The convergence of QR codes and directory website usability doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s paid attention to the development of QR codes over the years.
The global data on the creation of QR codes grew by 238% from 2021 to 2022 before increasing by 43.2% in 2023. Some countries have seen growth in QR code use by over 400% between 2021 and 2023. This increase in the creation and use of QR codes is all based on the rise in their use as a marketing tool to capture the contemporary smartphone user base.
- What Are QR Codes?
- What Are the Key Features of QR Codes?
- How Does a QR Code Work?
- What Are QR Codes Commonly Used For?
- How Do I Generate a QR Code for My Directory Website URL?
- What’s the Benefit of Using QR Codes as a Marketing Tool?
- How Can I Use QR Codes to Promote My Directory Website?
What Are QR Codes?
Quick Response (QR) codes are square-shaped two-dimensional barcodes that relay information with small dynamic or static pixel patterns. These patterns are black squares juxtaposed against a white background. Users can scan them in 360 degrees, hence giving them more versatility.
You may have seen them on various applications on your mobile phone, such as WhatsApp, consumer products, or on restaurant windows. Some coupons, flyers, and notice stickers will have them at the bottom corners. The only way to read the wealth of data in a QR code is through a QR code scanner, which is a basic feature in most modern smartphones.
They were created in 1994 by Denso Wave, a Japanese company, to help track automotive parts in the manufacturing process. They soon usurped traditional barcodes due to their quick readability and ability to store much more amount and variation of information.
On the contrary, traditional barcodes are made of parallel lines varying in thickness and spacing. They store much less information and have much less versatility than QR codes.
What Are the Key Features of QR Codes?
There are several key characteristics that describe QR codes and set them apart from traditional barcodes and other comparable tools. They include the following:
- Structured Data: The varied arrangement of the squares in QR codes is what encodes data.
- High storage capacity: QR codes have the uncanny ability to store a deceptively large amount of data, allowing them to have a wide range of applications.
- Fast Scanning: Since you can scan them at different angles, they allow users to scan them very quickly with barcode scanners on smartphones, tablets, and other devices.
- Error Correction: Even if a QR code is partially damaged or disfigured, these codes have innate error correction abilities so that scanners can still read them perfectly.
- Versatility: The diversity of the type of data that you can store in QR codes is incredible. They store website URLs, text, Wi-Fi network credentials, contact information, and much more.
How Does a QR Code Work?
QR codes are two-dimensional codes of arranged squares that contain information that QR code scanners can read and interpret. Here is how they work in 4 simple steps:
Step 1: Encoding Information
When you create a QR code, it harbors information such as site URLs and other data types. The unique and specific arrangement of black squares overlayed on a white background represents the encoded data.
Step 2: Scanning Process
For a QR code to be of any use, the user needs to have a QR code scanner. These scanners are now built into most modern smartphones, and there are dedicated apps for the same work. The scanners leverage the cameras of these devices to scan the codes.
Step 3: Decoding Data
Once the scanner registers the QR code through the camera, it decodes the pattern of black squares to comprehend the data they hold. Since they have error-correction mechanisms, minor distortions won’t prevent the scanner from decoding the data.
Step 4: Executing Action
Once the scanner has decoded the QR code, it takes the appropriate action that the decoded data denotes. For instance, if the data is the URL for a directory website, the scanner will prompt the opening of the user’s web browser directly onto the particular webpage that was encoded.
What Are QR Codes Commonly Used For?
As the use of QR codes becomes even more widespread with time, their uses have increased similarly. Here are the most common uses for QR codes:
- Website URLs: By encoding a website URL into a QR code, websites become more easily accessible. Therefore, users only need to scan the code with their smartphones, and it will direct them directly to the precise webpage that you wanted them to land on.
- Contact Information: You can encode your contact information into a QR code and place it on branded merchandise, posters, and business cards. Users who scan them will instantly add your contact details to their phones, reducing the chances of entering wrong information and making the process easier.
- Wi-Fi Network Setup: Instead of having guests and clients of a business ask you for the login credentials of your Wi-Fi network, you can simply place the information in a QR code. Users can then scan them and have their devices automatically configured to your network.
- Payment Transactions: When customers scan merchant QR codes, they initiate payments for cashless transactions. This makes it easy to receive mobile payments.
- Marketing and Promotions: When used in marketing, QR codes facilitate more interactive marketing campaigns. Scanning these codes gives consumers access to promotions, exclusive discounts, and additional content. This fosters engagement and gives businesses crucial consumer information.
