Professional services firms must meet the growing mobile expectation

13-Mobile-Stats-(ASL)People are researching and buying services and products on their mobile devices in growing numbers. Successful firms must offer a mobile-optimized experience for clients and prospects to learn more about the organization and engage with its professionals, or risk losing business to their competitors who do.

Below is a combination of published data and proprietary usage data from our Vizibility users.

People use mobile devices to make purchase decisions with growing frequency.

  • Of the 1.2 billion computing devices sold in 2012, smartphones and tablets out-shipped PCs by 2-to-1. (ZDNet)
  • 61% of smartphone users make local searches from a device (Localeze/15miles Fifth Annual comScore Local Search Usage Study February 2012)
  • 79% of smartphone owners use their device to make or influence a buying decision and 74% make a purchase as a result (Google, Ipsos)
  • Nearly 1 in 5 smartphone users scan barcodes such as QR codes to get more information (comScore 2012)

Companies without a mobile strategy are driving business to their competitors.

  • It’s not just products, people are also looking for professional services. 21% of smart phone users and 12% of tablet users have searched for a professional like an attorney using their device. (“How Today’s Consumers Really Search for an Attorney,” LexisNexis 2012)
  • 72% of buyers expect you to have a mobile-friendly web site (Sterling Brands and SmithGeiger study 2012)

  • 61% of customers who visit a mobile unfriendly site are likely to go to a competitor’s site (Karim Temsamani at IABALM 2012 via IAB)
  • Only 29% of the top 100 U.S. law firms have a mobile-friendly web site (up from 12% in 2011)
  • Only 15% of the top 100 U.S. accounting firms have a mobile-friendly web site
  • 67% are more likely to buy from a business with a mobile-friendly site (Google). The top uses (Harris Poll 2012) for smartphones, tables and computers are:
    • Smartphones
      • 89% stay engaged
      • 82% research and news
      • 75% navigate/directions
    • Tablets
      • 78% research and news
      • 74% stay engaged
      • 61% social networking
    • Computers
      • 84% read email
      • 81% research and news
      • 69% social networking
  • Don’t be a mobile frenemy. 57% won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile site (Google)

Mobile friendly organizations engage with customers and prospects better and more often

The top two mobile marketing objectives for businesses are increasing customer engagement (71%) and generating revenue (56%) (ClickZ, 2012)

  • 70% of smartphone owners call a business after searching (The Mobile Playbook)
  • 19% of professionals with a QR code on their business cards get scanned at least once every 30 days (Vizibility, December 2012)
  • People spend an average of two minutes with a professional’s Mobile Business Card on their smart phone as compared to less than a minute on a web page on a PC (Nielsen Norman Group)

To be competitive today, organizations must be ready to engage with customers and prospects on mobile devices. And if you needed any further proof about the future, Ping Mobile announced recently that more kids know how to use a smartphone than how to tie a shoe.

Next steps you can do right now

  • Create a mobile home page
  • Create mobile bios for professionals
  • Add QR codes on business cards that point to Mobile Business Cards
  • Contact ALL-STATE LEGAL to learn more about hosted Mobile Business Card solutions for your professionals

The Sterne Kessler Vizibility QR Code Integration

In 2010, Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox initiated a multi-phased project to refresh the look of its printed materials.  The initial phase of the project involved redesigning and reproducing the firm’s engraved letterhead.  The second phase was focused largely on redesigning the firm’s business cards.

The firm initially wanted to print personalized QR codes on the back of each business card that would link to a v-card (one dimensional contact information).  After being introduced to Vizibility, Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox opted to incorporate the more robust QR code solution – the Vizibility Mobile Business Card solution.

the why: The firm’s objective was freshening its image to keep pace with its sophisticated high tech intellectual property practice.  Adding QR codes with links to the Vizibility Mobile Business Card technology was a natural fit.  QR codes represent cutting edge technology which serves to bolster the firm’s image among the most technologically advanced and sophisticated firms in the legal marketplace.

the how: Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox and their ALL-STATE LEGAL Sales Representative, Grant Tschudy, worked together to produce and roll out an entirely new stationery suite.  When it came time to work on the second phase, the firm’s business cards, Grant and Tammy discussed that while her committee was divided about the concept of using QR codes on business cards, several partners independently approached the marketing team and inquired about QR codes after seeing them on other business cards and marketing materials.  This prompted additional research and discussion.

