I was recently treating a graphic designer, and she suggested a very interesting and relatively new technology for my marketing materials. It’s not something I’ve seen widely used among Physical Therapy clinics, so I of course had to share it here with you.
Have you seen those square bar codes that utilize a lot of little squares rather than all vertical lines? For those of you who don’t know, they are called “QR Codes” (Quick Response Code) and people scan them with their smart phones. QR codes can cause a few different things to happen, but I’ll just explain the two I feel are most applicable to us a private practice owners.
1) Scanning the code can download a “vcard” into the phone, which is a collection of all your contact info (I’ll explain more below on what info you should include when creating a QR code). So it’s basically a way to automatically upload your contact info into someone’s phone, rather than them having to find your business card later if they want to call your clinic.
2) Scanning the code can also take the phone owner to the web page of your choosing.
One of the great things about QR codes is that they are free and easy to create yourself. What my aforementioned graphic designer suggested was that I add a QR code to my business card. I already had a good-looking business card but the backside was blank, and apparently I had been missing out on a nice advertising opportunity.
So how is this all done? Rather than re-write what others have done a good job at, I’ll just send you to a few websites I found most helpful. Start with this post on creating a QR code for your Business Card. Like the author in that post, I too found http://goqr.me/ easy to use and it also has some good info below the QR code creator. In the first link above, the author sends you to the site (goqr.me) and says to click the tab “vcard.” That is of course if you want to go the contact info / vcard route. If you want the code the send people to a web page, then you need to click the tab that says “url.” The rest of the instructions are basically the same.
A little more on the vcard approach … you’ll see that the more info you put into the QR code creator, the more complex the pattern and the smaller the little boxes become. Because space is already limited and the code will be fairly small on a business card, loading it with too much info can make it hard for all smart phone scanners to read. Therefore, I suggest entering no more than your name, company name, work phone, email, and website. If you are design savvy and bootstrapping, you can then insert the code into your marketing materials and print them. Otherwise, you can just send the code to your designer and save the money they would have charged you to create it. (make sure you test the code first with your phone)
So what does the QR code do my clinic’s business card? Next to the code on the back of my card, I have text that says “Scan to see what others are saying about Carter Physiotherapy.” It then sends the scanner to the testimonial page at my website. Why? Because many of the patients who found me with online searches (rather than word-of-mouth or other referrals) tell me that my testimonials really compelled them to call for an appointment. When someone is on the fence about whether or not to go out-of-network for your treatments, testimonials can really help make it happen … especially if they were not sent to you directly by someone they trust.
Does this mean everyone should have a QR code that goes to their testimonial page? NO. Listen to your clients and see how they find you. See if you can capitalize on that information.
Perhaps you’d rather have your company contact info automatically inserted into their phone contacts?
Maybe you find that prospective patients respond well to your Youtube videos … have the code take them directly to your most popular Youtube videos; or create one in which you introduce yourself and explain what you do and how it’s different than other clinics. Then your business card literally becomes a video commercial!
Maybe you are really active with your Facebook Business page and it creates a number of patients for you? Have the QR code send the scanner there, and compel them to click ‘like.’
The options are numerous and I think we are bound to see more and more possibilities with what can be done with QR codes in the future.
Do you already have a QR code? Leave a comment below and tell us where it sends users and which of your marketing materials utilize it. Think all this is useful info? Share it with you colleagues on Facebook and Twitter.