5 Strategic Uses of QR Codes

Five strategic uses of QR Codes

Learn 5 strategic uses of QR codes, the difference between dynamic and static QR codes and how you can use them in your marketing.

Your website looks beautiful.

It has all the necessary information, offering visitors downloads, blogs, and maps, and you’ve scheduled regular info drops to keep it interesting. You encourage engagement through quick polls, surveys, interactive maps, and ideas boards designed to elicit feedback from your target population.

When you look at the analytics, you see that you’re getting fewer people to participate than you’d planned, and there is little diversity in the responses. You are still determining if this is because many stakeholders all agree (possible but unlikely) or if it shows a lack of engagement from specific segments (more likely).

Have you thought about your engagement strategy to make people aware of your project? For example, how will you know if you’ve reached all segments of your target population? Do you have a plan to encourage them to participate?

A solution is using QR Codes 

Think of QR Codes as another tool to drive traffic to your project, break down barriers to participation and make it easier for people to engage.

Interactive Media Tool - QR Code

Example QR Code – Our interactive Media Tool

QR Codes – short for Quick Generation Codes – were invented to optimise logistics and increase productivity in the automotive manufacturing industry in Japan in the 1990s. Initially, each QR Code provided identifying information for a part that a matrix bar code reader could read. However, technology has evolved and today, anyone with a smartphone can read a QR Code. As a result, the range of applications has exploded and now they are everywhere.

QR Codes to optimise your Engagement Project

Smartphones can act as QR code scanners through built-in technology or an easily downloaded app. And they are widely used across various industries for different purposes, including selling, informing, collecting information, or sharing contact details. You will find them embedded in tickets, attached to clohing to replace washing instructions or to direct to eCommerce sites to buy more of that brand. Billboards and windows quickly direct people to their social media pages, and they reduce the clicks needed to access specific parts of a webpage. Most Australians now know how to use QR Codes after using them to “check-in”.

Advanced Mapping Tool QR Code

Example QR Code – Our Advanced Mapping Tool


QR Codes represent productivity, not just for the project organiser. Consider this scenario: While taking your dog for a walk, you see a sign about a proposed development, but you don’t have a pen. So, you scan the QR Code using your phone to remind yourself to look at this information later. It’s even quicker than taking a photo as the link is already in your browser history, and you’ll see it the next time you open that up. After scanning the QR Code, you continue walking your dog and don’t need to keep it in your short-term memory.

People almost always have their phones with them, and QR Codes quickly take them to a source of information, reducing the need to type in a long, complex URL. It also saves navigating through multiple clicks from the main site to get to where you’re going.



  • People are aware of QR Codes and know how to use them.
  • Almost everyone can read QR Codes with their smartphone.
  • QR codes are widely employed across industries and have a myriad of applications.
  • QR Codes are a productivity aid (quicker than taking a photo, they don’t need a pen, and they don’t need to remember a number or to type in a URL).



Strategic Considerations for using QR Codes  

 1 – Static vs Dynamic QR Codes

There are two broad categories of QR Codes – Static and Dynamic.  

We recommend a Dynamic QR Code, and here’s why:

Static QR Codes hold a small amount of hard-coded information you can’t alter onc

How to use QR Codes - Link to pdf from QR Code

Example QR Code – Link to an online PDF

e created. Unfortunately, as you add more information to a static QR Code, the pixels shrink and become harder to read. On the plus side, there are many free QR Code generators online, and often the QR Code app on your smartphone might even make them. However, we don’t recommend it for engagement projects.

Dynamic QR Codes have higher storage capacity and better readability. In addition, you can change the information behind a Dynamic QR code even after you have printed or deployed them, saving you time, money, and reputational damage. Dynamic QR Codes are usually an annual subscription, so the outlay is generally affordable.

Part of your risk mitigation strategy:

  • If you have ever had a stuff up just before going live, or worse, after your documents have already been printed, you know the time and cost implications are enormous. If you realise that you have inadvertently mixed up the placement of your QR codes on your collateral, a dynamic QR Code allows you to log on and change the URL, saving you time, money, and stress.
  • Considering the risks is part of the process when planning your engagement. Using Dynamic QR Codes is a cost-effective way of insuring against unforeseen cost blow-outs from having to redesign/ or reprint an entire campaign. (You can find out more about risk mitigation  here)

The real-time analytics offered by Dynamic QR Codes are inexpensive and have significant budgetary implications.

  • Depending on your service provider, you can generate real-time analytics that informs you which channels (newsletter, rates notice, window signage, billboard, Facebook etc.) gave the most hits and click-through rates and thus calculate an ROI for each.
  • Real-time analytics from Dynamic QR Codes also allow you to redirect campaigns that aren’t reaching desired segments of the population. Opting to receive a ping every time a code is scanned or reports at daily or weekly intervals might save the need for a secondary campaign or the extension of this one if you can redirect and better target the missing participants.
  • You can also track your QR code scans to understand how your target audience behave around your campaign. For example, they may prefer using a QR Code to access different endpoints (To fill in a survey, download a prospectus, or register for updates or an event). Or you can identify which areas aren’t working so you can offer a different entry point to your engagement. To use this option, you’ll want to use some design features provided by QR Codes (see Strategic Consideration 2 – Visuals below).


