Monthly Archives: January 2018

Tip – 7 Tips for Marketing using Direct Mail Postcards

Summary: To get smart tips on direct mail marketing, kindly keep reading this article.

Despite the market being flooded with so many forms of online advertisement mediums – Google Adwords, Facebook Ads, Twitter promotions etc. people forget about the simplest form of marketing that is direct mail postcards.

I have been using this method to promote our printing company for past 15 years and it is one of the simplest and has given me the best ROI. It is still on the top 3 list of my marketing methods as of 1/19/2018!.

By the way – just a quick thought, even before Google – Direct Mail Postcards & Newsletters were the most popular marketing methods. So it’s been around for a while and NOT going anywhere. When people tell me that “Print Is Dying” – i can’t help think “Then how come my print volume on Direct Mail Postcards is going up every year?” Hhm! Something to think about..

Anyway….So, What Do You Need For Direct Mail?

All you need are these 3 things:

  1. A very catchy message or promotion.
  2. A good Mailing List.
  3. A relationship with a good print company which has a mailing department in-house to get the job done. Someone like PrintPapa (Haha…promoting my company). Lots of print shops outsource the mailing part and just make profit. I am not a big fan of that as i firmly believe that in order to get the best pricing and service – it has to be done in one place.

Ok…now time for the 7 Tips you came for. Let’s dig in!

TIP 1: Know who to Target and go after them.

Direct mail postcards should be highly targeted, i.e. narrow down your audience based on product or services you want to promote.

For example, if you are a pizza shop, then it makes more sense to target all homes closest to your shop (1 mile radius) than doing ones which are 5 miles away. I prefer EDDM for these kind of scenarios, will explain in another article.

OR if you are a real estate agent specializing in a zip code – send your mailer to homes in that zip code.  

OR let’s say you run a Ethnic Grocery store for e.g. a Indian Grocery store – target the Indians first and obviously target the homes closer to your shop. Don’t go and send a mailer to someone living 5 miles away and isn’t Indian.

Makes sense. Simple right!! I am sure you don’t have unlimited flow of Benjamins. So target, be focused and it’ll work.

For example, we have a campaign where we send Postcards with our products and services which every Retail Shop will need. For example, Business Cards, Flyers, Brochures, and Banners to all Shops within a X mile radius. So what is X? X is based on the number of addresses i get based on our budget. Lets say I get 1000 addresses in a 1 mile radius and my budget is to send 1000 postcards then that’s what I’m going to do. Why focus on an addresses 2 miles away?

TIP 2: Get a Proper Mailing List and make sure to keep it updated

It’s happened so many times that people try to save few bucks on getting a mailing list, instead they go for an old outdated list or they waste their time scrapping mailing addresses from the web or from phone books. Time to STOP!!!

To get a proper mailing list with all the filters and criteria I would recommend contacting a mailing list provider. We use for all our mailing lists and that is what I recommend to all our customers. You can use their online site to filter out a list based on zip code, income, number of people in household, etc. I like calling them and talking to a live person – telling them what I need and they will help you out and even give you a discount (make sure to say PrintPapa referred you!).

TIP 3: Use the Postcard size 11×6 inch. to get the best bang for your buck

11 inch wide and 6 inch height. You must be thinking why? Isn’t a smaller size cheaper and cost less?


11×6 is the biggest size you can mail at the standard bulk postage rate by USPS. Anything bigger than this size will go as a Flat rate and will cost roughly 70% more in postage. So anything from a postcard size (6×4 inch) to 11×6 gets the same postage rate. Hhm!! Make sense to take advantage of the extra space for your message, right!?

Printing does not cost much, its the Postage that costs the most. So make the biggest impact by printing a 11×6 postcard size as it will cost the same to mail as a small 7×5 size.

Check out this link (×6-971p13513.htm ) where you can get instant pricing and a quote for sending a direct mail postcard 11×6.

By the way – this is the only size i have sent all our PrintPapa mailers for the past 12 years. If you have received our PrintPapa mailer – check the size so you can get a better look and feel of the 11×6.


TIP 4: Send Postcards to your existing Customers. You will get the Best ROI. Period!!

