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Martin Cogburn
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    Creating Postcards

    About Postcards

    Applies to: All ONTRAPORT accounts. Limited to sending to US based addresses.

    Postcards are an eye-catching, physical media but have been difficult to use for anything but mass-mailing. Bulk mail houses require hundreds or thousands of postcards to be printed and mailed at a time.

    ONTRAPORT postcards can be produced and mailed one at a time, so there is no problem sending an important contact a birthday postcard, or sending a select Group of ten contacts a postcard. ONTRAPORT merge fields work on postcards as well, allowing you to personalize the card just as you would an email. They are large format, 8.5" by 5.5" and are full color.

    Postcards can only be mailed to US-based addresses and are available to US-based ONTRAPORT accounts. If you are not based in the US, but are marketing to US-based addresses and would like the option turned on in your account, please contact Support.

    Note: You must create the postcard design in our editor using the Firefox browser and cannot upload a PDF or other file for the design. Your designer can provide images for the postcard, in GIF, PNG, JPEG and JPG formats.

    Uses For Postcards

    • Free birthday offers
    • Anniversary reminders
    • Referral requests (automatically, right after they've gotten the most benefit from using your service?)
    • Welcome to the business
    • Lead Generation
    • Holiday promotions
    • Contract expiration reminders
    • Cross- and up-sell offers
    • Update contact info requests
    • Party invitations
    • Appointment reminders
    • Thank you cards
    • Bid/proposal follow up
    • Demo or presentation follow up
    • New product announcements
    • Recurring service reminder (e.g., oil change, haircut)
    • Pre-tradeshow appointment setting
    • and much, MUCH more!

    How Do I Get Addresses From Contacts?

    Make sure to grab a prospect’s physical address as often as you can or is appropriate. Being in touch both online and off is proven to increase the lifetime value of a client.

    If you only have email addresses for your clients, then you'll need to come up with a campaign that gives your contacts a good reason to provide their mailing address. While you're at it, get their birthday, too.

    Some ideas:

    • Ask for their birthday and mailing address (because you want to send them something!)
    • Offer to mail them something (coupons, gift certificates, etc.)
    • Ask for it on your ONTRAPORT opt-in forms
    • Ask them for it during the new client setup process

    Creating Postcards

    The postcard editor is found in the Messages collection. Once there, click the New Message button. Click Postcard > Create.

    contacts-menu.png

    Note: Postcards can only be sent to US-based addresses. The option to create postcards is only shown in US-based accounts. If you are not based in the US but market to US-based addresses and want the option turned on, contact Support.

    Important Functions

    • Preview: To get a pdf proof of your postcard the way that it will look when printed, click the proof button next to the Save button.
    • View Side: Here you can easily switch between working on the front side and back side of your card.

    Adding and Sizing New Layers

    All design elements such as text, shapes, gradients and images are added in layers, which, if you’ve used Adobe Photoshop, or Paint, should be familiar to you. If not, they’re very intuitive and you’ll quickly get the hang of layers.

    Note: You must create the postcard design in our editor using the Firefox browser and cannot upload a PDF or other file with the design. Your designer can provide images for the postcard, in GIF, PNG, JPEG, and JPG formats that can be inserted using layers. The layers used for the back side must not overlap the reserved postage or address areas, so the designer should "slice" the images to fit.

    Adding a new layer

    1. Click New item on the right

      postcards-add-new-layer-item.png

    2. Choose to add one of 4 different layer types, Text Area, Shape, Gradient, or Image

    As soon as you create a new layer, it will start out selected, as shown by the blue tint in the layer stack. To select a layer, you can either click on that layer in the stack or click on the layer in the actual postcard. You must first select a layer to edit it (resize, reposition, etc). If you select a text layer in this way, it will make it so you can edit the text.

    Re-ordering Layers

    You can drag the layers by clicking, holding and dragging the up and down arrows icon within the layer stack on the right. If a given layer is underneath another layer (lower in the layer stack) it may not be visible because it’s hiding underneath another layer. If you want that layer to show, you’ll need to drag it in the layer stack so it’s above the layers that might be blocking it.

    postcards-reorder-layer.png

    Resizing a layer

    There are two ways to do this:

    Dragging Method

    1. Select the layer you want to resize
    2. Then grab (click and hold) one of the little red squares, or “handles” on the edges and drag it outward to expand, or inward to shrink.
    3. To maintain the aspect ratio of the layer resize it using the "handles" on the corners OR by holding down the SHIFT key while re-sizing. This is especially important with images.

    Numeric Method

    This method allows you to enter a specific height/width measurement (in pixels) for the size of the photo as you’d like it to be.

    1. Select the layer you’d like to resize.
    2. Then, in the upper right of the editor screen you’ll see the current Height and Width measurements for that layer. Simply select EITHER the height or the width value and change it to whatever you’d like. This option automatically keeps the height to width ratio (or proportions) of the image the same. Thus, if you change the width, the height value will instantly be changed as well; in order to maintain the proportions of the layer. This method of resizing is good if you’re looking to make exact changes and where specificity is key.

