Winning Combo: QR Codes and Direct Mail

Quick Response codes can be scanned with a SmartPhone to display text, take the user to a website, or dial a phone number. They represent a revolution in direct response advertising and yet another way that marketers are breaking down the barrier between a company and its prospects or clients. In fact, according to ScanLife, the prevalence of Quick Response codes as an advertising medium increased by 700 percent in 2010. And they’re even more popular this year.

5 tips for using QR codes effectively

QR codes are a marketing tool that you shouldn’t ignore. Yet it would be a mistake to use Quick Response codes just because they’re cool. Follow the 5 tips we’ve outlined here to ensure that when you use QR codes in your direct mail, you’re doing so purposefully – and effectively.

1. Where you’re going matters. A great map isn’t much good without a great destination. You can use QR codes to display text – a coupon code, perhaps (see our Quick Response code below). You can use them to display your phone number (again, breaking the barrier between your targets and their response). Or – most popularly – use them to take people to your website (or a targeted micro version of it).

If you use the Quick Response code to take people to your website, think about what device they’ll be using when they visit your site – likely the same SmartPhone they used to scan the code. It isn’t really necessary to have a sophisticated mobile website, as long as your site is designed to display well on a SmartPhone (most new website platforms do this automatically).

Better yet, consider creating a mobile-friendly microsite that you use just for people responding to your QR code. The beauty of Quick Response codes is how they let you specifically target your offer and the messaging associated with it.

2. It’s all about your audience. Even among SmartPhone users, in America at least, Quick Response codes are still foreign – so give your mail recipients a bit of help on how to use the QR code (a “Scan me with your SmartPhone barcode reader” can suffice – you might also offer suggestions on where to get the code reader, like the Droid Market or iPhone App store).

3. Integrate the Quick Response code into your offer. We talk a lot here about the importance of a great offer. Direct response marketing (which includes, of course, direct mail) is all about enticing your target to action – and what better way to do that with a can’t be refused offer. As you design your Quick Response code campaign, think about what you’re offering, and about what you’re getting. Send a postcard with a QR code inviting prospects to sign up to join your special discount club – they get special discounts, and you get their e-mail address and phone number (two more ways you can communicate with them).

4. Use QR codes to integrate your direct mail and online marketing efforts. Quick Response codes are a brilliant way to connect your offline marketing efforts with your online marketing efforts. When mail recipients scan the QR code, take them to a microsite that allows them to sign up for special deals and useful information; you can even offer recipients the option to sign up for mail, e-mail or SMS-based messages – so you’re really communicating with your targets the way they want to be communicated with.

5. Be purposeful. Sometimes new trends in marketing (or anything else) are simply flash-in-the-pan fads that suck up marketing resources that should be going to tried-and-true channels. Not so with QR codes; the fact is that SmartPhones have revolutionized our lives, and will continue to do so – mobile marketing is not a fad, it’s the wave of the future (integrated with other channels, like direct mail, of course).

QR codes and Direct Mail

The process of creating a mail piece with a Quick Response code is essentially the same as creating any other piece, with the added step (during the design phase) of including a high-resolution QR code. There are some great QR code generators online; here are just a few options:

Kaywa – the simplest Quick Response code generator, it allows you to generate a QR code for a URL or phone number, or about a paragraph worth of text (see our example below).

iCandy – a bit more sophisticated than Kaywa, iCandy allows you to track scans. If you’re serious about integrating Quick Response codes into your marketing efforts, measurement is key.

Once you’ve designed your mailer with the QR code included, TEST, TEST, TEST!

Make sure that it can be read by a variety of different Smartphones.

Direct Mail Advertising Tips For Killer Response

One of my biggest things to remember in advertising is “Do something different.”

You don’t want to be viewed as just another company sending out junk mail. Chances are, your prospect gets mail from companies just like yours every week. And furthermore, you’re competing with dissimilar companies who bombard your prospect will junk mail. Every one of them is begging for your prospect’s attention.

What are you going to do to get their attention?

One of the things I like about direct mail is you can hit your target when no one else around. If you send a personalized mail piece, you’ll likely be the only person sending them personal mail that day. You have their attention. If they’re interested in cleaning, you’ve got the attention of a super hot prospect.

Direct mail is also the best way to keep in contact with your current clients. Don’t rely on the business card you left them or even a refrigerator magnet. While those are good tools, they don’t take the place of reminders in the mail.

When mailing to repeat clients, it’s okay to use bulk mail. However, when mailing to new prospects, bulk mail makes your mailing look just like JUNK MAIL. To keep your mailing from being perceived as junk mail, use first class. Also, make the envelope look like it came from their Aunt Sally. Make it look like personal mail.

Here are some other tips to try that cost little to nothing extra:

Send your letter in an invitation envelope

Use a hot pink or other colored envelope instead of standard white

Mail an oversized postcard (half of an 8 ½ x 11 inch page)

Use something other than a flag on your first class stamp

Hand write your envelope or use a handwritten font when printing

If can’t handwrite the envelope, avoid using labels-print directly on the envelope

Put something bulky in the envelope to intrigue the recipient (band-aids, pen, etc)

Include a business card that restates your offer

Think out of the box. It will take your company to new levels. Your prospects will be interested and your current clients will stay interested.

John Braun is a copywriter with Hitman Advertising. John started a service business while majoring in marketing so he could practice his advertising skills. Now, he teaches business owners to STOP wasting money and start profit from their advertising.

Top Three Benefits to Direct Selling Opportunities For Women

In the current economic state, people are searching for ideas to make additional money. Many direct selling opportunities for women exist but why would you want to get involved? What is Direct Sales anyway? Direct sales is earning a percentage or commission from a product you sell directly to the end user. Let us examine the benefits to determine why so many women join direct sales companies everyday.

Top Three Benefits to Direct Selling Opportunities for Women

1- First and foremost: Money-Unlimited income potential. Women are looking to generate extra spending money each month for themselves, pay for family vacations, help with household expenses or pay down debt. Direct sales is growing every year and has reached $29.6 billion in the U.S. and $114 billion in sales worldwide according to the 2010 Direct Selling Association. How would you like to earn a percentage of the direct sales market? How would you like to get paid just for helping other people succeed in direct selling opportunities? The income potential is unlimited.

2- Flexibility! Direct selling opportunities for women allows us to prioritize our lives around our personal and family’s needs. We can decide to commit 5-10 hours per week, 10-15 hours per week or more if you really want results fast. Keep in mind though, consistency equals results! The beauty of this industry is that we decide the amount of time for ourselves. We control our own flexible schedule. If we are a night owl or early bird, we can work at whatever time is convenient for us. We need to Decide-Commit-Succeed!

3- Home-based! Operating a business out of your home is great for a number of reasons. Household expenses can be deducted from your yearly taxes. Save money on gas by not having to drive to work. With what seems to be constantly increasing gas prices, this could be quite an underlying savings. If you have small children, work around their schedule or while they are napping. Depending on the direct selling opportunity you choose, it can be portable. Maximize your time while at your child’s sports team practice or on your family vacation.

So, what do I personally think are the best benefits to operating a Direct Selling Opportunity as a woman? I’m a stay-at-home mom of four and the unlimited income attracted me the most along with the capacity to help other people earn money, being able to work around my children’s schedules and the ability for our family to take 6-7 week vacations around the country in our motor home.