Using QR Codes to Bridge Online and Offline Media

By Elin Enrooth | August 2022

Illustration of group of people on their phone and a giant QR code.

QR codes are one of the most ubiquitous marketing tools today. They have the power to bridge the gap between online and offline marketing.

Think of a QR code as a paper-based hyperlink that connects the physical world with the online world. QR codes direct users from print media to interactive landing pages. This integration adds a new level of interaction to any engagement effort.

QR codes are a powerful marketing tool for nonprofit organizations of all sizes. Why? Because they can deliver a wide range of content, from website links to videos.

What are QR Codes?

QR (Quick Response) Codes are two-dimensional scannable barcodes that are readable by smartphones. QR codes often contain data for a locator, identifier, or tracker that points to a website or app. They store information such as URLs, email addresses, phone numbers, and more.

But, there are a few things to keep in mind. It's essential that the code is easy to scan and links to mobile friendly content. Also, don't forget to include a call-to-action, so users know what to do with the QR code.

How do QR codes work?

Technology has improved quite a bit in the last decade. Most phones nowadays can read QR codes in camera mode. Back in the day you had to download a special app. Now that this technology is more accessible and accepted, the question for marketers is how to use it. 

When a user scans the code, their mobile phone will direct to the action of your choice. Whether that be to download an app, visit a certain webpage, or watch a video.

But, QR codes aren’t always the best way to interact with your audience. Keep in mind that some people might not know how to use a QR code. And, believe it or not, some people still don’t have a smartphone.

Don’t promote QR codes to audiences that don't know or use them. If your audience doesn't own smartphones or know technology, you won't be successful. Only use QR codes with audiences that own smartphones and know what they are.

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How to use QR codes as a marketing tool for your nonprofit

QR codes can help your organization connect with the community and collect data.

1. Increase web traffic

Drive customers to your website with a QR code placed on a flier, ad, email or brochure. When they scan the code, they will reach a specified web page.

Think about which page of your website you want to direct people to, and what you want them to do once they are there. That way, you can plan a QR code campaign that addresses these questions.

Scanning a QR code can lead to any landing page. This removes the hassle of accessing the website and navigating your way around the page.

2. Promote your app

If you have an app for your organization, placing a QR code on your marketing materials is a great way to promote it. Attach the QR code to your flyers, posters, or other promotional content.

When users scan the code, their device will redirect to the App Store and have the option to download your app.

Furthermore, apps themselves sometimes use QR codes to foster engagement inside their community. Social media app Snapchat created unique QR codes for its users to add other users.

3. Locate your organization

If you have a physical location, use a QR code to help customers place your location on the map. Add the QR code to your website, social media pages and any promotional content.

If a visitor wants to drop by, they can scan the QR code on your website instead of searching for the address. When a user scans the code, your address will appear in their navigation app, usually Google or Apple Maps. This makes it easy for them to locate your business.

4. Solicit reviews

QR codes can help generate more customer reviews. Reviews are one of the most valuable things an organization can receive from a customer. According to Invesp, 88% of consumers value reviews as much as personal recommendations.

Reviews not only let customers voice their opinions, they also help future customers make decisions. Asking users to review your business with a QR code makes the process quicker and more effective.

Make your business cards or email signature more effective by adding a QR code. If needed, you can also offer an accompanying incentive for every review.

5. Direct customers to social media pages

QR codes can also promote social media pages. This will, again, save time and effort as users don't have to search for your account. It will also help increase your following and engagement metrics.

6. Use QR codes as an entry ticket

QR codes can also authenticate ticket holders at events. This saves time and effort and makes checking in to see a play, musical or movie a seamless experience. Massive events like music festivals also use QR codes as a part of crowd control. These codes can also deliver relevant notifications and updates throughout the event.

Benefits of QR codes

QR codes are a valuable tool. Nonprofits can use them to share their cause, request donations, or promote events. And best of all, QR codes are free to create and use.

Not only have they become a staple of the marketing mix, they’re trackable, versatile, and simple to use.

Unify online and offline campaigns

QR codes direct consumers from an offline experience to online. For example, users can scan a QR code in a physical brochure to reach a landing page created for that experience.

QR codes are measurable

Of course, it's hard to measure the effectiveness of a campaign if you can't track it. Luckily, QR codes can track engagement with offline marketing efforts. In the past, engagement was only based on estimated views.

It's easy to measure the results of a QR code campaign. Analytics are available through the software used to create the QR code. Metrics include how many users scanned the QR code, click-through rates, and engagement.

QR codes are versatile

QR codes are beneficial for anything from attracting new donors to outreach.

You can use QR codes to:

  • Raise awareness about an event or campaign
  • Distribute content
  • Book tickets or registrations
  • Target a specific demographic audience
  • Organize volunteer drives
  • Conduct outreach (including phone calls and mail-outs)
  • Qualify potential volunteers, donors, and sponsors

QR Codes can link to any digital location, whether it’s an informational page, app download, or promo.

They're simple to make and use

The QR code creation process is pretty simple. You don't need any special training to create them, and you can get a handle on it in an hour or two. Once created, you can start using them right away. 

It's also easy for the community to use them. It doesn’t get much simpler than opening your phone camera and pointing it at the barcode. Eliminating the need to type in a URL has been a big win for online experiences.

How to create a QR code

If you’re thinking about using QR codes in your strategy, remember to create value for your audience. Each code should lead to valuable content, experiences, or resources.

There are many free sites available that can help you generate QR codes. Platforms like QRCode Monkey, Flowcode, and Visualead allow you to set up a QR code in a matter of minutes. For advanced capabilities, paid plans will provide increased analytics and code management options. 

Choose between a static and dynamic QR code. The difference is that a static code is fixed, meaning you can't change the data once it’s generated.

A dynamic code is changeable because it redirects through a URL. It can direct people to different campaigns, based on variables like location, time, or day. Dynamic codes are the most popular, since they provide more flexibility and versatility.

Leverage QR codes for your nonprofit with ArcStone

QR codes remain a creative way to drive traffic and connect with your audience. They may not be right for every organization, but many have found innovative ways to boost awareness and engagement. Also, QR codes allow you to reach a larger audience without spending more on marketing.

Keep in mind that a QR code is a link. Putting thought and strategy into your QR codes will help you reach success. If you need help with QR codes for your nonprofit, contact us today.

Topics: Digital Marketing