QR Codes Link Offline Messages with Online Marketing
Forty-percent of all smartphone users have downloaded barcode scanning apps, and this trend has made quick response (QR) codes increasingly attractive for online marketers. QR Codes create a host of new opportunities for inviting patients to interact with your medical practice.
A QR code is a two dimensional barcode that can be scanned either vertically or horizontally. QR codes can store significantly more information than a traditional barcodes, which makes them ideal for storing information such as website addresses, telephone numbers, text messages, email addresses and even vCards, or electronic business cards.
Mobile phone users can scan the QR code by using a barcode scanner application on their smart phone. Scanning your QR code could lead patients to access your website, a promotional page or Facebook page, as well as almost any other online resource that supports your medical practice marketing.
QR codes can be printed on a variety of surfaces, including newspaper and magazine ads, business cards, postcards, T-shirts, coffee mugs, badges – the list is virtually without limits. The goal is to place your QR code in a location where potential patients will see it and have a chance to scan it with their phone.
Here are a few tips for the ideal placement and use of QR Codes:
- Make sure that your QR code will be able to be scanned by most mobile phones. This means that the code should be at least 1″ x 1″.
- Optimize your landing page for mobile use.
- Billboards are often not a practical place for QR codes. As many people view billboards as they are driving, expecting them to scan a code may have unwanted consequences.
- In addition to offering the QR code, provide a hyperlink alternative where possible so that non-phone users can participate.
- Before printing a QR code, test it on a variety of phones and with several popular scanners.
- Link your QR campaign to Google Analytics campaign tracking.
- Don’t use a QR code where a hyperlink would serve the same purpose.
Here are a few ideas to use QR codes for:
- Like a Facebook page
- Play a video
- Access a coupon
- Send to email signup form
- Call your office
- Place at the front desk and link to a review site
If you are new to QR codes there is one important point to keep in mind when considering them as a marketing option. QR code use is becoming widespread and customer expectations for them are very high. If you expect patients to go put in the extra work to scan a code, you have to reward them for their effort. A link to your website offers limited value while a QR code on a business card that adds a vCard, or a QR code on a postcard that provides a discount coupon enhances the user experience and gives greater value.