Enhance Direct Mail with QR Codes

Technology allows CUs to engage immediately with consumers.

February 13, 2012
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Here are some ways credit unions can use QR codes with direct mail:

• Explain the credit union difference. With the economy still on shaky ground, many consumers are skeptical of banks but aren’t sure how they differ from credit unions.

A direct mail piece on this topic can get their attention, and then a QR code printed on the piece can take them to an online video that discusses in more detail how your credit union differs from banks.

• Educate consumers about your products and services. Your own members might not know all of the financial services your credit union provides.

A series of direct mailings can educate members about what’s available, such as insurance or credit card services. QR codes on each mail piece can take members to mobile-optimized web pages offering more detailed information or a secure online application site.

• Highlight your credit union’s community involvement. Many credit unions organize and sponsor charity events. A member could learn about such events on a direct mail piece and then quickly use their smartphone to scan a QR code linked to a secure site where they can buy a ticket or make a donation.

The QR code allows consumers to respond when their interest is high, rather than hoping they visit a website later when using their computer.

Personalize your QR codes by embedding them with a personalized URL (PURL). The PURL takes members to an online microsite where the content can be customized for that user.

QR codes with PURLs can be made for every member on your mailing list. You can direct members to customized microsites where they will be referred to by name and can learn about the services they’re not currently using.

Marketers continue to discuss whether to use QR codes or other emerging two-dimensional barcode technology. For example, some marketers use Microsoft Tags because they offer more color customization than QR codes.

QR codes, however, continue to be the most popular at this point, making it more likely your targeted audience will have QR code readers installed on their smartphones rather than an app for a different type of code.

But no matter what technology you choose, it is a good idea to include brief directions next to a code about how to scan it and where the code will take the user.

Measure for success

To obtain the best return on investment for your marketing campaign, you must have the ability to measure success. When using QR codes, be sure the software program you’re using offers a robust tracking system.

Good tracking programs can determine how many QR code scans happened per day, the times of those scans, and the location of the scans.

The back-end reporting becomes even more detailed and useful when a prospect interacts with a customized microsite through a PURL and engages with your brand.

Direct marketing enhanced with QR codes, especially in combination with PURLs, can provide members with personalized and convenient multichannel options. Adding a QR code to a direct mail piece can generate quick, easy responses.

Best of all, it offers the benefit of developing deeper, longer-lasting relationships with your valuable members.

DAVID HENKEL is president of Johnson and Quin in Niles, Illinois.

Many QR Codes

Rita Johnson
February 22, 2012 1:31 pm
QR Codes are adding up on my phone and I'm unsure how to know which code belongs to which company, how can I tell before activating the code? They are very popular and I want to use them more efficiently!

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Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory ( will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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