Unless you live in the Stone Age, when you’ve eaten out at a restaurant in the past four years, you’ve likely scanned a QR code instead of being presented with a traditional menu. The pandemic and the advent of contactless restaurant menus accelerated consumer adoption of QR codes.

Should you be using QR codes in your direct mail campaigns? The short answer is yes! Their growth in direct marketing is particularly impressive—from less than 4% in 2020 to over 34% in 2023 (Who’s Mailing What)—that’s one in three mail pieces!  


Here are the top 4 reasons why you should integrate QR codes into your next DM campaign:


1. Higher net response 


LIFT’s clients find that including a QR code in direct mail increases overall response and lowers CPA vs. not having a QR code anywhere on the piece. Furthermore, the report, “Scan Response Rates in National Magazines”  found that printed media that included QR codes had an average scan rate of 6.4%, surpassing the average response rate of direct mail that did not include scannable codes at 4.4%. 


One note of caution is that while QR codes certainly improve response and conversion rates, they shouldn’t be the only option for the recipient. If the conversion experience isn’t optimized for mobile, then a QR code isn’t an ideal fit. By offering a QR code in addition to a URL, direct mail campaigns can accommodate a wider range of recipients, including those who prefer to transact on a desktop or are less tech-savvy. 


2. Greater response rate visibility 


QR codes provide greater visibility into the users who convert… and those who don’t. QR codes provide a line of sight into at least how many leads were interested enough to learn more. Additionally, they can be leveraged in A/B tests to experiment with different direct mail formats or offers. When a user scans your QR code and doesn’t ultimately purchase your product, you will have the ability to retarget those “high-intent” users with a follow-up campaign. (spoiler for reason #4)


3. More personalized experience 


QR codes can further augment your direct mail strategy by being used in tandem with a PURL (Personalized URL). PURLs and QR codes can direct your target audience to customized recommendations, exclusive offers, or product suggestions based on their past interactions, past purchases, or profile data. According to Epsilon, 80% of consumers are more likely to buy when offered a personalized experience, and personalized CTAs convert over 200% better than standard ones. 


4. Retargeting opportunities 


Using QR codes in your direct mail lends itself to multiple unique retargeting opportunities to further improve conversion. It’s worth noting that you’ll need to combine first-party data with third-party data as well as ensure you are complying with privacy restrictions and have opt-in permission for the retargeting touch points. These opportunities include:


Retargeted email – Send emails with reinforcing offers, abandoned cart, or other lead nurture touch points to provide a compelling and inexpensive way to help convert leads with some level of intent. 


Retargeted social ads – If a user scanned but did not click through to a specific page, you can retarget them with relevant social media ads related to that page. 


Retargeted direct mail follow-up – If an individual has received your initial direct mail offer and scanned the QR code but didn’t convert, you can follow up with direct mail. Send a postcard with a unique offer to help those folks get over the hump. You can think of this as an abandoned cart notification through direct mail rather than email. 

QR codes offer a versatile and effective tool for enhancing your direct mail strategy. Their ability to provide a seamless, personalized experience, coupled with the potential for detailed tracking and retargeting, makes them an invaluable asset for businesses looking to optimize their marketing efforts and drive higher conversion rates. 


Ask us how LIFT can help you optimize your next DM campaign with the right QR code approach.

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