In a recent blog post, we reported that the USPS is launching a QR Code promotion that will run from July 1, 2011 through August 31, 2011. If you want to get on the bandwagon and make the most of this promotion - now available for non-profits too - what do you need to know about this technology?
What are QR Codes and how do they work?
A Quick Response (QR) code is a two-dimensional or “matrix” barcode containing data that can be read by a smart phone using the phone’s camera and a QR code reader application. Once scanned, the QR code can direct the user to a URL, dial a phone number, set up a calendar event, direct you to an email address, send a SMS (text message), or provide geo-location (mapping) information.
If you’re not sure what to look for, you may have missed these small square boxes that are filled with complex patterns of black and white pixels. These pixels contain data which is scanned by a smart phone and most commonly triggers a web URL to launch on the scanner’s phone. QR codes have become the most common 2D barcode; however, there are more than 40 2D barcodes available for use. They contain a higher data capacity than other barcodes, and the usage of these barcodes is spreading from billboards to print advertisements to direct mail and even clothing.
How can they be used?
Turn a passive reader into an active participant. You could consider QR codes as physical hyperlinks produced on any offline printed material to direct readers online. Marketers are providing their audience with a simple and easy way to participate using the printed material regardless of their location. QR codes can link to just about anything, but should be relevant and interesting to the user. Why not test this latest technology as a means of providing just one more option for your donor, customer or member to respond?
There has been some controversy of the success of QR codes. Like any marketing media you use, it’s just another means to get your message to your consumer and it’s the message, offer and audience selection that really drives the success of a campaign. There are also best practices with QR codes that you should consider. I believe we’ll see more examples of QR codes in direct mail as consumers adapt to the technology.
For more information on how to use QR codes in your next direct mail campaign, send an email to email@example.com to request a copy of EU Services' March 2011 edition of its News & Insights newsletter.
You can also download EU's free resource guide, Bridging The Gap With QR Codes.