    Repositioning a layer

    There are two ways to do this:

    Drag and drop method

    1. Select the layer you want to reposition
    2. Grab the layer (by clicking and holding within the layer itself, in the postcard, not in the layer stack).
    3. Drag and drop it wherever you like.

    Numeric method

    1. Select the layer you’d like to reposition.
    2. In the upper left of the editor screen you’ll see the current position for that layer. The positioning is shown in the following measurement:
    3. Left: This is simply the number of pixels the layer is from the left-hand edge of the postcard.
    4. Top: This is the number of pixels the layer is from the top edge of the postcard.
    5. If you want to change the horizontal positioning of the layer, simply enter the number of pixels you’d like the layer to be from the left and press enter. Similarly, if you’d like to change the vertical positioning of the layer, enter the number of pixels you’d like the layer to be away from the top of the card. This method of repositioning is good if you’re looking to make exact changes, and where specificity is key.

    Resizing and repositioning layers with precision

    This is done based on the distance of the shape from a nearby shape. This is useful when you’re trying to get two shapes to line up perfectly or create borders or frames

    1. Select the shape you’d like to move or resize.
    2. Press and hold the CTRL key.
    3. The distance in pixels that the selected shape’s edges are from the nearest shape will appear along with a guide line. The line will appear in green when that edge is perfectly aligned with the next shape’s edge and the number will be 0, since there is a 0 pixel distance between the shapes.
    4. Use the arrow keys to nudge and reposition the selected layer, or drag the layer for bigger moves.
    5. As you move or resize the layer, the number will change appropriately.

    Working With Layers

    Gradient layers

    On the left hand side of the toolbar you’ll see your shape selection choices. Your gradient area can be in any of the available shapes: rectangle, circle, or rectangle with rounded corners.

    Gradient Adjustment Slider:

    1. To change the colors in your gradient, double click the rectangle that sits underneath the little carrot shaped pointer.

      postcards-gradeitn-adjustment-slider.png

    2. To increase the distance of the transition (and thus, the subtlety of the gradation) from one color to the next in your gradient layer, move the two sliders further apart. To decrease the distance and subtlety of the gradation/transition from one color to the next, move the sliders closer together.
    3. To increase the area of the color, say, on the left, move both sliders to the right, and vice versa.
    4. To change the direction of the gradient from vertical to horizontal, or vice versa, click the Vertical / Horizontal button next to the Gradient Adjustment Slider.
    5. To change the opacity of the gradient layer, use the Opacity slider.

      postcards-gradient-opacity-slider.png

    Add an image

    When adding an image you have a few options:

    Add a new image

    1. Add an image layer to your postcard
    2. In the Insert Image popup window, click the Upload tab in the top left.
    3. Here you can choose to upload a file from your computer by clicking the Browse Computer button, locating the file on your computer, selecting it and uploading it OR if you’d like to use an image that’s already online somewhere, you can choose the Enter URL option, and enter the address where the image is hosted.

    Note: Most web images are at too low a resolution to look good when printed, so be sure before you use an image that it’s a high resolution image. You must either have created an image, or have permission from its author in order to use a copyrighted image. There are several collections of free-to-use images at sites such as Pixabay, Unsplash and Wikimedia Commons. Check the license terms to be sure the creator of the image allows commercial use.

    Images should be in GIF, PNG, JPEG, and JPG formats. The layers used for the back side must not overlap the reserved postage or address areas.

    Use an image you've already uploaded

    In this case, add an image layer to your postcard, click the Browse tab, choose your image and click Insert Selected Image.

    Proofing Your Postcard

    Before you send a postcard or add it to any Campaigns, view a proof to make sure that everything looks the way you want. Click the Preview button in the upper left and choose to open it in your PDF viewer. If everything looks right, you’re ready to start having us mail your postcard out. If not, go back and make the necessary corrections and generate another proof.

    Important

    When using merge fields on Postcards, be sure to use the same styling for the entire merge field. Make sure the brackets and characters within them are the same font, font size, and font color as your other text.

    postcards-different-fonts-sizes.png

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    Comments

    • Avatar
      Dave Dean

      Do you have an arrangement to mail postcards here in the UK?

    • Avatar
      Frank Hagan

      Hi Dave,

      At the current time, we can mail postcards only to US-based addresses. I have updated the article to include that information.

    • Avatar
      Dave Dean

      Hi Frank, Would you be interested in partnering with us to mail them here the UK?

    • Avatar
      Admin Admin

      Hello Frank, 

      Is it possible to see a picture of what the postcard would look like? 

       

    • Avatar
      Renee Wade

      Are the post card service free? 

    • Avatar
      Frank Hagan

      Hi Renee - The pricing for the Postcards can be seen by clicking your email address at the top right of the account, then selecting "Account" and "Printing Credits":

      printing-credits.png

      Currently, the minimum purchase is 10 printing credits. When you buy from 10 to 100 printing credits the price is .97 each. If you run out of credits, we automatically add more in groups of 10 at .97 to make sure your postcards are not delayed. 

      The lower prices, down to .67 per 5,000 credits, apply only when you purchase them (the discounts don't accumulate over multiple purchases). 

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