Understanding QR Codes: What They Are and How Do They Work?

Learn what QR codes are and how they can help your business succeed in your next marketing campaign.

What is a QR Code?

A QR (Quick Response) Code is an encrypted barcode that can be scanned by a smartphone to open webpage links, videos, coupons and other details that are valuable to your customer. There are two types of QR codes; static and dynamic. A static QR is uneditable and is best used for sharing simple data or one-time situations, such as ID numbers, product or serial numbers or check-in information. A dynamic QR code is editable and is best used for sharing data that changes frequently such as coupon codes or digital menus. 

Although QR Codes can be customized, the shape of the QR Code must always be square.

The first QR Code technology launched in the mid-’90s. Since then, it has traditionally been used as a way for brands to market digital campaigns to physical customers, though its impact within the North American market nearly fizzled.1 In 2020, the QR resurgence began, QR codes became a powerful medium for the way small and large businesses approach their marketing. 

How do you create a QR Code?

Male and female coffee shop owners smiling at tablet in coffee shop

Creating a QR code can be done in 4 easy steps.

  1. Select a QR code generator tool.
  2. Decide on the type of QR code you would like to create based on the information you want to share.
  3. Generate and test the QR code.
  4. Download your QR code in your preferred format.

How to use them in your marketing campaigns?


lady holding smart phone scanning a QR code on direct mail flyer

QR Codes have proven to be a successful marketing campaign strategy by helping connect the physical and digital world seamlessly. From direct mail campaigns to mobile marketing campaigns, QR codes are a great vehicle to direct customers to a specific piece of information you want to share with them. Below are 9 different ways QR codes can help you grow your business:

  1. Share contact information through virtual business cards.
  2. Offer a contactless option for customers to view a menu or list of services in a store. 
  3. Allow customers to pay by linking them to a point of sale technology.
  4. Offer discounts, coupons and deals. 
  5. Send directions using Google Maps or Waze.
  6. Invite customers to an event by adding it to their calendar.
  7. Connect to a business’ Wi-Fi.
  8. Follow a profile on social media.
  9. Direct users to an App Store to download an app.

Why it is important to include a Call To Action (CTA) with your QR code

Cropped closeup of millennials using smartphones

Did you know that 5.3 Billion coupons will be redeemed by QR Code by 2022?¹ Make sure your marketing campaign has a compelling call to action (CTA) to ensure your gaining conversions. QR Codes with a call to action gives customers a nudge to scan the QR Code. When marketing campaigns have the right CTA, customers know what to expect out of the QR Code. Not just that, it also imprints a sense of trust in the QR Code to be scanned, ultimately increasing your click-through rate.

Extend the reach and impact of your campaign while also collecting valuable engagement and customer data. With a single scan, direct users to your website, download a coupon or book an appointment. Contact Direct Response Media Group today to book your free demo


¹USPS Print digital study, 2020 


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