Get the highest ROI by keeping in touch with your customers via Direct Mail Postcards. They know you, they trust you which is key to loyalty. They will stop for a second before they toss of the mailer in the garbage. Think about it.

So if you have NOT been collecting addresses from your customers – stop reading further and start doing that right away.

We used to have a Retail Shop called Postnet (similar to UPS stores) long time back and we used to have a form where we would ask every customer to fill it out and we would give them a 10% off loyalty card. That was our way of generating a mailing list of all our customers.

Since then at PrintPapa we have been sending Direct Mail Postcards to all our active customer on a monthly basis and we give them a special offer and thank them for their business. We’ve been doing this for past 5 years and it’s been a great success!

TIP 5: Give an Offer which your customer cannot Refuse and Have a Call to Action

Grab the attention of your customers with information like – “Come see why our service has been rated 5 stars” “Avail now to get flat 20% off!” or “We provide 100% guarantee on all our products!” Also, include something such as a FREE sample product, a pouch, or even a pen can work wonders for you.

Having a call to action like “Call Now to get 20% off” or “Visit this Website and fill out the form and get a FREE T-Shirt” should be a must on every postcard. This way you can collect their information and have your sales team contact them in a few days.

TIP 6: Simple way to Measure the ROI of your Direct Mail Campaign

Want to know how yo measure the ROI (return over investment) of your postcard campaign? Well, just track the call to actions, i.e. the inquiries made or coupons redeemed after the campaign has been done. Generate special coupon code for each campaign so that you can track how it went.

TIP 7: If you’re only going to do it once, you’re better off saving your Money.

The conversion rate for direct mailers is around 1% to 3% for new prospects and 8%-10% for existing customers. But that is not going to happen if you just do one campaign. The industry standard is 6 times before you start seeing the benefit. Plan and set the budget for at least 6 mailers and you’ll notice a great, long-term effect on your business.

Trust me, I have given these same 7 tips to many of my customers and they have all benefited from it.

Author Bio:

Shawn Nag is the owner & founder of PrintPapa – a premier Printing Company located in Santa Clara, California. To know about the advantages of direct mail postcards and catalog printing California, read his articles.

Tip – How To Prepare Mailing For EDDM Retail

Every Door Direct Mail – Retail® service from USPS® is an efficient and affordable way to reach every customer in your neighborhood. Using the USPS EDDM online tool helps you locate your target neighborhoods and shows you how many customers you can reach.

To get started…

Step 1: Log in or Register
If you already use Every Door Direct Mail and you have a USPS business account, simply enter your user ID and Password.

If you are a first-time user, you’ll be prompted to create a new® or Business Gateway account to get started.

Step 2: Define Who You Want to Reach
The online tool helps you choose your targeted mailing routes by address, city, state, ZIP Code™, or up to a 5-mile radius around your business. You can even use street names or intersections as your target area. Next, you will be prompted to generate and print out the appropriate documentation and facing slips to take with your mailing to the Post Office™. The tool identifies the number of active residential and business addresses in your target areas to estimate postage costs based upon print quantities. You’ll have an opportunity to pay online with a credit card or you can always pay in person at your local Post Office with cash, check, credit/debit card or meter strip.

Step 3: Design/Print Your Mail pieces
Once you’ve identified where your mailing is going, you can place the print order with us. Visit the EDDM Postcard section on our website and choose the size you want to send. You can then download the guideline template and create your artwork. Be sure to check the approved specifications for Every Door Direct Mail, including sizes, address formats, and the approved Every Door Direct Mail – Retail Indicia (required on each mail piece).

Step 4: Preparing The Mailing
We provide an option to prepare the mailing for you for an additional charge. If you select this option we will prepare the mailing and ship it directly to you or you can pick up. You will then deliver & pay for postage to the Post Office listed on the mailing report you created in Step 2.

If you select the option “Customer to Prepare the Mail” then we will just print the postcards and ship it you. You will have to prepare the mailing and then deliver/pay for postage at the post office listed on the mailing report.

Preparing the mailing is very simple process all you have to do is simply take the printed postcards in bundles of 100 pieces (with facing slips attached and the mailing statement you created using our online tool) to your local Post Office. If you did not make your payment online, you will need to pay at the Post Office with cash, credit/debit card, meter strip, or check.

