I’m sure you’ve noticed these little black and white bar code squares showing up more and more. If you’re wondering what they are, they are codes that someone can read with the camera on their smartphone that will automatically lead them to a website, or they can also be any other information you want going to their phone, like your contact information. You’re seeing them on magazine ads, posters, business windows, and even billboards (which seems a little dangerous, to have people holding their phones up and trying to capture the QR code while they’re driving.)
If you read my previous post about the explosion of smart phones, and how more internet searches will be done on phones than on computers within the next couple of years, you may realize that the easier a business makes it for people to go to their website on the phone, the more likely they will get a person’s attention and business. Now, I don’t necessarily believe that you will experience a massive flow of new patients based on these codes. But I do believe that they have value, if of course you have a good website.
The main reason I like them, and this is a theme I will repeat often, is that it gives your practice “technological cachet”. By that I mean people will see you as a modern practice, using the latest digital communication tools. We live in a world where people expect new technology all the time. They wait in line the day the iPad 2 comes out, even though they already have an iPad, and the only difference in the new one really is a camera, which they already have in their iPhone. People don’t get a new phone because they lost their old one, now they get a new one every year or two because the features have improved. This new-tech expectation will transfer to your practice, and if they don’t see new technology, like CEREC or digital radiography, or see you engaging in digital communication like with texting and email, (or QR codes), then they assume you are not a modern practice, and move on to one that is.
So how do you get QR codes, and how do you use them? Simple. And free. You go to Esponce, for example, and put in your website URL, and they will automatically generate a QR code for you. Then you just send it to yourself as an image (get all the variations). It is just like a digital photo. You can also just get a QR reader application on your smart phone, like the one from TapMedia (search applications for it) and it will not only read QR codes for you, but it will also generate them.
For now, I would put the code on your business cards as well as any print advertising that you are doing, like direct mail. You can make different codes that have more information, or send people to a specific part of your website. You can even get more adventurous and create ones that give people special offers or discounts. My only caution would be to not make a QR code that is essentially a contact card, i.e., all your business information, as the code may become so dense that many phone readers won’t be able to decode it.
I know, one more annoying thing you have to get around to. But it all adds up. And it doesn’t take much time. Why not do it now, and get some new business cards, which you probably need to do anyway?