According to a 2011 Forrester Research study, more than 15 percent of U.S. smartphone users now use 2D bar code software readers to scan QR (Quick Response) codes, two dimensional bar codes that can be read by cameras on smartphones. The codes provide instructions to guide the mobile browser to a specific URL or video server.The use of QR codes jumped by 10 percent in just one year. American consumers are scanning product QR codes on food packaging to learn more about the product's nutritional value, at the cash register to make mobile payments for their favorite coffees and on electronic gadgets to search and compare the best nearby deals.
As smartphone usage continues to grow, so will the use of QR code technology. For businesses, lawyers and law firmsin particular, the use of QR codes invigorates static promotional materials and signage branding. But the platform is only efficient if the businesses implementing them adhere to best practices such as:
If used at a physical location, such as a place of business, conference event or meeting, ensure that the area is well lit and has robust Internet connectivity.
Use software vendors with broadest reach for the development of codes and ensure their finished products support all major mobile operating systems. Test and retest.
Make sure the QR code links to mobile-optimized contextual material. Nothing is worse than to try to navigate a regular website on a mobile screen.
Call to Action
Be strategic about where you want the user to link to via your QR code. The landing page experience is crucial to your effectiveness. Use easy to click phone number links to generate immediate leads or event RSVPs.
Many law firms have begun leveraging the use of QR codes and 2012 is poised to see a dramatic increase in its use by law practicesof all types and sizes. There are many benefits mainly centered on generating awareness and establishing credentials, not to mention the positive environmental impact by reducing the amount of printed promotional material needed.
Here are 10 practical tips on how a law practicecan benefit from the use of QR codes:
- Streamline the information on business cards with QR codes that electronically transfer contact information and your firm's website address. That ensures prospects will have your information readily available on their smartphones without having to search for a physical card.
- Avoid too much text on your institutional type advertisements by placing a QR code on the creative material which links to a more customized business development landing site.
- Leverage event invitations with QR codes that provide corporate social responsibility background information about your firm's involvement in the community. Or these can link to video or photo sites of the prior year's event. The possibilities are endless.
- Place on new business development pitch materials linking to videos of key attorneys addressing specific law practices and thought leadership areas.
- Use on capabilities presentations to link each practice area to the firm's legal directory of attorneysor digital materials including, for example, a video executive summary.
- Place on a one-sheet recruitment document to link to your firm's diversity commitment newsletter highlighting the efforts of diverse attorney profiles in various offices and markets.
- Post on your firm's LinkedIn discussion group as a link to the firm's news portal.
- Place within each of the practices highlighted on your website to link to specific attorney presentation videos on your firm's YouTube channel.
- Use on conference lanyards when you sponsor an event, participate in a panel or have profile information published in a conference delegate packet.
- Use in all law firm directories and attorney rankings lists to drive readers to newly-launched and niche practice areas on your site.
The success of using QR codes will also depend on two additional factors: the accuracy of the code itself, and the user experience once a code has been scanned and followed.
Use the many free and paid-for online services to generate the QR codes but test and retest before you place anywhere. The worst thing you can do is generate a code that is unreadable. Do some research and use a reputable tool or design agency that has experience with QR codes.
The other key point is that the QR code should always drive the user to a mobile optimized website. The mobile user's interaction online from their smartphones is a completely different experience than on a desktop or laptop.
Set up your QR codes, track their effectiveness by using free online analytical tools. You'll be able to tell which codes are generating more inbound interest and adjust your placements as necessary.
You'll also be able to monitor the effectiveness of the different tools you use in your overall new business development campaigns. And even compare the lead generating performance among trade mediums and local business community outlets.
If you haven't started to incorporate QR codes in your law firm marketing efforts, you should evaluate the many benefits and develop a plan to begin leveraging soon.