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How To Track Direct Mail Using QR Codes
February 9, 2022

How To Track Direct Mail Using QR Codes

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Kim Courvoisier

An effective omnichannel marketing strategy should incorporate direct mail to complement other digital channels. In the past, direct mail may have been hard to track and attribute results from. However, with today's automated direct mail platforms, tracking and robust analytics are out of the box features that will enable you to optimize your campaigns in ways you never thought possible.

Using QR codes in your direct mailpieces provides you the ability to not only track the results of the piece but to create an experience for the recipient. Utilizing QR codes correctly can:

  • Produce a higher return on investment (ROI)
  • Increase customer retention
  • Identify and capture new customers
  • Increase customer LTV (Life Time Value)
“We’ve decided not to go completely electronic, as having a multi-channel engagement strategy increases our retention rates. For example, some people will take a postcard and hold onto it until they are ready to renew. Personally, postcards on my fridge are a reminder of the things I don’t necessarily have time to do right away. And everybody has enough email.”- Ameet Shahani, Director of Technology for CPH & Associates Insurance, Inc.

QR code basics

Short for 'Quick Response,' a QR code can store around 4,000 characters and 100 times more information than a barcode. As modern as these codes might seem, they first appeared in the mid-90s, invented by Masahiro Hara, the chief engineer of a Japanese subsidiary of Toyota. The codes were used to track vehicles and parts through the manufacturing process.

QR codes are readable with camera apps on devices including smartphones. They store information (such as the address to a custom landing page on your website) as a series of pixels in a square grid that can be read top to bottom and right to left. With these unique attributes, they outperform standard barcodes that can only be read top to bottom, and QR codes are still functional with up to 30% damage to the code image because its pixel structure contains many duplications of your encoded information.

QR Code

What can a QR code track?

While you can't gather personal information directly from QR code scans, you can track information from users such as:

  • Location (city/state) and time of a scan
  • Number of times a code is scanned
  • The operating system (Android or iPhone) of the device that performed the scan

With this basic information, you can test the efficacy of your marketing campaigns (A vs. B, for example) and compare them across different periods and locations. But it's the custom landing pages embedded in your code that will enable you to capture more detailed information about customers. And being able to attribute the traffic to that landing page from a specific mailpiece and offer is gold.

Although QR codes are fast and convenient—consider your audience. A recent survey found that only 31% of people age 65 and above have used a QR code recently. Usage is rising, however. The same study showed three out of four consumers say they anticipate using QR codes from now on. To assist those hesitant or unaware, consider including easy-to-follow instructions like "Scan With Your Smartphone Camera."

Examples of direct mail with QR codes

Now that you know a bit more about using QR codes on direct mail let's take a look at a few examples in the wild.

The first example comes from Ashley Homestore. The brand uses a QR code to enable recipients to easily schedule an in-store consultation. They've also personalized the postcard with the closest store location to the recipient's home.

How To Track Direct Mail Using QR Codes image 2

Next up is mega-retailer Target, with a 20% off offer for a segment of its audience. Target reminds consumers to scan the QR code with their smartphone, which we shared as a best practice.

How To Track Direct Mail Using QR Codes image 3

Our last example comes from Spectrum Mobile. The telecom brand uses a QR code as part of a switch campaign. The QR code is linked to a cost savings calculator enabling consumers to calculate how much they can save by switching.

How To Track Direct Mail Using QR Codes image 4

Why should I use Lob automated direct mail?

Lob works with thousands of modern businesses, from startups to Fortune 500s, that rely on Lob to automate their direct mail workflows and ensure the integrity of their address data.

Take a look at some of the impressive statistics that you can expect when combining direct mail with your digital marketing campaign:

  • 40% conversion rates
  • 68% increased website visits
  • 63% increased response rates
  • 60% increased ROI
  • 53% increased leads
  • 39% increased traffic to a physical store or business location
  • 11% increased downloads

Program and control direct mail just like email

Schedule a demo to see just how to track direct mail using Lob’s Print & Mail and Address Verification APIs.

During your demo, we’ll show you:

  • The potential of a threefold ROI increase from day one.
  • All the benefits of a modern, automated direct mail workflow.
  • How you can be up and running in just weeks.
  • Our flat-rate approach to pricing.

Lob automates the entire process of creating, sending, and tracking direct mail and address verification, engaging with the right customer at precisely the right time. That’s why over 10,000 customers trust Lob to automate their direct mail. For more information, see the 5 things Lob can do for your direct mail.

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