Postalytics offers a variety of methods to create direct mail postcard templates. Build a template from scratch with an easy to use, streamlined, and intuitive Direct Mail Editor. It’s easier than creating email!
Table of contents
- How To Create Direct Mail Postcard Templates
- Build Direct Mail Postcard Templates From Scratch
- Postalytics Direct Mail Editor
- Naming Template
- Build, Track, and Personalize Panel
- Properties Panel
- Template Properties Panel
- Preview and Proof Template
- Postcard Design Walk-through
- Step 1: Select Postcard Size
- Step 2: Name Postcard
- Step 3: Import Background Image
- Recommended Background Image Sizes
- Step 4: Create Front Design
- Step 5: Add Variable Data
- Step 6: Add QR Code
- Step 7: Back of Postcard
- Step 8: Create Back Design
- Step 9: Add Personalized URL (pURL)
- Step 10: Begin Proofing Template
- Step 11: Setup pURL
- Step 12: Wait for Proof to Generate
- Step 13: Review Proof, Download, and Share
- Step 14: Template is Now Ready to be Used in a Campaign
How To Create Direct Mail Postcard Templates
In the Postalytics application, from the Creative drop down menu, select New Template.
This will bring you to the Create Template page. To begin, select Create in Postalytics.
Build Direct Mail Postcard Templates From Scratch
Complete the steps to start creating your new template.
Choose Your Template Type (postcard or letter) and then Choose Your Template Size.
The template sizes are available in 4×6, 6×9, and 6×11 in both portrait and landscape layouts.
- 4″ x 6″ (Landscape) 120# (14PT) gloss cover, UV coated
- 6″ x 9″ (Landscape) 120# (14PT) gloss cover, UV coated
- 6″ x 11″ (Landscape) 120# (14PT) gloss cover, UV coated
Front Portrait Layout:
- 4″ x 6″ (Front Portrait) 120# (14PT) gloss cover, UV coated
- 6″ x 9″ (Front Portrait) 120# (14PT) gloss cover, UV coated
- 6″ x 11″ (Front Portrait) 120# (14PT) gloss cover, UV coated
*NOTE: Only the front side of the postcard is a portrait layout. The back maintains a landscape layout.
Postalytics Direct Mail Editor
The Postalytics Direct Mail Editor is an easy to use tool that gives you everything you need to create direct mail postcards templates that will wow your audience.
The middle area of the editor is where you will design and build your direct mail, we call this the canvas.
The dotted green line is the safe margin. Keep all text, shapes, and images that are not meant to abut to the edge within this boundary. Content outside of this boundary is in risk of being cut off.
The black line is the bleed line. This extends past the trim size and is cut off when the postcard is printed. Use this to make sure images or color blocks reach the edge of the postcard without any unsightly while edges.
The tabs along the top left indicate the front and back of the postcard which you toggle to edit.
The tabs along the top right of the letter canvas are:
- Snap to Grid
- Postage Area Toggle
The top of the editor is the area to Name Your Template, Save, Save & Close, and Close. When selecting Close, be aware that no changes will be saved. Always save your work.
Build, Track, and Personalize Panel
To the left of the canvas is the Build, Track, and Personalize Panel. Here, you can click and drag the icons onto the canvas. The only exception is the the Variable Data icon, which is only a select option, not a drag and drop.
Features include adding:
- Bullet List
- Horizontal Line
- Squares, Circles
Use the elements by clicking and dragging to the canvas.
Features include adding a Personalized URL (pURL) and/or a QR Code. Both work the same way.
In Postalytics templates, you position a pURL or QR code on your template. These act as “Variables” or “merge tags” that get replaced with the actual pURL or QR code when you build your campaign. Why do it this way? So that you can re-use your template over and over again in different campaigns.
Both the pURL and the QR code will direct your recipients to the landing page of your choice, that you enter in your campaign setup. The pURL is hosted on a domain that you configure in our domains tool prior to your campaign setup.
Select your tracking method and click and drag to the canvas.
Position the tracking to your preference and make any necessary styling adjustments to meet your creative goals.
Features include adding Variable Data and Variable Logic.
Variable Data personalizes your template with data such as “First Name” which is derived from an imported list.
