If you don’t have an eCommerce store yet, Bluehost makes it easy to create and host your own online store.
2. Gather feedback and reviews
Create QR codes that link to a customer satisfaction survey or direct customers to leave a review for a product. Then, print out a slip with the QR code and place it in the package with the rest of the customer’s order.
This way, customers don’t have to type out a long URL in the address bar, so they’re more likely to leave a review.
3. Offer discounts
Ask for the customer’s emails in exchange for the discount; this gives you another way to stay in contact and continue marketing.
4. Direct downloads
Does your brand have an app? Make sure it doesn’t get lost in the competition. After all, in the third quarter of 2022, the Google Play store clocked 3.5 million available apps, while the Apple app store had 1.6 million options.
Lead users directly to your app using a QR code. This circumvents potential customers seeing your competitors, eliminates the inconvenience of searching and reduces confusion when other apps have a similar name or icon.
5. Share your location
If you have a brick-and-mortar store, create a QR code to help potential customers find you. A QR code can link directly to your business’s Google Maps or Apple Maps location.
This serves multiple purposes since your map entry is another place consumers should see your business’s contact information.
6. Run a giveaway
Create a QR code to offer a giveaway. Use the code to display a form that asks for the customer’s email or other contact details. Encourage people to share the giveaway with friends, giving you free publicity.
Then, select a winner or two from the people who submitted their info.
7. Build your email list
Growing an email subscriber list is a great way to build your brand while keeping expenses down. QR codes can help you get the new leads you seek. Have customers use their QR code scanner to get to a landing page that details the best reasons to sign up for your emails.
8. Network efficiently
Effective marketing doesn’t have to take every ounce of effort you have. When you have a custom QR code ready, bring it to your next marketing event.
Even if you can’t talk to every person, they can scan the QR codes you have on your booth or business cards. Set a form pop-up to ask for their contact info so you can reach out later.
9. Enable payments
Making payments via QR code has taken off in the past couple of years. It’s also gotten much easier. Customers scan the dynamic code, then pay with either a mobile app or through their phone’s wallet, so they don’t have to enter a bunch of repetitive information manually.
Setting this up involves linking with a payment gateway like Paypal, Square or Stripe. Each service will provide steps to enable payments via QR code.
10. Create a digital business card
You can create a vCard with a QR code. When a customer scans your vCard, they’ll instantly see all the information you choose to share. This can include your name, address, phone number, email, website address, company name and location.
A vCard can share more contact information than a traditional business card. Additionally, viewers can instantly act on that information, only needing two or three taps to schedule an appointment, for example.
Tips to implement QR codes effectively
To make your marketing user-friendly and compelling, consider the following best practices.
Final thoughts: How to create a QR code, plus ideas to market your business
QR Codes are a great way to market your website and connect with your customer base.
To get the most out of your marketing, you need a website that converts superbly. That’s why Bluehost online store plans come with SEO tools and eCommerce features like gift cards and product search. When you level up your online store, you land more sales.