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Why You Should Be Using a QR Code

Quick Response codes, or QR codes, became popular for consumer marketing around 2010. I distinctly remember my boss at the time explaining to me that this new type of barcode would be the next big thing in digital marketing. As a graphic designer, I couldn’t wrap my head around why anyone would want to use these rather ugly square things in their design. After all, traditional barcodes were meant to be placed in a discreet location to be used for tracking purposes only. 

Over the years and as I’ve developed my career as a marketing coordinator, I’ve come to understand how powerful QR codes can be in your advertising as well as the best place practices for when to use these ugly square things. Let’s talk about the benefits of using QR codes in your business marketing plan. 

QR Codes Are Personalized
Rather than TRACKING information like the sale of an item, which is done with traditional barcoding, QR codes DIRECT information. QR codes can be used to prompt an email, bring customers to any url that you manage (website or social media), or direct to an online menu or price list. 

Think about how a real estate agent could benefit from using QR codes. Have you ever been interested in a home listing that you were unable to inquire about because it was too difficult to pull over, write down the phone number or remember the address? Having a QR code that directs to the online listing of the house would simplify this process greatly. Now, the driver’s passenger could scan the sign from the car window without stopping and have all of the information within seconds. QR code could be created for the realtor’s personal website or codes could be created for each listing. 

QR Codes Are Easy To Create And Free
QR codes can be created quickly online with the use of free online generators or you can ask your graphic designer to create one for you inside of Adobe InDesign. There isn’t a secret sauce to having your own QR code. Traditional barcodes are purchased to identify and insure that only one barcode is assigned to the specific product. Because QR codes direct, rather than track, they are not vetted in anyway. The pro to this is that anyone can create one, however, it’s also important to understand that you can also create one with misinformation or broken links. Make sure to verify that your QR code is created correctly by doing a self test with your phone before having it printed. 

QR Codes Are For Printed Assets
It’s essential to think through your customer’s experience before choosing which assets will have QR codes included. Mobile websites should not include QR codes. QR codes are not hyperlinks. They are not buttons on your websites. If you include a QR code on your website and your customer base is using mobile web (assume they are), then a clickable link is a better choice. QR codes are helpful in printed pieces. Because they are scanned by phones, a phone can not scan itself. The exception could be for a salesperson to have a QR code as his/her phone’s screensaver that directs potential clients to a digital business/contact card. This would eliminate the need for business cards allowing new prospects to scan the salesperson’s screensaver code with their own phone, placing that salesperson’s contact card directly into the prospect’s phone.    

QR codes are here to stay and you should be considering creative ways to include them to direct your audience to your business. While they are not attractive to look at, the convenience aspect of using QR codes makes them a powerful tool for attracting customers. 

Consider how you can incorporate QR codes into your marketing plan and let AlphaGraphics Hoover | Birmingham South help you complete your next project. Contact us at, visit, or call 205.979.2373. And don’t forget to follow our socials on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram.

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