Do More with Direct Mail – QR Codes

Are you using direct mail to promote your business? Do you have a website? Have you considered connecting them with a QR code?

Contrary to what many believe, QR codes can do much more than connect a print piece to a website. They can open a map with directions, dial a phone number, start video playback or download an app. These small, two-dimensional squares pack a powerful punch, though many marketers haven’t used them to their full potential.

If you’re planning a direct mail campaign, think about creative ways that you can incorporate a QR code to connect the piece with your digital presence – but remember, the QR code should serve a purpose other than looking high-tech.

QR code best practices
Here are a few best practices to consider when using QR codes on your direct mail (or other print marketing) efforts:

  • Focus on objectives. Before you determine the function of your QR code, think about the objective of your mailpiece. Do you want recipients to buy a product? Connect them directly to the product page on your e-commerce site. Do you want people to schedule an appointment? Set the QR code to dial your office’s phone number.
  • Be sure the QR code has added value. As with any other call-to-action, recipients need an incentive to respond. Offer exclusive information, a coupon or a shortcut to completing a longer task through the QR code. Convenience is worth a lot these days.
  • Try out different looks. QR codes have requirements for aspect and contrast ratio, but designers have some flexibility with their design. Up to 30% of a code can be distorted or left out and it will still be read by most QR readers. Check out these specifications and have your graphic designer take some creative liberties with the code, even if it’s simply adding your logo.
  • Pay attention to the technical details. Don’t miss out on QR code conversions from factors that you can control:
    • Make sure your QR code meets minimum size requirements based on the amount of data it holds.
    • Test the code before the final printing, to ensure it functions correctly (read: sends the reader to the correct destination).
    • Whatever you do, don’t send the reader to a webpage that is not optimized for mobile. An important element of QR codes is added convenience – taking the reader to a desktop site on his or her mobile phone is not convenient.


A little inspiration.
These examples are from different print mediums, but the creative ideas behind each one can be applied to a direct mail campaign:

  • Spotify Premium playlist greeting cards.
  • Tesco Homeplus Virtual Subway Store.
  • JC Penney’s “Who’s Your Santa” campaign.
  • Instagram & Angry Birds advertisements (via KissMetrics).
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