When the Vizibility Mobile Business Card technology was introduced, Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox’s marketing team immediately recognized the value of the Vizibility Code and the fit with their image and culture.    Their only concern was whether or not the work necessary to create the Vizibility mobile business card was in any way redundant to their ongoing efforts to build a mobile-ready website.  We were able to show the firm that the mobile business card solution was not in conflict with, but rather complemented, its efforts to build a mobile website.

the outcome:  Within a few days, Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox elected to purchase the Vizibility solution, and to add a Vizibility QR code to the back of its redesigned business cards.  ALL-STATE LEGAL seamlessly coordinated the exchange of information necessary to produce both the Vizibility mobile business card and the engraved and printed business cards.

We did this by creating a single spreadsheet designed to capture all necessary employee data in one concentrated effort.   We then integrated all of this  nformation into both the Vizibility platform and our online ordering platform so that the firm would have the ability to view complete business card templates, with Vizibility QR codes, and begin placing reorders online almost immediately following the rollout of the new printed business cards.

Ultimately, ALL-STATE LEGAL successfully completed the project – data collection, QR code production, seamless integration with Vizibility to create the mobile business cards, production of the engraved and printed business cards, construction of the online ordering platform, and delivery to the off-site meeting and the firm’s office location – within budget, on time, and to the firm’s complete satisfaction.

in their words:

“I couldn’t see a downside to adopting QR codes, especially for a firm like ours.  As an intellectual property firm, we understand and embrace technology and we want to be seen as tech forward.  Vizibility provides us with a perfect opportunity to do just that at a reasonable cost.

The most challenging and time-consuming part of the project was coming to an agreement within the firm about how the business cards should look.  Once we decided on a design, the implementation of the QR codes and the printing of the business cards was the easy part.  Everything went smoothly.  ALL-STATE LEGAL did the heavy lifting by importing all of the information that was needed to print the business cards and create the Vizibility mobile business cards, which allowed me to focus on the ‘surprise’ rollout to our partnership.

You have to find people you can trust because you can’t be in control of every detail yourself.  Grant understands what’s going on at our firm, and he knows what we need.  I invited him to join me at the rollout of the new business cards to the partnership because I wanted to demonstrate that he and ALL-STATE LEGAL are important business partners for the firm.”

Want to see a sample of the Sterne Kessler QR Code? Visit www.aslegal.com/SterneKessler or to see a live sample, send your request to email@aslegal.com.

QR Codes – It’s What’s Behind Them That Matters

Many of us have seen QR codes and recognize them as the hottest new trend in business development, but how many of us are really harnessing the power of mobile technology by using these funny looking boxes? Let’s start with the basics.

What are QR codes?

QR (quick response) codes, in their most basic form, are two dimensional barcodes that can be scanned by virtually any smartphone or tablet with the use of a free application and the device’s camera. Since QR codes can contain over 7,000 data points (as opposed to the 12 numerals stored in a one dimensional UPC barcode), the possibilities are seemingly endless.

QR codes act as the bridge between printed materials and online content. They can link readers to any content such as downloadable contact information, blogs, videos, calendar reminders or other unique online content.

Are law firms really interested in QR codes?

According to a 2011 Vizibility study of legal professionals from top firms, 79% of legal marketers already use QR codes or plan to start using them in 2012.

Law firms are attracted to QR codes because they empower firms to make better connections with potential clients and make their printed materials interactive.  By leveraging mobile technology, firms make it quick and easy to jump from printed pieces to online interaction with a firm.

According to Jonathan D. Frieden, a principal of Odin, Feldman, and Pittleman and an e-commerce and technology attorney, “QR Codes bridge a gap between how we exchange information and how we store it. Clients and prospective clients are looking for the fastest way to capture and store our contact information, without retaining unnecessary paper. By utilizing this technology, we’re helping them do that.”

What’s behind QR codes?