Some Important Links:

Quick Reference Guide PDF
Retail Indicia  JPG
Retail Indicia Usage Guidelines TXT
PPS Form: Download the PS Form 3587, Every Door Direct Mail – Retail PDF

Tip – How To Properly Count Pages For Your Book/Booklet

What is a page?

In this example, let’s say you’ve called or emailed us about a 9 page catalog project you’d like to get printed. The problem is that the word “page” is subjective in the sense that, people use the same term to refer to different things. These are the 3 most common definitions of “page” we hear from clients:

#1) A full sheet of paper (front and back) – Flip through a magazine and you only need to turn a single sheet of paper to see more content. As a result, some people call a sheet of paper a “page” even though there’s artwork on both sides.

#2) 1 side of a sheet of paper (front only, back only)- This is more in line with our thinking process. A book, magazine, catalog, etc. usually presents pages as one side of a piece of paper. Notice that when you read a novel, each side of a piece of paper contains a page number in sequential order.

#3) 1 double sided spread- We’ll define spread shortly but for now let’s just say that we tend to hear designers refer to an individual spread sheet as a page.

Do covers count as pages?

Yes indeed! Here’s the funky part—as I said above, we count 1 side of a piece of paper as a page. Since you have 2 double sided parts to your cover (front and back), your cover counts as 4 pages! The front side of the FRONT cover is page 1, the backside of the FRONT cover is page 2, front side of the BACK cover is page 3, back side of the BACK cover is page 4.

How do I count the number of pages in my catalog?

The answer depends on your binding option, which we’ll discuss in a bit. For now, I’m going to assume that your catalog will be bound with staples (aka saddle stitched) because that’s the most popular method.

If you check the catalog or booklet product pages on our site, you’ll notice that the minimum page count starts at 8 pages, 4 for the cover and 4 inside. Click on the drop down menu and the page options increase by multiples of 4 (12, 16, 20, 24, etc.) because of the way the pages are physically laid out on paper.

Pages vs. Spreads

For stapled booklets or catalogs, you’re actually dealing with spreads in your layout as opposed to regular pieces of paper i.e. the kind you see in a spiral notebook. Adobe defines a spread as:

A set of pages viewed together, such as the 2 pages visible whenever you open a book or magazine.

Basically, a spread is a sheet of paper that will ultimately contain 4 pages after folding. If this concept is hard to wrap your head around,  check out the diagram below:

Printer's spread diagram

If you’re still having trouble, grab a magazine. Open it anywhere and you’ll see two pages on either side of the fold in the center. Each page is part of a single spread it shares with 3 other pages!

While we’re on this subject, I want to make a quick note about reader’s spread vs printer’s spread. You see pages in a newspaper, paperback, etc. in numerical order, otherwise known as reader’s spread. But that’s not an accurate reflection of the printing process. We arrange your pages on the spread sheets as part of the prepress procedure; however, here’s the kicker— we have to print the pages out of order on said spread sheets so they appear in the proper sequence after they’re folded.

The crazy way we go about putting the ink on the paper so you don’t end up reading gibberish is called printer’s spread or imposition.

Don’t panic, we don’t expect you to submit your files in a printer’s spread. We prefer individual pages with bleeds in sequential order.

Why can’t you print a saddle stitched “stapled” catalog with an odd number of pages?

This question goes back to the previous answer about pages coming in multiples of 4. So an odd number of pages (like 9 or 11) or an even number of pages that’s not a multiple of 4 (like 6 or 10) presents a problem. We can print a 9 page catalog (that’s 9 pages of content excluding the 4 cover pages) with side staples, but you’ll end up with 3 blank pages. Why? In order to fit that last page in, you’d have to order a 16 page product to get 12 internal pages (remember the cover takes up 4 of those pages)!