Click and drag a text block to the canvas using the T icon. Double click the text block. Go to the Personalize Panel and click on the Variable Data icon. Under Available Variable Data Inserts select First Name. “%First Name%” should populate in the text block.
Variable Logic also creates personalization from your list.
Click and drag the Variable Logic icon to the canvas. Double click on the text block. Fill in the appropriate logic fields for your campaign, then click Insert. Once the Variable Logic is completed, click Update.
To the right of the canvas is the Properties Panel. When you are not actively using the editor, this panel will display helpful editor details if you get stuck.
When an object or text is selected on the canvas the Properties tab displays, allowing you to toggle between the Styles, Arrangement, and Effects tabs.
The Styles tab allows you to adjust:
- Font Family
- Font Size
- Text Color
- Highlight Color
- Line Height
- Letter Spacing
This is also where you can Delete or Duplicate the element on the canvas.
Use the Position arrows or Top (px) and Left (px) to move text blocks, images, or shapes on the canvas.
Arrangement buttons Forward and Backward allows you to adjust how a text block, shape, or image is layered on the canvas. You can move up or down a single layer (middle buttons) or all the way to the front or back (end buttons).
Effects provide more advanced features for creative development:
- Adjust text blocks, images and shapes using Rotate, Corner Radius
- Border Settings: (Style, Width and Color)
- Text Shadow Settings (Horizontal, Vertical, Blur and Color)
- Box Shadow Settings (Location, Horizontal, Vertical, Blur, Spread and Color)
Template Properties Panel
Default Template Font
By changing the Default Template Font, the Direct Mail Editor will apply the single font change to the entire mail piece rather than changing each text block individually.
Front and Back Template Settings
Overlay Color allows you to select a color and apply a transparency to give your background image a color effect. Sometimes using overlay colors can help darken the background image to improve readability of text over images.
Add a background image by selecting Browse or select Search to look through a library of over 200,000 high resolution free photos.
Search Free Images
In the search feature, search keywords of images you are looking for. When you see an image you like, select Preview or Select.
Preview will show the full size image and Select will import the photo onto your canvas.
*IMPORTANT* When using the free image search tool, we recommend downloading the image and resizing to the appropriate template size. Then, upload the image back into Postalytics. For this instance the background image measurements are 8.5 x 11 inches or 2550 x 3300 pixels.
Preview and Proof Template
An important part of the process of creating a direct mail postcard template is the method of previewing and proofing.
Preview Template provides a PDF download to get a closer look of how the finished product will look. This is a great tool to use throughout your design process.
Proof Template also provides a PDF download in addition to importing sample data or data from your list to populate the postcard’s variable fields to see how the finished product will look.
The Proof Template is an extremely important feature that needs to be completed before using the postcard design in a campaign.
Postcard Design Walk-through
Once you become comfortable using the editor, start designing and let your creativity soar!
Follow this walk-through to learn how to create a postcard from scratch.
*Make sure to always save your template as you go through the design process.
Step 1: Select Postcard Size
In the Postalytics navigation bar, select Creative>New Template. Select the Create in Postalytics box. In the Build a Template from Scratch window, Choose Postcard as the template type and 4″X6″ as the size.
Step 2: Name Postcard
Rename your postcard “Dog Training Postcard” in the top right of the editor.
Step 3: Import Background Image
To the right of the canvas, Select the Template Properties panel.
Under Front Template Settings, click Search to browse the free image database. Search the keyword “golden retriever”.
Try to find the same image as shown below, then click Select.
Recommended Background Image Sizes
To ensure highest background image quality, we recommend downloading and cropping images to the following sizes:
4” x 6” Postcard
|Guides||H x W (in)||H x W (px)|
|Bleed||4.25” x 6.25”||1275 x 1875|
6” x 9” Postcard
|Guides||H x W (in)||H x W (px)|
|Bleed||6.25” x 9.25”||1875 x 2775|
6” x 11” Postcard
|Guides||H x W (in)||H x W (px)|
|Bleed||6.25” x 11.25”||1875 x 3375|
Step 4: Create Front Design
Using the left Build panel, begin by dragging the Rectangle icon to the canvas.
Increase the width and height by double clicking the element and dragging the small blue positioning boxes up and down.
Use the Properties and Styles panel to lower the transparency under the Color option.
Next, add text boxes by dragging the T icon from the left Build panel to the canvas.