- Business Cards: More and more professionals and businesses are including QR codes on their business cards so that users can access their portfolios, LinkedIn profiles, and company websites easily.
- Product Information: When placed on product packaging, QR codes become an easy way of giving consumers access to information such as user manuals, ingredients, and promotional content.
How Do I Generate a QR Code for My Directory Website URL?
Creating QR codes for a directory website URL is quite easy and doesn’t require that you know anything about coding. Here is how to go about it:
Step 1: Choose a QR Code Generator
There are different available QR code generators, many of which are free and user-friendly. You will feed your site URL to your generator of choice to get your code. A shorter URL enables you to have a QR code with few pixels, thus making it easier to scan. You can use free services like Bitly to generate a short-form site URL.
Twitter and the Google Chrome browser have inbuilt QR generation features. For Google Chrome, go to the three-dot menu 🡪 Share 🡪 Create QR Code to create your code, which you can take with its link. On Twitter, go to the top left-hand corner and click on the three lines. Click on the QR code icon to create a code for your Twitter account.
QR Code Generator and QRCode Monkey are free QR code generators that help you create codes for site URLs, text, PDF, MP3, Bitcoin, Facebook, Twitter, email, SMS, images, and more. All you need is to feed your shortened URL to these generators, and you’ll get your QR code.
Apart from the free versions, QR Code Generator and Uniqode have paid options that avail editable and dynamic QR codes. Uniqode also offers multiple download templates, customizable landing pages, customizable forms, and formats.
What’s the Benefit of Using QR Codes as a Marketing Tool?
First, QR codes provide instant, convenient, and smooth access to information. Whether you want to place the codes in merchandise, product packaging, or advertisements, they will be easy to scan, eliminating the hassle and errors of manual entry. What’s more, since virtually everyone has a smartphone, it is a very accessible route of digital advertising.
Additionally, QR codes facilitate real-time tracking and analytics, which lets you collect insight into user behavior and engagement. You can then consider the effectiveness of different campaigns before making data-driven decisions and strategies. As you analyze the data you get, you can improve and optimize your marketing efforts constantly.
The more you include your website’s QR codes, the more traffic you effectively generate. As your merchandise, business cards, and flyers spread the use of your codes, more people flock to your site’s pages. The moment a user scans your QR code, your information is on their device, and unlike a business card, it can’t be misplaced.
Since you want your brand to be more memorable and popular, you can work with your brand’s colors on the QR codes. Yes! You don’t have to create QR codes with the traditional black and white squares now; you can work with different colors and shapes to draw more attention and interest to them.
How Can I Use QR Codes to Promote My Directory Website?
There are a variety of ways through which you can use QR codes to market your directory website. Here are a few of them:
- Using QR Codes on Print Advertising
You can place your QR codes on flyers, brochures, business cards, and posters that promote your directory. They can link directly to your website and on whichever pages you want to market so that they’ll gain visitors with a simple scan.
- Using QR Codes on Promotional Products and Merchandise
Printing QR codes on merchandise and promo items like shopping bags, t-shirts, mugs, and the like engages curious people to explore your directory. It also gives your business a tech-savvy touch.
- Integrating QR Codes into Outdoor Advertising
When carrying out outdoor advertising, such as billboards and banners, you can integrate QR codes. When passersby think of a service or product they can get on your directory, they’ll scan it and be on your site instantly.
- Sharing QR Codes on Social Media
You can share QR codes on your social platforms to urge followers to scan for promotions, exclusive content, or simplified access to your directory website. This will bring cohesion between your online and offline marketing efforts.
- Initiate QR Code Scavenger Hunts
This can be one of the best ideas if well-executed. A scavenger hunt campaign needs you to place QR codes in different locations that lead to specific places or features on your directory. You can then offer incentives such as discounts or rewards.
- Embedding QR Codes on Business Signage
Posting QR codes on your business signage on storefronts, office windows, and other physical locations gives you a very long reach. It boosts scans, thus exploration of your platform.
Other excellent ideas include the use of QR codes on email signatures, event marketing, video content, networking events, and educational workshops.
Bottom Line: Promote Your Directory Website with QR Codes Effectively
QR codes are quite powerful in marketing if leveraged properly and can spell the success of your directory website. From their convenience to their growing popularity, they form an excellent springboard for taking your directory business to the next level. They comfortably stretch your wiggle room in finding effective new strategies for creative and interactive campaigns. This piece is the perfect guide to comfortably integrating QR codes into your promotional toolkit.