QR codes have been all the rage lately in the marketing realm. Chances are pretty good that you've encountered one of these pixelated squares on an advertisement, or in a random spot around town, and scanned it with your smartphone. Why did you scan it? Probably because you were curious about where it would take you. And that's exactly why the person who created the ad put it there; to peak your curiosity and have you interact with their brand.
NOTE: If you read the first paragraph of this post and said "QR Code, What the heck is that?" stop what you're doing right now and head over to The Optical Vision Site and read their article about Why Eyecare Professionals Should Use QR Codes. It does a great job of covering all the QR Code basics from functionality to compatibility and has some great ideas on how to use QR codes as well.
So what's stopping an eyecare practice from using QR codes in unique ways to grow business? Not Much! There are many places around your office where you could use a QR code. Here are a few ways that we think are useful:
Create Special Offers/QR Promotions - One of the great things about QR codes is that they don't give away any information until someone actually scans the code with their smartphone. This means you could offer deep discounts to the customers who are savvy enough to scan the code and not everyone. Here's another idea: create a BUNCH of QR codes that lead to web pages that display a certain discount like 0, 5, 10, or 15% and put all of them up on a wall or board. When a customer is ready to check out have them scan the QR code of their choice to see if they won a discount!
Link to Your Social Media Accounts - If you happened to scan the QR code at the top of this article, you saw that it took you to a landing page that links to all of our social media accounts. Setting up a landing page that has this functionality is super easy. We used Build Your Own Smart Site to create a custom branded landing page that allows quick access to all of our social media sites and a landing page for our Show Special at Vision Expo West. This is great idea because it will allow whoever scans your code to quickly find you online and "Follow" or "Like" you once they do.
Interact with Patients - Believe it or not, QR codes actually give you the opportunity to hear back from your patients. One of our favorite examples of this comes from, of all places, an OBGYN. When Dr. Randy Smith sends follow up letters to parents of new borns he always includes a QR code that links to the Stork's Corner section of his website where parents can submit pictures of their child's progress. We think that this same concept could be applied to an eyecare practice. Next time you send a follow up letter or postcard to your patients, include a QR code that links to a page where your patients can submit pictures of themselves in their new glasses, sunglasses, or contacts. Share these pictures on your Facebook or on your website. It's a great way to show everyone that your customers are not only sporting the latest styles from your practice, but also happy.
Since QR codes are somewhat new to everyone, they are susceptible to being used improperly or in the wrong places. One place where you should definitely NOT be putting a QR code is anywhere that's already online. QR codes are meant for printing! Putting one in an email or on your website completely defeats the purpose of the QR code. It is redundant (and a bigger hassle) to have them scan an online code with their phone when clicking a link with their mouse does the same thing. The beauty of the code is that someone can see a print ad, scan it, and then be taken to an online location with functionality that a print ad is incapable of. So remember to keep your QR codes on something physically printed and offline.
Have you used QR codes in your practice? What did you use them for and did you think that they were successful? Tell us your ideas and experiences with QR codes by commenting below!
For more information on QR Codes, visit the Optical Vision Site!