Nov 15th 2011
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By Kara Haas, CPA
Have you considered QR Codes to promote your accounting practice? QR (Quick Response) Codes are a black and white patterned square able to house specific information.
QR Codes are showing up in Sunday newspapers, magazines and publications, on T-shirts, business cards, Web sites, blogs, and marketing collateral.
Users are taking advantage of these to gain information, comparison shop, and locate savings.
Care to share? The possibilities of what you can share are endless. Here is what accountants are using them to convey:
- Contact information
- Special events
- Feedback and surveys
- Communicating niche practice information
- Accounting and tax related updates
- Links to Web sites, blogs, newsletters, and social media profiles
Are you ready to get started?
You will need an application to generate the QR Code. There are both free and paid versions. I use a free generator from Kaywathat I learned about via the AICPA Insights post by Stacie Saunders.
Be sure to download a QR Code reader on your mobile device. Your users will a reader need to scan the code. There are multiple readers that exist in the application stores of your mobile device. I use Bakodo. Kaywa also offers a reader. Use a reader to test your code before circulating or posting. Be sure to optimize your text for mobile devices.
Keep track of your codes. If you are placing your codes on a Web site or blog or any place that gets ongoing traffic, be sure to keep the codes updated. QR Codes are similar to any other marketing material and you do not want your readers to see stale information.
Why bother with QR Codes? QR Codes keep your practice on pace with technology. If you cater to the current or next generation clients, it is important that you utilize current technology. You need to market and communicate with methods that you clients are using.
Searching for ways QR codes are being used in accounting, I found several CPAs and state CPA societies who are utilizing this technology.
Bill Sheridan, CAE, editor for the Maryland Association of CPAs (MACPA), utilizes QR Codes on the blog, CPA Success. Sheridan shared how he is currently utilizing QR Codes and how CPAs may want to consider implementing these codes in their practices:
- Sheridan uses QR Codes on MACPA business cards. The QR Code directs people viewing the cards to the individual LinkedIn profiles. He explained that it is an excellent way to give people additional information because the space on a business card is limited.
- He suggests CPAs consider using QR Codes to direct prospective and current clients to resources that promote an area of expertise. His example: If you have a niche in financial planning, consider using a QR Code on your marketing materials that directs readers to your financial planning articles, advice, FAQs, videos, and other resources that will set your firm apart from the competition. The clients will garner valuable information and you will be able to differentiate yourself as a thought leader in your area of expertise.
- As we begin to prepare for 2011 tax filings, Sheridan suggests accountants consider using QR Codes to send clients to a Web page full of information and resources needed to prepare documents for their tax returns. He explains, tax advice, forms, deadlines, and tax planners could be archived on a single Web page and promoted via QR Codes embedded in tax-related marketing materials.
- Finally, if making use of blogging, Facebook, or Twitter, you can use a QR Code to send users an archive of your social posts.
State societies are implementing QR Codes in conjunction with CPE events. Florida Institute of CPAs (FICPA) offers tips and tutorials for using both social media and QR codes. FICPA has QR Codes on its marketing collateral for CPE seminars to direct users to the site to obtain additional information about the event and speakers.
Are you currently using QR Codes? Share your creative ideas below.