Let’s Revisit QR Codes in Dental Marketing

If you read this blog often, you know I love to answer questions for my clients. On Saturday, a client dentist asked me whether QR codes would work in his marketing strategy. I wrote about QR codes back in April, but this time I’ll delve into the topic a little more. We’ll start with basics, then get to some practical applications. If you have questions or want to know more, feel free to call or email me.

What is a QR code?

QR stands for “quick response.” A QR code is a square series of squares that leads someone to a website, makes a phone call, goes to a Google map, vcard or vcalendar, PayPal Buy Now link, iTunes link, social media page, YouTube video, SMS message or email address. In short, a QR code allows anyone to access the online/digital information you specify when you create your code. I created a QR code – that red box thing pictured here – to lead people to the MDPM website.

How does one get a QR code reader?

Anyone with a smartphone can download an app for a free QR code reader. Simply access the app, scan the code, and see where it leads.

How does a dentist create a QR code?

There are many QR code generators on the web. Here’s the one I used: http://www.qrstuff.com/.

What practical applications do QR codes have in dental practice marketing?

Today I found a QR code today on a box of steaks I purchased. Following it led me to the company’s website. Businesses have used QR codes for projects as complex as scavenger hunts and as simple as pulling up the company website.

Print your QR code on:

  • On direct mail
  • In print ads
  • On business cards
  • In the front window of a shop
  • Posted on signs around your office
  • On any products you give away
  • On stickers to put on absolutely anything
  • On t-shirts

Use your QR code for:

  • For promotions and giveaways
  • To get likes on Facebook and follows on Twitter
  • Quick-linking people to your map, phone, or email
  • To get people to subscribe to your email list
  • Scavenger hunts

Is marketing by QR code effective?

I hate to answer a question with a question, but: Who knows? You can opt to track your QR code campaign. Another good idea is to make sure that wherever your QR code leads, it lands on smartphone-compatible data. If you have a Flash website, for instance, iPhone users won’t be able to view it. Before you distribute your QR code, scan it from a few different types of phones and apps. If you print and mail thousands of postcards with a bad QR code, my bet is, your campaign will fail.

This sounds promising, from DigitalJournal.com:

Of the 14 million Americans who scanned QR Codes, 49.4% reported they scanned one from a print magazine or newspaper, 35.3% from product packaging, 27.4% from a website on PC, 23.5% from a poster/flyer/kiosk, 13.4% from a business card or brochure, 12.8% from a storefront, and 11.7% from a TV.  Read more: http://digitaljournal.com/article/310362#ixzz1Z0iXBuhx

Calvin Klein likes QR code marketing…

And among the broken links you’ll find when you google “dentists and qr code,” an orthodontist’s Facebook page pops up. There are also many blogs and websites that strive to explain QR codes, but there just isn’t much research showing whether they work for dentists. So, if you’re up for trying something new, consider this…

A QR code will provide just one more opportunity for potential patients to find out about your practice. Thinking logically, it would make good sense to print a QR code on the back of your patient referral cards (that is, a card you give to all of your patients in hope that they will pass it on to a friend, relative, or colleague.

To get your QR code in front of the public eye, buy a stamp, stickers, or have the code printed directly onto your patient referral cards. In theory, when your current patient is asked, “Do you know of a good dentist?” She could say yes, grab your card from her purse, and hand it over. The potential patient could scan the QR code, go to your website right then and there, and ask questions of your current patient. In this way, QR code provides a visual aid for word-of-mouth marketing. Alternately, the new patient may hold onto the card until she gets home, but it will be there when she needs it!

What would you be out? A QR code is free. Business cards cost as little as $20 a box. You really have nothing to lose, as long as the code works and your destination works.

If you DO try out QR codes and find them effective, we’d love to hear your story here.