4 Ways QR Codes Can Ignite Your Marketing Efforts

smartphone displaying a QR Code
By Peter Decoteau

I’ll be the first to admit it: I was skeptical of QR codes when they began to catch on in the mid-to-late aughts. I found them to be more trouble than the problem they were attempting to solve; that it was easier to just do a Google search or type in a URL address than it was to bring up a special app and snap a pic where the code fit just so.

Well, between technological advances making the use of QR codes much easier and a global pandemic requiring limited touching of public surfaces, QR codes have had a resurgence in the last few years that eventually became impossible for me to deny. Simpler, faster, and more necessary than ever before, QR codes have been adopted by even the least technically proficient among us, making them a great tool for marketers — at least those willing to consider their uses outside of digital restaurant menus.

Below are some examples of how you can incorporate QR codes into the marketing efforts of your physical therapy practice.


Remember what I said about the trouble of using QR codes outweighing their benefits? A perfect counterpoint to that argument would be online reviews. Asking satisfied customers for reviews is a key part of building a strong online reputation, but expecting patients to remember to follow through once they get home, get to the right link, make sure they’re logged in, and then take the time to write a review seems like a big ask. Sending a follow-up email with a link to the review form can help make the process easier, but even that requires a patient email address (not always a given), a successful delivery through spam filters and cluttered inboxes, a click-through, and follow-through. Enter the QR code — a perfect opportunity to provide an easy link that can be posted around your clinic and included on business cards or other handouts. These on-site reminders and fast access points to forms where they can write reviews, paired with in-person asks, can encourage patients to open and complete reviews in your waiting area or in the clinic during downtime. Try it out and watch your online reputation soar.


We’ve talked a lot about the value of good content, as well as the ways that content can be used across platforms to reach different audiences. The QR code is another tool that, when used strategically, can help you successfully cross-promote across numerous venues and get the most out of your content. Including links to relevant videos, blog posts, or downloadable information packets on printed materials is a great way to do just that. For example, if you’re sponsoring and attending a race event in your town, you likely have staff manning a booth, perhaps stretching racers, offering free consultations, or just meeting attendees. In this instance, you can include a QR code on informational handouts that links directly to a video demonstration of trigger point dry needling for leg muscle pain or the top five pre- and post-run stretches you should do to prevent pain or injury. These pieces of content may have been produced for digital engagement, but QR codes make the leap from the digital to the interpersonal that much easier.


Conversations with current or prospective patients and referrers typically happen outside the clinic, whether at events, in other medical facilities, or just on the street. It’s rare to have an opportunity to show off all of the things that make you a great option for physical therapy and a great resource for referring physicians, and sometimes talking your clinic up just doesn’t cut it. By adding QR codes to things like business cards, flyers, and other handouts, you can create an opportunity to “show, don’t tell” so people can get to know your organization better. For example, highlight staff in video introductions, take a virtual clinic tour, or share demonstrations of cutting-edge clinical techniques in action. There’s an added benefit of including these links in quarterly or biannual company update sheets for referring physicians, because they act as a great reason to reconnect with your referrers on a regular basis.


In the examples above, QR codes make it easier to move from an in-person interaction to some form of digital platform engagement. Of course, earning five-star reviews, sharing content, and showcasing your assets are all important marketing strategies, but at the end of the day they’re tactics that serve one ultimate goal: to increase business. While the challenge of converting real-life interactions into clinical visits has persisted despite technological advancements, QR codes may just be the best solution currently available. Include QR codes on appointment request forms, either for initial evaluations or when you’re promoting free assessments, and create an opportunity to get the ball back in your court, so to speak. Instead of handing off your information and hoping the person follows through later, you can encourage them to use their phone to submit their information on the spot, putting the responsibility — and opportunity — of follow-through back in your hands. 

Peter Decoteau

Peter Decoteau is the Director of Marketing at Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine Centers (PTSMC), Connecticut’s largest private practice physical therapy company. He can be reached at peter.decoteau@ptsmc.com.

Copyright © 2018, Private Practice Section of the American Physical Therapy Association. All Rights Reserved.

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