Again, use the right panel (Properties and Styles tab) to change the font to Oswald, the color to white, and the font sizes.
Then, drag the horizontal line icon from the left Build panel to the canvas and change the color to white with the Properties and Styles panel.
Adjust the width by double clicking the element and dragging the small blue boxes that appear, to the left and right.
Step 5: Add Variable Data
To add Variable Data, drag the T icon to the canvas, double click the element, then click the Variable Data icon in the left Personalize panel.
A pop-up window will appear with a drop menu to Choose Your List and the Variable Data Insert you want to populate. Select and list and choose First Name.
Step 6: Add QR Code
To finish, drag the QR Code icon from the the left Track panel to the canvas and adjust the size.
The QR Code that you setup here is a “variable” or placeholder. It will ultimately point your users to a pURL that is generated when your campaign is built. When you setup a campaign that uses a template with a QR Code, you’ll be asked to define a pURL structure, as well as the landing page that you want the recipient to access when they scan your QR.
Step 7: Back of Postcard
After completing the front postcard design, click the Edit Back tab at the top left of the editor to begin the back design.
You will see an area blocked off in the bottom right of the postcard. This is the Address Area. You will need to design around this space.
You can toggle the view of the Address Area ON and OFF with the control in top right of the canvas.
Step 8: Create Back Design
To begin, drag the T icon from the left Build panel to the canvas to create text blocks for content.
Then, drag the Bullet List icon to the canvas for text content as well.
Next, drag the Rectangle icon to the canvas, adjust the width and height using the blue positional boxes that appear when double clicking the element, and change the color to orange utilizing the Properties and Styles tab under the Color option.
Next, change the text to the font Oswald by clicking each text block and utilizing the Properties and Styles panel to change the Font Family to Oswald.
Finally, change the colors of the text by clicking each text block then using the Properties and Styles tab to change the Text Color to similar colors shown below.
Step 9: Add Personalized URL (pURL)
There are two ways to add a pURL. You can simply click and drag the pURL icon from the left Track panel to the canvas.
Similarly, you can click and drag a text block to the canvas, then write in the variable input “%pURL%”.
Like the QR Code, the pURL that you enter on a template is a “Variable” or placeholder. It will be replaced with an actual pURL for each recipient when you setup a campaign that uses this template.
Step 10: Begin Proofing Template
To use your finished design in a campaign, select the red Proof Template button in the top right corner of the editor.
A pop up window will appear asking to use Sample Data or Your Data to populate the variable fields in the template.
Next, you’ll choose a data source in order to populate your addresses and any personalized Variable Data or Logic fields in your template with data:
After you choose your data source, you can choose to add any Return Address into the Proofer. The default information is pulled from the Postalytics profile:
Step 11: Setup pURL
When selecting to proof with your data, a window will appear with steps to build a personalized URL(pURL) that will populate in the proof to preview how it will look.
Step 12: Wait for Proof to Generate
The editor now prepares your proof for viewing. This allows you to see the variable fields populated and download the proof for closer viewing.
Step 13: Review Proof, Download, and Share
Postalytics will present to your a high resolution PDF that you should review carefully before moving on. If you’ve used a list to create the proof, data from the list will be used to fill any variable data fields that you’ve used in your creative. You can toggle through multiple proofs to see the impact of the longest names, addresses and other variables.
If you’d like to share the proof (download and email for comment or approval, or post on social media), click the Share button.
When satisfied with the proof select Accept Final Proof or select Return To Editor if further adjustments need to be made.
*It is extremely important to review how your variable data populates in your proof. Each variable has different character lengths so please map out an appropriate area on your design to accommodate the longest First Names, pURLs or other types of data used.
For more information on the direct mail proofer, including a how to video, click here: https://www.postalytics.com/support/documentation/home/direct-mail-creative-templates/generate-a-direct-mail-template-proof/
Step 14: Template is Now Ready to be Used in a Campaign
After selecting Save Final Proof & Close, in the View Templates window you will now see a green check mark under the Proof column.
In addition, your finished template will now appear when going through the steps of Creating a Campaign.
Once your templates are proofed, they can be used in a Postalytics Smart Send or Workflow Drip campaign. If you have any questions on how to create direct mail templates in Postalytics, don’t hesitate to Contact Us.