Saving money is always good news. In an experiment to increase the use of QR Codes and encourage direct mail marketing, the USPS has decided to offer a 3% discount off of bulk mail postage in July & August of 2011. For information on the USPS 2012 Summer 2D barcode discount, click here.
This post will explain how you can take advantage of this discount.
This is really encouraging news coming on the heels of the recent rate increase by the USPS. This is also exciting news for smart marketers who already embrace QR Codes. Remember, just last week, Google tried to convince us that QR Codes were irrelevant, but this step by the USPS will help to further increase the momentum for the adoption of QR Codes in mainstream marketing.
How much money can you actually save? This is for bulk mailers only, so if you’re thinking of slapping a QR Code on the envelope of the birthday card that you’re sending to your dear aunt Mildred, then it’s not going to save you anything. The good news is that as far as bulk mail goes, the discount will apply to both presort standard as well as first-class presort mail.
Bulk mailers will receive a 3% discount on top of their already discounted postage rate. This is, however, a limited time offer scheduled for July & August, 2011.
Any catches to qualify for the discount? The QR codes must be visible when mailed. If your mail piece is in an envelope, then the QR Code needs to be printed on the envelope. If you’re mailing a catalogue, it needs to be printed on the front or back cover. It makes sense for the post office to do this because they want to make it as easy as possible to determine who qualifies for the discount.
Okay, so where can I get a QR Code to include in my direct mail? The short answer is that you can hire me to launch your next direct mail campaign and I will gladly create 1 for you. For the do-it-yourself types, you'll want to take a peek at my recent post, Help, I Want to Include QR Codes in my Marketing Mix but don't know Where to Start!
Why is the post office doing this? It looks like the post office is finally embracing the power of interactive marketing. In my opinion, QR codes enhance the value of direct mail by encouraging engagement and by offering the recipient a place to continue the conversation. Simply put, QR Codes make direct mail better.
In addition, both the proliferation of smartphones and the use of QR Codes have exploded within the last 9 months. In my opinion, this is really clever timing on the part of the USPS. Click here for more detailed QR Code statistics.
Finally, this isn't the first step that the USPS has taken to try to kick start direct mail marketing. In January of this year, they expanded discounts available for marketers using saturation rate, and they also pushed back mandatory of adoption of the intelligent mail barcode for bulk mailers looking for additional discounts asscoiated with automation. These are all positive steps for an organization that's seen substantial declines in overall mail volume over the course of the last few years.
How much thought do I need to put into the landing page for my QR Code? This is a really good question, and at the very least, you should be sure to view the web page or video that you plan to use as a link on a smartphone or mobile device. Here's a link to a really helpful post with additional suggestions on what not to do with your QR Code landing page.
Who should take advantage of this?
1) If you're already engaged in direct mail marketing, you should absolutely take advantage of this. It doesn't cost anything extra to print a QR Code, and during the summer special, it will actually save you money.
2) If you're contemplating direct mail, this is probably the perfect opportunity to start. This is especially true if you already have a strong online presence on your website, blog, Facebook page or even on YouTube. You can leverage traditional direct mail marketing to drive traffic online.
True credit for this breaking the news goes to my friends at Parcel & Post; here's a link to their article.
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