What Do QR Codes Have to Do With Direct Mail Response Rates?

Person Scanning QR code on PaperWhen evaluating the performance of your direct mail campaign, response rate carries the day. The average response rate for direct mail campaigns clocks in at 4.4%, and while this may seem low compared to average email click-through rates, the challenge of reaching email inboxes and achieving high open rates makes direct mail campaigns all the more important and valuable. 

With more than 76% of those surveyed trusting direct mail more than other forms of marketing communication, marketers have an opportunity to leverage this trust by creating direct mailers designed to increase response rates.  

Quick response (QR) codes help make your direct mailer more dynamic, which in turn makes the campaign valuable to your recipients and increases the likelihood they respond to your content or offer. With this in mind, let’s look a little closer at QR codes and why they can be key in helping you increase your direct mail response rates. 

QR codes help make your direct mailer more interactive

Though it’s an effective marketing and communication tool, direct mail has historically been a more static channel compared to digital counterparts like email — even with engaging design and compelling copy. 

Incorporating QR code technology creates a more interactive environment for the user to explore your products or services in the palm of their hand via their smartphone. As an easy-to-use bridge between the print and digital world, QR codes can incorporate a variety of content to extend and expand on the messaging of your mailer in a way consumers are readily familiar with — more than 100 million QR code scans are expected annually by 2025

Plus, designing direct mail with dynamic QR codes — those where the link contained within the code can be updated as new content becomes available — compared to static codes not only allows you to keep your mailer relevant or timely, but it also makes it much more likely the recipient hangs onto the mailer for much longer, so long as you call out that the content launched from the code will be updated. 

QR codes that launch video content are a relatively simple yet very effective way to extend the user experience and help drive increased response rates. Whether it’s a how-to video that helps the user overcome a specific obstacle or a demonstration video that details how your product or solution works, QR codes that launch videos can be powerful in showing your target audience the value your company provides as opposed to showing them via large amounts of copy or complicated images. 

Marketers can also use QR code technology to launch an augmented reality (AR) component that creates a more immersive landscape to help users experience your product and service in a new or unexpected way. AR experiences such as 3D models or 360° views can help users interact with content from a different point-of-view that demonstrates the innovation and problem-solving ability your company provides. 

QR codes can make it faster and easier to take a desired action

One of the most important components of your direct mail piece is the call-to-action (CTA), and QR codes can create something of an express lane for recipients to act on your CTA in a clean, streamlined way. 

While shortened or custom URLs can simplify the jump from print to digital, QR codes make the transition even faster and more seamless, especially for users who are engaging with your mailer via a smartphone or tablet. A recent study found that 80% of B2B buyers are using mobile, and more than 60% said that the ability to use mobile made a large impact on their decision to make a purchase.

This makes QR codes in direct mail even more valuable because of how many of today’s decision-makers are spending just as much time on mobile devices as they are on their computers. Plus, QR code scans that can direct the recipient of your direct mailer to the desired location in a matter of seconds removes barriers in terms of time restrictions or hassle with manually entering URLs. 

Examples of how to use QR codes in this in way include: 

  • Landing pages: Whether your goal is to have a recipient register for an event, download a piece of content, or join an email list, QR codes that open landing pages make it easier for the users to complete a form, submit a request, or sign up for regular mailings.
  • Emails: Yes, you can design a QR code to automatically open a default email app with a custom subject line to make it faster and easier for the recipient to connect with you relative to the content of your mailer. 
  • A phone call: Even with the ubiquity of email use, a recent survey found that 57% of C-Suite and VP Buyers still prefer engaging via a phone call compared to other communication methods. Using a QR code to open a phone call to your sales team plays into a communication method your customer may feel comfortable using, and it overcomes an obstacle many decision-makers struggle with: finding the time to pick-up the phone.

Bottom line: QR codes can increase the response rate of your direct mail campaign by creating a user-friendly avenue to gain more information about who you are and what you do with nothing more than the technology most recipients carry in their pocket every day. 

Bonus: QR codes help you better understand how your target audience is responding to your messaging

When discussing QR codes in direct mail and response rates, we’d be remiss to not briefly touch on how QR codes can provide you with valuable data and insight into how your target audience responds and interacts with your content and messaging. 

Each QR code scan means the recipient was moved or affected in a way that made them take the appropriate action. With the right tracking system, you can monitor and measure a variety of scan data including total scans vs. unique scans, scans by operating system, scans by location, and more. This brand of data can provide a deeper understanding of how the messaging of your mailer resonated with your audience.  

Plus, for marketers who do incorporate an AR experience via a QR code, you can also look at such metrics as how much time recipients spent in the experience, which elements they interacted with the most, number of clicks, and a variety of other multichannel data points that can help you better understand what your audience wants, and the kind of content or offers they’re most likely to engage with or respond to. 

There’s no magic formula for creating direct mail with a robust response rate, but QR codes can put marketers in a better position to execute more effective direct mail campaigns, and Quantum Group can help you print high-quality direct mail that achieve your goals and objectives. Download our new guide, How to Execute a High-ROI Postcard Campaign, to optimize your next direct mail campaign.