[IMGCAP(1)]You have likely seen square bar codes appearing on ads, catalogs and magazines everywhere. But what are they and what purpose do they serve?

They are called QR codes, or quick response codes. A QR code is a two-dimensional code that can be read with a QR bar code reader or application on your mobile device. Each QR code is unique and can be driven to any digital information you want, like a URL, contact information or other data.

QR codes are helping bridge the gap between the print and digital marketing by providing a quick way to immediately engage people with your company. People are busy and most of us have very short attention spans. This means we have to capture and engage with people in the moment with relevant information.

QR codes present a lot of opportunity for accounting firms due to their versatility and tracking capabilities. If you want to explore QR codes, here is how to get started.

1.    Decide where you want to place the QR code. This is usually placed on print materials, like your business card, marketing materials, advertisements, trade show materials or mailed lead generation or drip marketing campaign materials.

2.    Decide what action you want your visitor to take. Using a QR codes allows you to drive people to do something, so you have to decide what you want that action to be. It could be as simple as downloading your contact information, liking your Facebook page or downloading a document.

3.    Craft your message. Your message or the content you are sharing should be relevant to the materials the QR code is being placed on. For example, if you’re running a campaign promoting experience in health care, consider creating a landing page that communicates your depth of experience and offers up a free white paper on the hot topic of the moment that the visitor can download.

[IMGCAP(2)]4.    Generate your QR code. QR codes are easy to create and most sites don’t charge for creating codes. My personal favorite is I-nigma. They have a free tool that allows you to generate your QR code quickly. They also have tracking capabilities.

5.    Market your QR code. Once you have generated you code, you will need to market it by placing it on relevant materials. Be creative with where you place your code, keeping in mind that you want people to take action.

6.    Track your success. Depending on what action you are trying to drive, you will likely want to track your progress. Make sure that the QR code generator you choose to use has analytics if that is important to you.

Sarah Johnson is the Chief Growth Strategist with Inovautus Consulting, a firm that works with CPA, Law and professional service firms to help them grow more effectively, and author of Practical Ideas for Growth, a blog dedicated to growing professional firms. Her counsel and strategies have helped move firms to the next level in their marketing and sales efforts. Connect with Sarah at 773-634-9902, sjohnson@inovautus.com, or www.linkedin.com/in/sjjohnson.