  • If you want to update the project as it reaches a new stage or closes, you can change the URL to the new stage information or the final report and keep the whole project for history.



  • Avoid static QR Codes even if they are free, as the ROI for a subscription is substantial.
  • You can change dynamic QR Codes at will (lifesaving for fixing mistakes but also fantastic for keeping projects updated).
  • Dynamic QR Codes can be a risk mitigation tool worth thousands of dollars in time and money to correct mistakes.
  • Dynamic QR Codes offer insurance against reputational damage from the wrong code being unchangeable.
  • Dynamic QR Codes provide ROI data on channels for future campaigns.
  • Dynamic QR Codes allow real-time monitoring analytics that can save the need for campaign extensions or a follow-up campaign because of a failure to reach a target audience.



Strategic Consideration 2 – QR Code Visuals

Did you know that you can easily make QR Codes look different, often with the basic generation software and without needing a designer?

How your QR Codes look can help attract people to use them. If your strategy has successfully reached segments of your target audience, the next step is getting them to scan the code, and the look can help overcome hesitation.

 Consider the following visual improvements to the basic code when generating them:

  • Add branding to reassure your users the QR Code is safe and legitimate. This will become increasingly important as hackers target individuals and people get more
  • security conscious.
  • Add a call to action to generate interest and a higher conversion rate. Some ideas include: “Scan for details”; “Tell us what you think”, “RSVP”, “send us an email” “see photos from …” Keep it short and sweet for maximum impact.
  • Make sure the size is appropriate for the placement. QR codes can be small enough to go on business cards and large enough to go on billboards. The size is determined by where you are placing it and how close you need to be to scan it. Each code generator will have recommendations on the sizes for different end placements.
  • When you determine the design, ensure it’s readable by the scanner. Don’t invert the image or use a darker background, as QR code scanners and readers are set to scan the darker pixels in contrast to a lighter background. Consider using a border that matches the darker pixels instead of reversing the colours.
  • Scale your QR code-targeted landing page to render perfectly on users’ phones or tablets, regardless of horizontal or vertical orientation. Engagement Hub is optimised to match the end user’s device.
  • Make sure you print in high image quality, so it doesn’t pixelate, or fail to load quickly or at all, resulting in a lost opportunity to engage someone.
  • Have a common point of reference from the source (newsletter, sign, card) so that the end user understands and checks out before engaging.


Take Aways:

  • Change the look of your QR codes to overcome hesitation and encourage greater acceptance by your target population.
  • Use branding to link the QR code to you and improve trust and uptake.
  • Use a concise call to action to pique interest.
  • Always ensure that your look doesn’t compromise the readability of the QR code. For example, always keep a light background and dark pixels to ensure the size fits the planned placement.



Strategic Considerations 3 – QR Code Applications

There are many applications for dynamic QR Codes today, and you can use various applications to tempt the different segments of your target population to help achieve greater participation. Here are some ways you can use them in a Community Consultation situation to direct users straight to the information they want. The most common application of a QR code is to bring a user to a customised landing page within your website. For example, it may be a specific project page within your Engagement Hub site; or a section within it where they can:

  • Download a document or have a document embedded within the code (Engagement Hub takes them directly to the Project Document Library Tool or Project Links Tool or Other Information Tool areas)

    Book a Free Demo Now (Calendly link - QR Code)

    Example QR Code – Book a demo with us

  • View a video of a past event (In Engagement Hub the landing site might be the Video Gallery Tool or anywhere you have used HTML to embed a video)
  • See mock-ups of town plans (Engagement Hub takes them directly to the Interactive Media Tool, Interactive PDF Image Tool)
  • View a map (In Engagement Hub, you can take them directly to Interactive Mapping Tool or Advanced Mapping Tool)
  • Connect you to a newsletter/ Blog Page (Engagement Hub takes them directly to Newsletter/ Blog Tool).


Simplify communication

QR Codes can be set up to save time and ensure you get the information you want. For example, you could create them to:

  • Send an automated Text Message via the user’s phone to request more information or confirm a reservation at an event and vote yes in a quick poll.
  • Send login details for a Zoom meeting that they are interested in attending.
  • Provide contact details or vCard that will be downloadable to a phone’s contact list.
  • Send a pre-filled Email via the phone’s email program- as simple as the subject line and the address for them to fill in, or it might have pre-filled content.

    More Info - Contact Us via email QR Code

    Example QR Code – Contact us via email

  • Mark attendance – creates an RSVP list for events which you can upload to the Engagement Hub SRM.
  • Allow someone attending an event to download a map, a menu, a seating plan, or even select their main.
  • Send a tweet or other social media post letting people know they’ve had their say and suggesting that others in their network do too.

