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10 Creative Uses for QR Codes


If you went to a restaurant during the pandemic, you’re probably familiar with a quick response (QR) code. All kinds of food establishments have been instructing diners to scan QR codes to access a digital version of their physical menu.

Popular in the 1990’s, QR codes were used for a variety of different purposes but quickly fell out of favor as people had to download a QR code reader to use them. 

Now since the camera feature of most smartphones automatically reads QR codes, these cube-shaped barcodes have re-emerged to provide contact-free ways to get information.

Here are 10 examples of how businesses, cultural venues, and even nonprofit organizations use QR codes to boost engagement with their audience:

Outdoor Cultural Venues

When visitors scan a QR code at outdoor sculpture gardens, arboretums, and public art displays, they are instantly brought to a web page with more information on the object of interest. Cultural venues who use QR codes are able to keep signage small and keep their content evergreen. 



QR Codes for Museums

When museums use QR codes, in addition to the flexible signage benefits, they don't have to print brochures for each exhibit. As exhibits change, the digital content connected to the QR code can be changed rather than creating a new brochure and spending more money on signage. 



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QR Codes for Membership

Any organization that offers memberships: associations, athletic clubs, even retail stores can display QR codes that connect to a membership page. On the membership page, people can learn about the different types of  membership levels, the benefits, and access the membership application. 



QR Codes for Mapping and Navigation

Great for gardens, visitor centers, and college campuses, QR codes can lead people to a map that shows them where they are on the property. These venues save money by not printing hardcopy maps that often end up in the trash. Environmentally and economically, it’s a great idea.

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QR Codes for Event Information

Organizations with active calendars can use QR codes to link to a list of upcoming events. With events changing frequently, the same QR code that people scanned three months ago will always be up to date with current content. 



QR Codes for Donations

Many nonprofits now use QR codes for fundraising. A QR code can lead people to a branded fundraising page where a donation can be made in seconds. Scannable on computer and TV screens, people can donate sitting in the comfort of their home. 

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QR Codes with Fundraising Thermometers

Add more excitement for your cause by linking a QR code to your fundraising thermometer. Great for virtual events and live streaming, attendees can view the progress of the fundraiser on their phone.



QR Codes Printed on Objects

Market a product, cause, event, or just provide information by printing a QR code on a tee shirt, coaster, wristband, or other creative collateral. Link the QR code to payment options, promotions, surveys or provide product details.



QR Codes with Job Centers

QR codes are ideal for workforce development organizations whose job seekers access information primarily on their phones. Link the QR codes to job fairs, hiring information, skills workshops, and important job resources.

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QR Codes for Product Instructions

Struggling to assemble that bicycle? QR codes can be placed on packaging for links to instruction manuals. 



Don’t Forget These Important QR Code Tips: 

Tip #1: Clear Call to Action

Don’t display a QR code and assume that somebody is going to know what it's for. Tell people what will happen when they scan. Does it go to Twitter? A $100 gift card? If you want somebody to sign up or grab your special offer, include information that connects with the person, conveys a sense of urgency, or evokes an emotion. 


Tip #2: Make the Landing Page Mobile-Friendly

Make sure that the QR code is leading to content that's mobile-friendly. It's hard to read content that forces people to scroll from side to side, or the screen is not zooming in and out properly.




10 Creative Uses for QR Codes

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