QR Codes – Part 3 – QR Codes and DENTISTRY…

This is part 3 of a 3 part blog about QR codes.

Part 1 – What is a QR code and how are they implemented?
Part 2 – Current uses of QR codes.
Part 3 – QR codes and dentistry. The future of QR codes.

QR Codes and dentistry

So how can QR technologies apply to dentistry?  For now, the potential marketing audience is limited to smart phone users.  Unlike our restaurant or food label examples, few people decide on a dentist when they are walking by their storefront.  Many uses of QR codes do not apply well to dentistry, but there are still many marketers trying to sell them because it’s the hot topic.

For dentistry, here are some basic ideas:

  1. The QR poster in the front office and front window that contains a vCard – This can be a quick way for patients to save your information in their cell phone.  The poster can also suggest they save the appointment in their smart phone calendar.  Think about it this way, the smart phone now has your address which it can integrate with their GPS software, it has your phone number which it can then dial, it has a calendar application they can schedule the appointment and reminders with, and it also has links to your web site.
  2. Traditional advertising – place QR codes linking to web sites on magazine ads.  You have to pay for ad space and a QR code is a great way to virtually extend it.  The user sees the ad and if they want more information they can scan the code.  Users without smart phones would need to retype web addresses.

For more advanced purposes, we have to think outside the box a little.

  1. Reviews – reviews are very important for doctors.  Online users often decided which doctor to visit based on reviews.  There are over 50 review sites that Google sees as official citation sites.  It is important that your reviews come from various sites and sources.  You should register your listing on about 5 of these (Google, Kudzu, Yahoo Local, CitySearch, Yelp, etc).  Generate 5 QR codes that link to each of the 5 review sites.  Print 5 different versions of business sized cards and a note to “Please Rate Us!”  Save the cards at the front desk and when you have a patient that you are pretty sure had a good experience and a smart phone, give them the card and ask if they will use it to review you.  You can even help them scan the code on the spot if they are not familiar with it and literally have a great review posted minutes after seeing a patient.
  2. Metrics – there are some QR products that provide metrics about who is scanning your code.
  3. Give something of value back – You are asking the user to do a small thing with their phone, why not give them something back.  At the airport I saw a bank advertising with QR codes.  Instead of selling their services, the bank had free eBooks for downloading to read in flight.  Other codes went to game downloads.  Give your patients something of value like a coupon off their next visit.
  4. Referrals – Use a metric based QR program and print a receipt with a custom QR code for each patient.  Tell them to make copies of the sheet for friends or family and for everyone that scans their code and comes in – they get $25 credit toward their account.
  5. Treasure chests!!!  Kid’s love the treasure chests at the local dentist.  Give them a scavenger hunt!   Create a scavenger hunt where each clue is a QR code posted somewhere (online, a sticker on a friendly business window, etc).  The codes link to a site with more clues or a phone number with a message with more clues, etc.  If they follow the trail give them free Xbox games!

These are just a few ideas – I’d love to hear more of your own in the comments or email them to me.

Future of QR Codes

Unfortunately, there are many advances coming out in the next few years which will most likely replace QR codes – so don’t fall in love with them.  Photo recognition will become less expensive and will replace QR Codes.

There are worries that as more and more companies jump on the QR code bandwagon that consumers will start to see them as visual litter.  Wine being bottled now may not hit the shelves for a few years; imagine 3-4 years from now when all of the wine bottles on the shelf have “old technology”.

Use QR codes wisely!

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