The single most important principle of using QR code technology is that it’s what is behind them that matters. The best implementers of the technology use the codes to link users to relevant and engaging content. They continually rely on this principle as a rudder for navigating through the entire process, from gaining buy in at the firm to positioning the codes to increase the likelihood of potential clients scanning them.

When planning, always consider these two points:

  1. The call to action – what should the scanner see, do, and learn about the firm or an individual attorney?
  2. The target audience – what do the firm’s target clients look like, where will they encounter the code, and how will they interact with the information presented to them?

The legal and professional services industries use mainly three types of QR codes.

Basic URL – links to one destination

This traditional QR code can be linked to one URL/website address. Typically, these have been linked to either the firm’s home page, to a bio page or contact page for that individual. Linking to a mobile optimized site is always advised, but not often accomplished in practice.

vCard – links to contact information

Typically seen on business cards, this traditional QR code allows the reader to download the individual’s contact information. The code must be kept to only the most pertinent information (name, firm, phone, email) to ensure optimal readability.

Vizibility – links to mobile business card

The most powerful QR code for professional services. This code is designed to fully leverage the capabilities of mobile technology, search engines and social media in one powerful Mobile Business Card.  Vizibility’s dynamic codes do the work of more than 3 traditional QR codes.  You can link to contact information, network through common social media connections, provide multiple links to websites such as blogs, videos, and LinkedIn, and ensure the reader finds your professionals online with verified Google results all optimized for viewing and interacting on smart phones.

Should I pay for QR codes?

There are a host of websites that tout the availability of free QR codes and how quick and painless it is for businesses to adopt the technology and incorporate it into their communication plans. As with most things that are “free” – BUYER BEWARE! Many law firms that have chosen to use these providers have been frustrated with the unreliability of the codes they’ve received. The biggest issue they have faced is the time, resources, and overall logistics required to create, proof, and organize a set of QR codes that is ready to be turned over to a printer.

Proper planning and a knowledgeable printer will make implementation of a QR code strategy much smoother, especially when the project involves administering codes and information for multiple attorneys.

Work with an expert

To harness the true power of QR codes, law firms should partner with a provider who simplifies the process, educates you on your options, has a protocol for reproducing quality codes and materials, and incorporates testing into several key phases of the creation and production process. Having a printer handle the project from the beginning has proven to be the most efficient and effective way to ensure that a firm’s QR codes will be created and printed correctly for maximum scanning.

By choosing to work with a knowledgeable printer, law firms will get the added benefit of having a resource to help with designs. For example, when a firm is deciding where to put a QR code on its business cards, it can either choose to tout the code on the front of the cards to bolster the firm’s image as “technologically advanced,” or it can choose to more subtly introduce the code on the back of the card. A seasoned printer can provide the pros and cons of each approach, both from a technical standpoint and as a partner that’s guided other law firms through this maze of questions and helped deliver the best tool to suit the firm’s objectives.

Tammy Mangan, Director of Marketing Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox, had this to say when asked about her experience with QR codes, “I couldn’t see a downside to adopting QR codes, especially for a firm like ours. As an intellectual property firm, we understand and embrace technology and we want to be seen as tech forward. QR codes and Vizibility provides us with a perfect opportunity to do just that at a reasonable cost.  Once we decided on a design, the implementation of the QR codes and the printing of the business cards was the easy part.  Everything went smoothly.  ALL-STATE LEGAL did the heavy lifting by importing all of the information that was needed to print the business cards and create the Vizibility mobile business cards, which allowed me to focus on the ‘surprise’ rollout to our partnership.”

Getting started or just trying to make it easier?

Whether you are just starting to look into QR codes, you have a comprehensive QR code strategy in place, or you are somewhere in between, it’s important to remember that it’s what’s behind QR codes that matters. Keep your clients and prospective clients in mind. And when you are ready to evaluate the implementation process for QR codes, be sure to choose a proven partner that will offer ease of administration, ongoing resources, and industry knowledge. With an effective strategy and an experienced business partner, your firm can leverage the power of QR codes and bolster its business development efforts.

 If you have any questions about QR Codes, their uses or would like to see samples, call ALL-STATE LEGAL at 800.222.0510.