Direct Mail isn’t dead...and QR codes are playing a big part in its life support. Sure, it’s more expensive than digital advertising and faces certain geographic limitations, but it’s also able to make a strong connection with your audience. That’s why direct mail still performs well, despite the cost. Research has shown that 65 percent of consumers are influenced to make a purchase after receiving a direct mail piece. With that said, print media does have some limitations. While it helps establish your brand and can drive conversions, it’s usually not able to drive customers directly to your landing page. If you’re running a specific campaign or want customers to access a product page, you usually have to rely upon digital advertising to drive the desired web traffic. However, there are some creative ways that you can link the physical and digital realms.
How to use direct mail to drive customers to a digital location:
1. Deploy branded shortlinks to facilitate traffic
People hate typing in URLs, so printing a URL on your flyer, poster, brochure, or billboard is nearly pointless. Most users will simply Google your company and click on whatever search result is at the top. If that turns out to be your website, that’s great. But what if the flyer is for a specific event or service, or you want to drive people to a giving link or registration form?
Use Rebrandly or a similar service to create a shortlink that’s branded for your company, e.g. company.link/product. The shorter, the better. Users will be more likely to type a shortlink into their browser than a regular URL.
Plus, you can use these branded shortlinks in your Tweets or other social media advertising, where they’ve been shown to increase your clickthrough rate.
2. Focus on hashtags to connect with the community
If you’ve got a compelling hashtag with which your followers are regularly tagging their posts, why not let it do the talking? It may seem counterintuitive or even silly to include a hashtag on print media, but it’s actually a great way to drive real-world users to your digital presence.
People remember hashtags, perhaps more so than company names. Hashtags also offer something irresistible to most users: the opportunity to share their own content and feel connected to a community of like-minded people. These are psychological phenomena that you can tap into to promote your company. Combining a strong, compelling image with a popular hashtag that’s tied to your company is a one–two punch. You’re likely to see great results if you deploy this combination in your billboards, posters, handbills, and direct mail.
3. Use Flowcode to link the physical and digital realms
Years ago, Japanese developers created a technology to bridge the gap between the real world and the digital one. QR codes emerged as a means of inventory tracking and supply chain management, but quickly became a favored trick of marketers who wanted to drive real-world users to digital destinations.
Codes faded into near-oblivion due to their limitations and — let’s face it — ugliness. Recently, though, they’ve experienced a resurgence as the technology has improved and Flowcode offers the potential to enhance the physical world with easy access to websites, social media profiles, and more. Plus, you can now brand your Flowcode and make them look aesthetically pleasing.
What’s most amazing about contemporary Flowcode is that they finally offer a seamless link between the digital and physical realms. It’s as simple as hovering your smartphone camera over a code, whether it’s blown up on a wall or printed in the corner of product packaging. Either way, it instantly takes you to a landing page, dials a phone number, or opens a new email. There’s immense potential for marketers to direct real-world consumers to their desired digital destination.
Ready to use direct mail to drive web traffic?
If you’re interested in using your print media to drive web traffic, you’ll benefit from the technologies described above. However, it’s also important to develop a strategy before you dive into cross-platform advertising. Align your messaging between the physical and digital realms, and take care in targeting your audiences for cross-platform advertising. For example, consider who is most likely to access a website after a print prompt, compared to those who would rather pick up the phone and call. Older demographics are more likely to call, while younger ones are more likely to access your social media presence. Coordinate your print-to-digital advertising accordingly.
If you’re using Flowcode, you’ll need to map out all the links before printing them. Create a chart of desired digital destinations, then easily generate codes for each by visiting Flowcode.com. You can create countless Flowcodes for free and organize them easily. Remember, you can always update destinations for each code, even after printing, so you may want to create one unique code for each print asset, rather than creating a code for each digital destination.
As consumers increasingly expect a digitally enhanced world, they’re more likely to desire convenient links between what they see in the physical realm and what they can access on their smartphones. Make it easy for them to bridge the gap, and you’re more likely to see leads convert to customers and existing customers become regulars!