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What QR Codes Are and How to Use Them with Direct Mail

What is all the talk about QR codes and why are they starting to appear everywhere? Can QR codes be used with direct mail marketing and other marketing efforts? What is a QR code? MSI is a Sacramento direct mail company that will help answer everything you ever wanted to know about QR codes.

QR codes and their function 

In technical terms, a QR code is a 2-dimensional code (or specific matrix barcode) that can be read by cameras and dedicated QR barcode readers.  The code is comprised of a series of black modules that have been arranged in a square pattern and then placed on a white background.  Additionally, the encoded information contained in QR codes can be data, text, or URL’s.  QR codes were originally created by Denso-Wave, a Toyota subsidiary, in 1994 and they are one of the more popular forms of 2-dimensional barcodes today. 

In more simple terms, QR codes can be likened to barcodes on steroids and are utilized to encode information in a 2-dimensional space such as advertising, magazine pages, TV, and websites.  Toyota initially began using them in order to track down auto parts but they have evolved into a broader application including commercial use. 

How do QR codes differ from standard barcodes? 

The basic difference between a QR code and a standard barcode is that the latter is utilized to encode data on a horizontal plane where scanners read the distance and width between the vertical lines of that barcode.  Conversely, data is encoded horizontally and vertically on QR codes by employing a grid full of tiny squares; hence they are 2-dimensional in nature compared to one-dimensional barcodes.  Whereas QR codes are extremely useful and have a broad range of applications, standard barcodes have little use other than to identify objects and products. 

Using QR codes in a direct mail marketing campaign 

One of the primary benefits of using QR codes instead of standard barcodes is that you can use them to integrate your direct mail marketing campaign with your online advertising efforts.  QR codes are an intelligent way of connecting offline marketing endeavors with online marketing.  When a mail recipient scans that QR code, it takes them to a “Landing Page” where they can sign up for special pricing and other useful information. 

You can also offer other options such as e-mail, SMS messaging, or signing up for other types of mailings.  In so many words, you are able to communicate with your target audience in the exact way that they want to be communicated with.  QR codes are extremely powerful in that they have the ability to provide your clients or customers with information instantaneously. 

QR codes are a powerful marketing tool that shouldn’t be ignored.  Here are 5 reasons for using QR codes in your direct mail marketing campaign: 

  • You can use QR codes to display text such as a coupon code
  • It’s a great way to reach your target audience and entice them into immediate action
  • You can integrate QR codes into any offer
  • Connect your offline advertising (direct mail) with your online advertising efforts
  • QR codes are much more effective than most of those flash-in-the-pan advertising fads that deplete marketing resources 

Another issue is simplicity.  Creating a QR code involves only one additional step than what is involved in creating a mailing piece, namely the inclusion of a high-resolution QR code. 

Sign up for the MSI newsletter to find out about special discounts for direct mail campaigns using QR Codes.

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