There are a couple of things you can do in this case:

  1. You can remove the last page and go with 8 pages inside + 4 cover (12 total with cover)
  2. You can live with a blank page at the end and order a 16 page catalog with 12 inside pages.
  3. Add more artwork to complete a 16 pager (12 inside pages + 4 cover)

I’d go with option #3 because there’s no extra charge for the 3 additional pages. You’re already paying for the paper and printing; why not include more in your design? Besides, you probably designed that 9th page for a reason. Scrapping it doesn’t make sense unless you’re on a super tight budget.

How binding options effect page numbers

Ok, binding brings a whole new level of complicated into the mix. Our standard options for business catalogs and booklets DO NOT include wire binding, although we offer this type of binding on short run catalogs & short run booklets.

The main difference is that we don’t have to work in multiples of 4 with wire-o binding. The spreads have to be cut in half and bound with wiring, which means we work in multiples of 2 instead of 4. The information on our website shows the page counts in 4s, yet we can make you a catalog with 10 inside pages without leaving anything blank (the total number would be 14 pages with the cover though).

We don’t separate wire binding numbering on our website to keep things uniform. If you don’t see the number of pages you need in our standard options, feel free to place a custom quote request here or email our customer service team at

Tip – What Is The Letter Visibility By Distance For Posters Or Banners?

Ever wonder if your text size is too small for traffic to be able to read your message? Most folks either cram too much small text or overcompensate and enlarge the text too much.

Luckily, you found our Letter Visibility Chart to help you determine the best size for your text based on distance you are trying to accommodate for.

Letter Visibility Chart
Use this chart to determine distance for maximum  impact and readability distance
Letter Height Distance for maximum  impact Readable Distance
3 in. 30 ft. 100 ft.
4 in. 40 ft. 150 ft.
6 in. 60 ft. 200 ft.
8 in. 80 ft. 350 ft.
9 in. 90 ft. 400 ft.
10 in. 100 ft. 450 ft.
12 in.  120 ft. 525 ft.
15 in. 150 ft. 630 ft.
18 in. 180 ft. 750 ft.
24 in. 240 ft. 1000 ft.
30 in. 300 ft. 1250 ft.
36 in. 360 ft. 1500 ft.
42 in. 420 ft. 1750 ft.
48 in. 480 ft. 2000 ft.
54 in. 540 ft. 2250 ft.
60 in. 600 ft. 2500 ft.
*Please note all values are an approximation and can vary by environment

Tip – Direct Mail Service Checklist

Direct Mail Service Checklist
  • Format it correctly: Download our (Excel or CSV) template & format your addresses as shown below:

  • Name it “mailing.xls”. Save the file in Excel (preferred) or CSV file format.
  • Upload this address file along with your artwork after you place the order.
  • The Address block on your postcard should be white and is as per the USPS guidelines shown below.
  • Make it Easy: Refer to the TEMPLATE section of the product you are ordering the Direct Mail Services, and download the mailing template to set up the address part.
  • Don’t run Short: Order at least 50 more than your mailing list count. For example, you have 1000 addresses in the mailing list then order the next quantity greater than 1000. OR cut down the address list by at least 50 to account for wastage.
  • Sorry, we will not process the order if your list contains more addresses than the number of mail pieces you ordered.
  • Remember! Add 2 extra production days for mailing. This is in addition to the turnaround time you have selected.
  • Pay For Postage: Postage Payment is added based on the service you select (Standard or First Class). For standard products like Postcards and Folded Mailers, postage is added via the Instant Calculator. For custom jobs we will process the mailing list and you will be notified about the postage amount & pay online.
  • Mail Some and Ship Back Left Overs: Currently our instant calculator cannot handle these requests.
  • Mail All, Recycle Left Overs: If you do not specify to ship your extras to you, we will recycle the left overs at no charge.

