How to use QR Codes to Transform Print Materials

By Cynthia Stephens, VP of Marketing, ByAllAccounts on Monday, December 31st, 2012

At last week’s Women Advisors Forum, I was reminded about how multi-faceted the role of a financial advisor is. Joni Youngwirth’s presentation hit home with me when she spoke about the HR, marketing, operations, and other roles an advisor plays to manage her practice.

When I created my presentation ― Making the most of technology to delight clients in a multi-screen world ― I was conscious that most advisors don’t have dedicated marketing staff or sizable marketing budgets. Marketing is just one of the many roles played.

How then, could I provide actionable, practice management tips revolving around marketing that an advisor could immediately put to use?

I chose to provide three specific examples and give options that would work across the various business models that exist (independent advisors, those working in a B/D, etc):

1.      Using QR Codes to transform traditionally flat print materials

2.      Understanding how advisors can effectively use tablets

3.      Making more effective use of laptops/PCs

In this post I’ll share tips on QR codes with you.

What’s a QR Code and why use one?

You’ve all seen these two-dimensional bar codes, in magazine ads, in an article or perhaps on a resume (you can see a ByAllAccounts example from a Financial Technologies Forum reconciliation event here.)

QR codes allow you to direct a client or potential client from their Smartphone to a specific web page simply by scanning the code.

Your clients use Smartphones for more than phone calls – they are a common starting place for online activities.   

A study by Google found that Smartphones are by far the most common starting point for sequential activity where we move from one device to another to complete a single goal. For instance, someone may begin online banking activities with a Smartphone and then complete the task on a laptop.

While you wouldn’t use Smartphones as the primary way to communicate with clients or potential clients you can use as one of the many tools in your marketing toolkit to:

  • Build relationships with the Gen X  / Gen Y children of your high-net-worth clients

  • Stay in touch with ultra high-net-worth clients that are always on the go

  • Better engage potential clients with a printed newsletter, letter, or other marketing piece and then track responses

How do you get started using QR Codes?

Using QR codes is simple and cost effective. For many advisors with little or no marketing budgets, you can get started for as little as $15 per month.

To start:

  1. Choose a webpage where you want to direct someone (e.g., your home page)

  2. Assign a QR Code for your project using a QR Code generator (such as http://qrcode.kaywa.com/)

  3. Download the QR code in the format you need (e.g., PDF, PNG, EPS)

  4. Track results (e.g., the # of scans of this code)

Once the QR Code is deployed your clients simply scan the QR Code and are taken immediately to the page you chose. (Note, they do need a free QR code reader on their Smartphone in order to scan it.)

How might you use one?

By now you are probably thinking: this all sounds great but how can I use them? I don’t have a marketing staff to create a print advertisement. I don’t know whether my legal/compliance department will let me use them.

To start, I suggest using them on approved / compliant materials. You can always link to an approved page on your firm’s website:

  • Quarterly Newsletter - so clients can go directly to your client portal to login.

  • Marketing flyer – so potential clients can go to your home page for more information

  • Business card - so potential clients can go directly to your website.

The start of a New Year is a great time to think about new ways of delighting your clients and potential clients. Allow yourself a few minutes to explore whether QR codes are right for your practice in 2013.

You May Also Be Interested In…

Hone your marketing initiatives (Complimentary Whitepaper)

How to use marketing to build pipeline (Webinar Replay)

Eliminating Manual Processing in Alts: Millennium Trust's McCartan (Blog post by James Carney, CEO, ByAllAccounts)

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