Using QR codes in direct mail is a smart practice that is making a big comeback, thanks to marketers who are taking advantage – finally – of its potential to connect brands and customers.
QR (for Quick Response) codes have actually been around since the early 1990s and were first used for inventory control. Unlike regular barcodes that you find on groceries, they hold more types of data because they are encoded in two different directions at once.
QR codes appeared all over direct mail back starting around 2008. However, they failed to catch on as a popular response option, even though the U.S. Postal Service offered a promotional discount when they were placed on a mail piece. Why?
Customers didn’t know what they were for. Finding and downloading the right app, then trying to scan was a clunky process. It was easier just to type in a web address.
Also, many marketers didn’t see it as anything but a quick way to access a website. Once there, there was no dedicated landing page. And many websites lacked a responsive design, or worse, were not mobile-friendly at all.
It’s a different world today thanks to the adoption of the smartphone, which is now in the driving seat of ecommerce. Also, nearly all camera apps now read a QR code, so there’s no need to download a separate app.
You can use a QR code on your mailer to instantly help your customer bridge the gap from the physical world to the digital world. Like Informed Delivery it’s all about creating a better overall customer experience besides saving them a few taps on their phone’s keyboard.
To deliver a good direct mail QR code experience, you should consider the following tips.
Include Helpful Instructions
Not everyone is tech-savvy. Depending on your brand’s audience, you may have to spell out on your mailing how to scan the code.
For example: “Open your phone’s camera app and hold over the QR code”.
Add Weight to Your Call to Action
Lots of mailings use a bland caption for their QR code (e.g., “Scan here to shop”). Helping them make that jump from the mailpiece to the website easier is certainly important, but give them value, like urgency, or a reminder of the offer.
“Scan now to save 15% on your bill”
“Get a free personal quote here”
“Watch our latest campaign video”
“Rejoin today to keep your member benefits”
Consider what you want the customer to do. If you want to increase your social engagement, your QR code can direct them to your Facebook or Instagram pages.
A QR code can also be a jumping off point for a consumer to open an app that employs augmented reality (AR), such as positioning furniture.
Build Your Brand
Including a QR code in your direct mail says that your brand is omnichannel, especially when you present a unified experience. You can also, depending on your code generator, customize your mail’s QR codes with your brand colors as well as your logo.
Wrapping it up
Adding QR codes to your direct mail campaigns can do more than improve traffic to your website or social media. They can be a part of a strategy to meet your customers wherever they are, in whatever channel.
Here at mailing.com, we’re using the latest technology to power the direct mail we manage for our partners. Contact our team to find out how we can incorporate QR codes into your mail piece’s design – we’d love to hear from you!