One Critical Component Missing from your Brochure Design

brochures by mmprintSometimes a business card just isn’t enough to leave behind when you visit a potential customer. Sometimes, customers come into your facility and want to learn more about your products or services while they wait or to take back to the office or home.

Sure, you can tell them to visit your website; there’s a lot of information and pictures there. But how sure are you that they will actually visit your site? How do you know that they will remember to do so?

Well by furnishing them with a printed brochure, you can rest assured that they have the information they seek, in their hands, ready to read. No computers to turn on, no website addresses to type, just a simple informative brochure in their hand ready to be read.

Online and Offline go hand-in-hand

Your brochure is a selling tool, it serves as a convenient hub to introduce your service or product, it can contain information about you and/or your business and a way to contact you. Now here is the way to extend the power of your brochure to actually make the sale for you: add a QR Code.
Yes, by adding a QR code to the inside or outside of your brochure, the potential customer can scan the QR code with their smart phone, go to a mobile-ready website that is formatted to make it easy for them to actually place the order for the product or schedule an appointment for the service you offer.

Read more about how to properly execute a QR Code campaign to get the best results from your efforts and save money on postage when using direct mail services.

 

Brochure Inspiration for Advertisers and Graphic Designers

Printed brochures come in many sizes and shapes. Of course we have to offer you a nice collection of beautifully crafted brochure samples to get your creative juices flowing and to end this post with some motivational visual inspiration.

 

Brochure by Brandzigners

Brochure by deviantonis

MSC Brochure by SherifShaaban

MineralKat Brochure A4 by pho3nix_bf

 

Brochure by ksteward

CropLife Brochure by jpz001

 

brochure by SeventhDesign

brochure by Amy Moen

 

Saving Money on Direct Mail with QR Codes

Although QR codes are quickly being adopted by major companies and industries, adoption is moving slowly throughout the small business sector.

In an effort to promote Direct Mail and create awareness of the benefits of using QR codes in Direct Mail, the United States Postal Service is offering a special postage discount during the months of July and August 2011:

Direct Mail marketers and mail houses can save 3% on their First Class Presort Mail and Standard Presort Mail postage simply by including a QR Code that must be easily visible on the outside of the mail piece. Simple as that.

 

Although the savings can be substantial, it is important to keep in mind that if your Direct Mail campaign is not thought out thoroughly and optimized for success, then all of your efforts and cost of printing and postage will go to waste.
On the bright side, you can always learn from your mistakes.

Direct Mail is about trial and error and consistency; improvement and repetition. I don’t think any one Direct Mail campaign can be the one or the best one for that matter.

 

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If you are thinking of taking advantage of the 3% postage discount and this would be your first QR Code Direct Mail campaign, the following paragraphs will help you begin with an advantage.

Incorrect Use of QR Code QR Code Malpractice

Creating and Reading QR Codes is easy and FREE! But the biggest issue lies with what happens after the QR Code is scanned.

Obviously (or maybe not obvious enough), a QR Code is scanned with a smart phone which typically has a screen size between 2 to 4 inches. This being the case, wouldn’t you expect to be taken to a mobile-friendly website that is compatible with your smart phone’s screen size?
Well, believe it or not, this is a very common mistake made by marketers that makes the whole Direct Mail/QR Code campaign a complete failure.

Let’s say your Direct Mail piece is a postcard that promotes a new product that you are selling and the customer scans your QR code. The customer lands on a mobile friendly page that contains a great description of the product but does not have a Buy Now! button anywhere on the page. The purpose of your Direct Mail piece is to offer a product that you sell, yet a way to purchase the product is not easily made available. This Direct Mail campaign can pretty much be considered a lost sale opportunity.

QR Code Best PracticesQR Code Best Practices

A complete Direct Mail campaign using QR codes must include a mobile landing page where a call to action is the main focus of the page. Whatever the purpose of your Direct Mail campaign is, it should reflect in your mobile landing page.
If your QR Code directs the user to a video preview, make sure the video is formatted for mobile screens and should start playing right away.  The purpose of a smartphone is accessibility and convenience – No downloads!

 

The following are a few key rules to follow to create a successful Direct Mail QR Code campaign:

  • Use a vector QR Code in your artwork to make sure that it prints clear and works 100% even on low megapixel cameras. I find BeQRious lets you generate vector QR Codes you can download in PDF format easily
  • Test your QR Code on at least 4-5 different QR Code scanning apps and different smart phones before printing the whole run
  • Include information on how to scan the QR Code
  • Your QR Code should direct the user’s mobile phone directly to the landing page
  • Your Landing Page must load quickly, keep images to a minimum
  • Include Call-to-action buttons or links such as “Buy Now!”, “Sign up here!”, or “Call us now!”
  • Keep the focus of the page on the purpose of the campaign and the Call-to-action buttons/links
  • Make your QR Code link using a link shortening service such as goo.gl or bit.ly (free versions) so that you can track the number of scans and other analytics

How have you used QR Codes in your latest

Direct Mail or Marketing Campaign?

