How to Advertise with QR Code Stickers: A Little Guide

They Live QR glasses

By: Naomi J. Myrick, Staff Writer

You’ve probably seen those odd-looking codes everywhere. Perhaps you’ve even tried scanning a few yourself. 

Have you ever wondered how businesses actually use these little things for advertising?

That's why I’ve put together this helpful guide to show you how you can easily advertise with those nifty QR code stickers

Let’s get coding!

Chapter One: Once You Understand that Quick Response (QR) Came from Nature, You’ll Be Set Apart

Jaguar danger

Awareness is enhanced with repetition. 

Human eyesight has been masterfully created to recognize patterns in order to further our own survival. As a result, the instinctual response to the pattern of venomous reptiles or prowling jaguars has kept us around for a long time. 

And in modern times, we have figured out how to utilize this quick response ability to our marketing advantage: the QR code, or quick response code. 

This pattern recognition instinct has been harnessed by a simple phone camera and web browser. Show your camera the code, and it zings you to a webpage or social media platform. 

But this technology is not only intended for the device; it is also targeting us. Walk into any restaurant, retailer, or salon and these codes are scattered about like sticky buckshot. Your vision is inundated with QR code designs. 

We cannot help but notice these odd patterns. The QR code landscape is a bit like the movie They Live, but without the need for those sunglasses. 

Chapter Two: How Determining Your Audience Can Save You Time (and Money)

Theater audience

Many business owners overlook strategically marketing to specific groups of people. Or in extreme cases, they just want to sell to EVERYBODY. Don’t get me wrong, the blanket approach can and does work, but it also wastes sweat equity and fungible funds.

So, you really need to figure out or just decide who your audience is going to be. Even when it comes to codes on stickers. Targeted marketing can save money because you’re only reaching out to the people who already want a product or service like yours and therefore narrowing your reach.

Be obvious, but not obnoxious with stickers. Make sure you’re placing the QR codes in a convenient and totally blatant location for your intended audience. Although odd looking, they can be overlooked quite easily. 

For example, If the QR code is a scannable link to a menu, then put the sticker near the hostess booth or POS.

Or similarly, if you own a rock climbing business, put the QR code sticker where it is highly visible. That way people standing in line can fill out the liability waiver while they wait their turn.

Then, when they’re ready to rent their gear and get scaling, the tedious part is done!

Chapter Three: How Sparking Interest Will Get More Codes Scanned

Spark above water

There are ways to use these stickers without bedazzling entire walls and swamping your customer base with QR codes.  Try adding a logo or a few catchy words to your sticker. You could even use a snazzy border around the code to generate interest. 

Fortunately for you, anyone with a phone camera within the scannable vicinity of your sticker is a potential sale. It’s like self-geo-fencing. That’s a lot of people, but the trick is getting them to scan.

People like to believe the decisions that they make are their own and not high-pressure sales or marketing techniques.  So to create this organic environment, simply spark interest!

Chapter Four: How Strategy Can Keep You Steps Ahead in the Sticker Game

Chess game

Improve your odds of success by having a plan laid out for how you’re going to use your code stickers. It will save you time and money and can keep you ahead of the competition. 

Nature teaches you an important lesson from fishing. Fish will bite because you’re fishing in the right spot, at the right time of day along with using the right kind of bait. (Or dumb luck, it could always be some of that). Don’t waste time and energy endlessly casting—or randomly stickering. 

Be intentional as if you were playing chess. Computers are good at chess because they follow a pattern or program, not because they are creative. 

You don’t need an elaborate strategy, just one that works. A simple plan is better than no plan at all.

Chapter Five: How Strategic Location Can Get You More Noticed

Map and compass location

You’ve heard it said, ” Location! Location! Location!” And it rings true when it comes to stickers, too. Location isn’t merely a factor when choosing a neighborhood or school district —with an affordable commute to work. 

Location is integral to good marketing.

That being said, put good thought into where the sticker will be the most useful. Bathroom stalls are a given, because that is an ultra captive audience. Bumpers and vehicle windows are also excellent places for these codes for the same reason.

Determining the perfect location for your sticker also boils down to knowing your intended audience, so remember to incorporate what you determined from chapter two. 

Convenience can be your trail guide when you’re deciding where to put these little stickers. As mentioned before, menu QR codes should live by the POS or bar, etc, etc. 

Use common sense, and ask yourself where you’d like to see the helpful codes. It’s a snap!

Chapter 6: How to get more out of Dull Boxes From Stickers

Cardboard boxes

Let’s be honest, cardboard is pretty… boring! It is also likely the catalyst for the invention of reindeer and snowmen wrapping paper. 

Jumpstart sales by placing QR code stickers on drab boxes that you’re going to ship or even place on a retail shelf. Placing a sticker right on the box ensures it will be seen, unlike inserting a leaflet into the actual packaging 

Those pieces of cardstock get tossed out with the bubble wrap all of the time—I’m certainly guilty of that! 

Besides, boxes tend to stick around your home a lot longer than junk mail or bubble wrap. This is because of their functional fixedness. Like fridge magnets, you can always use a box for many other purposes around the house other than the vessel for the cast iron pan you just received from Amazon. 

This practical element makes boxes prime space for sticker code marketing.

You’ve got the Knowledge, It’s Time to Begin Your Sticker Journey!

Library and clouds

You’re now equipped with the primitive origins of QR codes. You have an audience in mind, as well as a map and a plan. You’ve also got the notion to decorate boring boxes with useful stickers. Now it’s your turn to implement what you’ve learned about QR code advertising. Godspeed and good luck!