Help people have their say

Community engagement projects differ from marketing projects where sales are the focus. Getting feedback from a section of your community stems from a desire for broad representation, which is always more challenging to achieve than initially thought. Because you can change the landing page, you can generate many QR Codes that will target different segments of your population and take them straight to where they can provide input.

Consider QR codes that take people directly to:

  • Surveys and Quick Polls. These have long been a standard way of gathering data, and you can direct them straight to those sections of the Engagement Hub site.
  • Ideas Boards to post ideas and encourage broader conversations with stakeholders are becoming increasingly popular. Idea and Story Board Tools are just one of the feedback tools available on Engagement Hub.
  • Interactive Maps let users vote and provide feedback on important community developments – Engagement Hub has several interactive visual tools to enable your users to give their input or opinions on projects in spatial or model formats.

Advanced and more unusual uses:

  • Long-term user engagement. Add a QR Code to promotional merchandise (t-shirts, aprons, tea towels, bandanas, or mugs) associated with your engagement project to stimulate a longer-term connection with your audience. Because you can update a dynamic QR Code, you can change the landing page over time to direct anyone interested to the latest update or the outcome of the engagement.
  • Time of day segmenting. Segment messaging based on location or time of day. Some generators allow you to pre-program the same QR Code to do different things at different times, or you can place different QR Codes in various places based on your segmentation plan.
  • Gamification. Drive greater engagement by using QR Codes to run a treasure hunt to drive people to visit the sites and get feedback. A quick poll can determine if people were already using the location or if they went there specifically to collect the scan.


Take Aways:

  • Plan the purpose of your QR Codes from the beginning as part of your overall Engagement Strategy (Simplifying community engagement in the planning process – Engagement Hub).
  • Use them to direct users straight to specific parts of your engagement website.
  • Use them to simplify communication.
  • Use them to facilitate feedback.
  • Use gamification to generate interest.
  • Use them for long-term updates.


Why we're different (compare online engagement software website) QR Code

Example QR Code – Why we’re different comparison webpage


Strategic Consideration 4 – Where to put your QR Code?

The location of your QR Codes is a core part of your Engagement Strategy. You need to know your target audience and its segments and consider how to raise awareness and participation.

  • Choose a variety of mediums across a range of locations – physical locations like libraries and shopping centres; electronic locations like websites and social media; and print media like fliers, rates notices or letters will make it easy for everyone to participate.
  • Make sure it’s visible in your ad/ marketing material.
  • Make sure it’s not placed on a fold if it’s in printed material.
  • QR Codes can be as big or small as you like, so if your campaign warrants it, fill up the side of a building or a glass sliding door.



  • You can put QR Codes almost anywhere (skywriting is out!).
  • Print in high resolution so it scans well the first time.
  • Put them in places where all segments of your population will see them, link them to you and use them.
  • Maximise the analytical functions by reviewing them in real-time to optimise your reach, improve targeting and save money.
  • Keep your audience engaged by updating dynamic QR codes with a link to the final report, so they know the outcome.



Strategic Consideration 5 – Analytics loop 

Call and speak to us now - QR Code

Example QR Code – Link to call us directly

Dynamic QR codes provide real-time analytics that enables you to monitor and respond to what is working in your strategy. Don’t just use them to review the success of your project after you’ve finished. Instead, use them to run a dynamic strategy to change tact if you’re not reaching the desired population or find that certain segments aren’t adequately represented.

This dynamism can be central to your risk mitigation efforts to achieve a campaign that meets its aims. The dynamic nature of the QR Codes allows you to keep your population up to date on the project. Change the landing page of the more permanent QR Codes to point to the project updates and outcomes and keep interested users engaged. This feedback loop with the end user may foster more participation in future engagements and is a positive reinforcement tool to encourage participatory democracy.


In Conclusion 

Engagement Hub lets you quickly and easily set up interactive or information-only community consultation websites. But how can you get more people to the site? One of the core differences between a marketing campaign and an engagement campaign is engagement is not driven by a sales motive; it’s driven by a wish to get the views of a broad representation of your community. Reaching diverse segments and making it easy for them to participate is vital to any community engagement’s success.

We’ve done a deep dive into five strategic considerations to show how Dynamic QR Codes may help you reach participants and improve your engagement outcomes. Planning how you will make a QR code look, where to place it, and where it lands can lead to a dynamic campaign with the potential to drive traffic to your site, increase conversion, mitigate reputational and budget risk, and encourage long-term relationships.

Please get in touch with us if you want to know more about Engagement Hub and using QR Codes to maximise the traffic to your stakeholder and engagement platform.

Products used: We have a paid account with QR Stuff which enables us to create visual dynamic and static codes and keep track of how and when the codes are being used. We are not affiliated with QR Stuff and other similar products are available.

Read more about how simple it is to manage, the benefits, reporting, security and more.

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