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The benefits of using QR Codes in Direct Mail
You may have seen them beginning to appear on packaging, but had no idea what they are. The small squares containing black modules in random patterns (or two-dimensional bar codes) have been slowly making their presence felt in our weekly shop, on magazines and in newspapers.
They are QR codes, or Quick Response codes. It contains a URL, or PURL (personal uniform resource locator), which is something smartphones can read. The information contains a URL that the smartphone will take you to if you scan one of these codes. Unlike a bar code, they can be read at any angle.
They were originally designed for manufacturing vehicle parts and were invented by an offshoot of Toyota in Japan. Its potential for other things was quickly recognised, and integrated into the wider manufacturing base.So how do they benefit direct mail?
Remember to include a QR code on any free gift or business card that you include in your direct mail pack. Your prospects can keep this and always have a quick reference to your updated site.
- Getting in there quickly by adding a QR code to your mailing shows you’re at the forefront of technology.
- It’s easy to direct a visitor to the product or page on your website. No typing, no reading long URLs. Just point the smartphone camera at it, and the phone does the rest. It has never been easier to target traffic.
- It uses existing technology. Phones have been around for years, the internet too. The code itself is similar to a barcode, so there is no learning curve. A lot of people have smartphones, so everything is already in place.
- Including a QR code on direct mail is a call to action in itself. A quick click and the person is there. Remember to tell people how to scan the code. Strike while the idea is hot.
- It’s possible to have unique URLs or PURLs for truly individual response tracking. Ideal for reporting, and tweaking a mail campaign.
Using QR codes is a great innovation for direct mail, but it doesn’t make up for a poor package. It isn’t a magic pill to make every campaign bear fruit; it’s another tool in your marketing arsenal. Not everyone has smartphones yet, so only a percentage of your market will be able to use them. It’s therefore important to include your usual contact details, as well.
As always, quality copy, effective calls to action, and a clear path to purchase are still vital to the success of any campaign. Add the mailing list itself and nothing much has changed. Considering their size, and potential benefit, the use of QR codes in direct mail is certain to take off. The ability to tie in another way of speaking to the prospect, and another way of them getting to the product, especially in so few steps, can only be a good thing.
The direct mail package still provides the same challenges it always has, but now we have one more tool to call your prospects to action.The uses of QR codes in marketing are limited only by your imagination.