Postalytics makes it easy to create direct mail letter templates that can be personalized and automated using our streamlined and intuitive Direct Mail Editor.
In the Editor, you have the ability to create direct mail letter templates from scratch, or you can choose one of our Pre-Built templates, all created by a professional designer, which can then be modified to fit your needs. Learn more about Pre-Built Templates.
In this article, we’ll walk through the steps to create a letter design from scratch and navigate the editor by adding text, changing fonts, adding images, personalization with variable data and more.
Before we begin, be sure to open and review our help article Understanding the Postalytics Direct Mail Editor. This article explains in detail all of the features within The Editor. As you are becoming familiar with using The Editor, it’s recommended to keep this article open while creating any template format.
Letter templates designed in Postalytics can be used with standard #10 white dual window envelopes, or with customized envelopes that you can design and order through Postalytics.
First Steps in Creating Direct Mail Letter Templates
In the Postalytics application, from the Creative drop down menu, select 'New Template', then select 'Create in Editor'.
Complete the steps to start creating your new template by selecting 'Letters' from the Choose Your Template Type drop down menu.
At 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.
Be sure to name your template.
Below the Naming section, you’ll see tabs at the top left which indicate the pages of the letter. You have an option to include content on the front side of the page(s) you print, or on the front and the back (Settings/Double Sided) – giving you up to 6 physical pages and 12 pages of total content. Learn more about multiple page letters.
The tabs along the top right of this area are:
- Snap to Grid
- Postage Area & Letter Fold Toggle
Important to reiterate in this article (also outlined in the Understanding the Postalytics Direct Mail Editor article above) is the workspace within The Editor.
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.
In the top left section of the canvas is the addressing area. All designs must be done around this area, as it cannot be moved or modified. You can toggle the view of the address area ON and OFF with the control in top right of the canvas.
Document Size & Safe Margin
Below are sizing specs for the letter format
8.5” x 11” Letter
Letter Design Walk-through
Now, let’s do a walk-through in the editor to create a letter template from scratch.
Step 1: Select Letter Template
The Editor will automatically open with the selected format.
Step 2: Name Letter
Rename your letter to “Letter Introduction” in the top left of the editor.
Step 3: Select Font
Create a text block by dragging the T icon from the left Build panel to the canvas.
Click the text block and on the left properties and styles panel, browse through the list of fonts to determine what to use. For this walkthrough, select the font Cabin.
Step 4: Add Variable Data
Double click the text block just added, and then highlight and delete the sample text.
On the left side of the Editor, click the Variable Data icon under Personalize.
A pop up window will appear. Under Available Variable Data Inserts click 'First Name'.
You will see "%First Name%” populate in the text block on the canvas.
You can also add text you’d like before or after the Variable Data field, and be sure to include spacing and punctuation. For example: Happy Holidays %First Name%,
Step 5: Write Letter Content
Next, create a new text block and change the font to Cabin. Write in your desired content for the letter.
There are many text element tools to enhance readability including bold, underline, italic, and bullet points.
To use these features, simply double click the text block, highlight the particular words to emphasize.
A pop up window will appear to adjust:
- Change Word Color
- Add Special Characters
- Change Text Size
Step 6: Add Images
To add an image, click and drag the image icon from the left side, under Build.
Click the image block on the canvas, which then populates the properties panel on the right side. Select Browse and upload an image of your choosing.
You can upload an unlimited number of images into the Postalytics Asset Manager, and then use them over and over again.
Images should be in either .jpg or .png format, set at 300dpi for best print quality.
Letter background images must conform to the following specs: Width = 2550px, Height = 3300px, 300 dpi. Please remember that if the dpi is higher or lower, even if the height and width are correct, your image may not upload, or render properly.
See our Build Offline article for more information on how to export images from Adobe® products.
Step 7: Add Bulleted List
There are two ways to add a bulleted list.
First, you can simply click and drag the bulleted list icon, from the left side under Build, to the canvas.
When using this method, the properties and styles panel populates and allows you to choose the List Style.
You can choose from different bullet point styles:
- Decimal Leading Zero
- Lower Alpha
- Upper Alpha
- Upper Roman
Use the styles panel to format your text size, color etc. accordingly.
Second, you can create a bulleted list by double clicking your text blocks on the canvas, and then double click and highlight the section you want to add a bullet list. This will populate the individual text element editor.
Select the copyright symbol to open additional special characters. Select Bullet. This allows you to create a bulleted list without having to create a new text block.
Step 8: Add pURL
Step 9: Add QR Code
QR Codes can make it easy for recipients to hop online and view your content. Due to recent mobile phone innovations, they’ve made a comeback.
In Postalytics, QR Codes will automatically open a pURL, or a unique tracking URL, generated for each mailpiece in your campaign. The mailpiece recipient is automatically redirected to a landing page of your choice that you indicate in the campaign wizard.
To finish, click the QR Code icon from the left side, under Track. A QR Code placeholder will be added at the top of the canvas. Click and drag that to the preferred location on the canvas. The size can be adjusted by double clicking the element. A blue positioning box appears around the QR Code placeholder. Click and drag on any of the small blue boxes to re-size.
Step 10: Begin Proofing Template
To be able to use your finished design in a campaign, the template must be proofed. Select the red Proof Template button in the top right corner of the editor.
You’ll then start the process of Proofing your template and will be asked to Choose Your Data Source. Here you can select Sample Data or List Data to populate the variable fields in the template.
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 your template includes a pURL and/or QR Code, you’ll need to set it up for proofing. This step in the proofer is only for viewing and proofing purposes and the links will not be live. They are only live once the campaign has been sent.
Step 12: Wait for Proof to Generate
The editor now prepares your proofs for viewing.
Step 13: Review Proof, Print, or Download
These high resolution PDF proofs allow you to see the mailpiece as it will be printed, including all variable fields populated with the data source selected.
You’ll be able to toggle through multiple proofs to see the impact of the longest names, addresses, other variables, and pURL strings.
If you’d like to share the proof you can easily print or even download to attach to an email.
Note: 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.
When satisfied with the proof, and all of the Check pages have been confirmed, add your initials and select Accept Final Proof!
If there are any edits to be made, select Return To Editor. You’ll then need to go through the proofing process again.
Step 14: Template is Now Ready to be used in a Campaign
After the final confirmation has been made, the template will have a green check mark under the Proof column in your Template Library. It will also now be available to select for use in a Postalytics Smart Send or Triggered Drip Campaign.
If you have any questions on how to create direct mail templates in Postalytics, don’t hesitate to Contact Us.