Please share any lessons you have learned when using QR Codes in Direct Mail campaigns below…

Intelligent Mail Barcodes – The USPS Automation Initiative for Direct Mail

Intelligent Mail Barcode Required May 2011As of May 2011, the United States Postal Service will be rolling out its next generation of mail delivery services . These new services are a leap forward in the “USPS Automation Initiative” with the incorporation of advanced information technology into their vast mailing system.

With the use of the new Intelligent Mail barcode, direct mail will now have the benefits that come with online tracking. From the moment the parcel leaves your mail house to the moment it reaches your customers, each and every piece of mail will be connected to the USPS network via a unique barcode and this information will be available to you and your customers at any time.

What does this mean for advertisers?

Analytics! You will now have the power to test different types of direct mail media and obtain a detailed measure of the response. If you are familiar with Google Analytics, you are aware of the benefits of knowing your website’s visitor details and browsing habits as they relate to your online marketing efforts. Well, Intelligent Mail is the real-life version of Google Analytics. Not only will you be able to learn more about your customers and improve your targeted marketing, the Intelligent Mail system will also improve delivery efficiency and decrease undeliverable mail while at the same time updating your mailing list.

Intelligent Mail Barcode

OneCode ACS™ is an automated Address Change Service that provides many benefits for businesses:

  • Address change for First Class Mail (while in the system!)
  • Automated address correction and updating the mailing list
  • Less undeliverable mail
  • Predictable mail piece delivery dates
  • Savings by having access to all available postal discounts
  • One barcode means more space for design and marketing efforts

Intelligent Mail Old vs. New Barcodes

Advantages for Businesses using Intelligent Mail

One of the most impressive uses of the Intelligent Mail Barcode system is the tracking of invoices and payments. When companies send out invoices with a return envelope included, that return envelope can be tied to the original envelope which contains payment and can be tracked. This can help businesses forecast cash flow.

Full Service vs. Basic

There are two Intelligent Mail Barcode services offered by the USPS.

Basic:

  • Requires Intelligent Mail Barcodes on the letters and flat-size mail.
  • It allows for OneCode ACS® service which has a lower cost that traditional ACS™.

Full Service:

  • Requires unique Intelligent Mail Barcodes on the letters and flat-size mail.
  • Requires unique barcodes on trays, sacks and containers (Nesting – see below)
  • Requires documentation delivered electronically
  • Requires a drop off appointment
  • OneCodeACS® and automated address correction included in price
  • Notification of initial receipt by the USPS
  • Additional postage discounts
Nesting

Under the new Full Service requirements, 3 types of Intelligent Mail Barcodes will be generated:

  • IMB ID (Intelligent Mail Barcode ID)
  • IMTB ID (Intelligent Mail Tray Barcode ID)
  • IMCB ID (Intelligent Mail Container Barcode ID)

These 3 barcodes will ensure accurate tracking of all mail pieces at any time throughout the mail system process. The barcode on the mail piece will be assigned to the barcode on the tray and the barcode on the tray will be assigned to a barcode on the container where the mail piece and tray is contained.

Requirement

The Intelligent Mail Barcode absorbs the functionality of the ACS™, POSTNET and PLANET Code® barcodes into one all-inclusive barcode. Full compliance with the Intelligent Mail Barcode system will be required starting May 2011 in order to receive automation discounts, although with the new system comes accessibility to additional automation discounts and services.

There are 7 main customer benefits in this system which were originally “Strategies” of the USPS to bring in revenue growth and retention, reduced operating costs, reduced investment costs, enhanced revenue accuracy and enhanced mail security:

  1. Uniquely identify mail and aggregates – Enables end to end visibility of mail
  2. Developed and deployed enabling infrastructureHardware, software, telecommunications systems, power, data wiring, and associated support to ensure delivery and tracking
  3. Enhanced Address Quality – Reduces unacceptable and returned mail
  4. Measured and improved commercial mail performance – Robust measurement capabilities to evaluate performance and service
  5. Drives product innovation – Use mail stream information to create and send more strategic and effective mailings to the consumer.
  6. Sharpened operational insight – The Postal Service will develop focused analytics that provide insight into operations and a clear understanding of cost drivers.
  7. Enriched customer experience – Enhanced verification and mail quality help the USPS to become more proactive in communicating and addressing issues.

Source: USPS Intelligent Mail Vision – July 2009

Has  your company already started to use the new Intelligent Mail Service?

Please share your experiences and thoughts by leaving a comment below.