When Toyota subsidiary Denso Wave developed quick response codes in 1994, few realized how powerful a marketing tool they could be. In the last two years QR codes have taken on a life of their own, with B2C marketing usage taking off thanks to smartphones. QR codes have proven to effectively link the offline world to the online universe. But is there a place for these treasure troves of information in B2B marketing? You bet!
Here are some actionable B2B ideas on how to use QR codes to attract prospects to your business:
- Business cards are the simplest means of passing on your contact information, but including any sort of advertising makes them look cluttered. Instead, add QR codes that have promotional material already on them.
- Trade shows are hotspots of B2B ideas and potential contacts. To avoid having to explain your business to each person who comes to your booth. Include QR codes on all your marketing material and display panels so prospects can then quickly pull up your info and qualify themselves before they walk up to you.
- Speaking at conferences helps market you as an industry expert, but studies show people retain less than 25 percent of what they hear within 48 hours. Including QR codes on a one-page outline allow attendees to easily pull up your lessons back at the office or on the go.
- One of the most obvious B2B ideas is to use a QR code to link up via social media. Have codes that take users directly to your LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook accounts so they can quickly connect with you.
- Include codes on your actual products and packaging. They can contain quick links to customer support numbers and eliminate the need for instructions and manuals by having the information stored on the code itself.
- Add a QR code to your vehicle fleet signage. Prospects on the road can scan from their cars to view product sales pages, your mobile website, and even provide them with directions to your office.
- Don't forget the drive-by QR code. Add a large QR code to your outdoor signage to capture prospects passing by in vehicles or on foot.
- Want to communicate your upcoming calendar of events? Send a QR code! Codes can link to specific pages and are never out of date. If you update your schedule, the code will lead people to the updated material.
- Brochures and other forms of mailed print advertising can be costly when there's a lot of information. QR codes can eliminate much of the cost by including all the coupons and promotions in one place, accessible via a smartphone web browser.
- Telling people about your product or service is one thing, but showing them is another. B2B marketing via print material suffers from being stagnant, but QR codes can be used on print material to also lead users to dynamic content, like interactive demos or live support.
- Go big. Place a giant QR code atop your flat-roofed building or on a wide-open space on the ground. The QR code can be viewed clearly online by visitors to Google Earth, from an airplane or even from space.
- One of the best B2B ideas for businesses looking for funding is to use a QR code that allows an investor to pull up your business or marketing plan on an e-reader. It's convenient, saves having to send an email, and makes you look technologically savvy.
All of these ideas can change the way you do business, and you don't need to employ all 10 from the start. As with social media, B2B marketing using QR codes may take some getting used to before you fully incorporate them into your marketing strategies. By implementing the ones that make the most sense for your business now, you may get a head start on your competition.
Have other creative ideas for QR codes for B2B marketing? Please share!
Martine Hunter is the creative director of inbound marketing with the Atlanta advertising agency, MLT Creative, which specializes in B2B marketing. She holds the Inbound Marketing professional certification and serves the Atlanta chapter of the Business Marketing Association as president of the board of directors.