Tip – PMS Printing Overview


     1a – What are PMS Colors?
PMS or Pantone Matching System is a specific brand of inks used for color matching. The process of using PMS colors in generally know as Spot Color printing and are a way of printing without the use of 4 Color Process Inks (CMYK – Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black).
     1b – Why use PMS Colors?
The Pantone Matching System is the most well know ink matching system in the world. Most spot color jobs will be using this as reference and it has been an industry standard for a long time. Also, they have a larger gamma range than CMYK so colors can be more vibrant. But even more importantly, PMS colors are consistently reliable because they do not require the combination of 4 colors such as CMYK.
     1c – How to Color Separate art from Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop?
We suggest following the below steps in the order presented but its good to note that some of the steps may not pertain to your art. For instance, if you don’t have gradients in your art then you can skip that step. Clicking on the links will take you to their prospective pages.
2. How to create Color Separations in Adobe Illustrator?
     2a – How to Converting Strokes to Fills in Adobe Illustrator?
     2b – How to Turn Active Gradients to Spot Colors in Adobe Illustrator?
     2c – How to Convert an Active Drop Shadow to Spot Colors in Adobe Illustrator?
     2d – How to Convert Rasterized images to a single Spot Color in Adobe Illustrator?
     2e – How to Create Two Color Artwork in Adobe Illustrator?
3. How to create Color Separations in Adobe Photoshop?
     3a – How to Prepare Channels for Spot colors in Adobe Photoshop?
     3b – How to Separating Colors into the Spot Channels in Adobe Photoshop?
     3c – How to Preview your Color Separation and Saving in Adobe Photoshop?
4. How to use Adobe Photoshop separations in Adobe Illustrator?
     4a – Importing Adobe Photoshop Separations into Adobe Illustrator?
5. General Reference.
     5a – What swatches to use for PMS printing?
     5b – What is Pantone Matching System (PMS) and how does it differ from CMYK?
     5c – Spot Color VS Process Color
     5d – Pantone Color Chart

Tip – How to prepare your files for Screen Printed Products?

[Maximum imprint sizes for garments can vary from brand to brand.]
The following is for reference only but should work on most standard infant, youth and adult t -shirts.
Please verify final imprint sizes with an actual garment or allow for possible size changes prior to production.

imprint guide

 Full Front / Back  14” Wide x 14” Tall (Maximum imprint size)
 Left Chest  3.5” Wide x 3.5” Tall (Average imprint size)
 Sleeve / Leg  3.5” Wide x 14” Tall (Maximum imprint size)
 Infant 6-9 Mos  3.5” Wide Max  &  3.5” Tall Max
 Infant 9- 12 to 18-24 Mos  5” Wide Max  &  5” Tall Max
 Youth XS  9.5” – 11” Wide  &  10” – 11” Tall
 Youth S  12” – 13” Wide  &  11” – 12” Tall
 Youth M  14” Wide Average  & 14” Tall Average
 Youth L and Up  14” Wide Max & 14” Tall Max

Ideal file formats:
• Adobe Illustrator CS6 or earlier version – (Vector Based) Solid / Hard Edge / Simple Halftone Art All fonts outlined at 100% to size with PMS colors specked out in art file.
• Adobe Photoshop CS6 or earlier version – (Pixel Based) Photographic Reproduction 100% to size or larger @ 300dpi or larger . Compressed files such as jpgs & gifs may have unwanted artifacts that may translate to press. So we do not r ecommend using any compressed file formats.
• Non Camera ready art such as Scans & Hand Drawings will be quot ed on an hourly basis.
• PRINTPAPA prefers to produce our own Color Separations & Films. Unless re -worked by our in-house graphics department we can not guarantee print quality .
• Programs such as V iso, Power Point, Excell, W ord, Paint, etc. are not graphics programs. In most cases we will need to do art to make them usable, but on occasion they may be salvaged.

Garments to use:
• Low quality garments will look washed out compared to 100% cotton Tee.
• The tighter the mesh the more detail can be held.
• This also makes a difference if halftones should be used. (ex: PK Polos = not half tone friendly)

(CMYK) 4 Color Process:
As often as possible use one or two colors to make up your design ex: (C) (M) (Y) (CM) (MY) (YC)
• Tertiary colors made of (CMY) should only be used to create browns or color can become muddy.
• Black should be used for gray scale and the darkening of tints only.
• Rich black (100% CMYK) can be used to make a deeper black but using a spot black is preferred.
• Grays should not include any colors other than black unless it is supposed to have a specific hue such as Warm or Cool Grays. Black dots can be extremely noticeable, so we recommend a gray spot color when possible.

Spot colors:
• PMS Color Swatches should be specked out in all vector art. No CMYK / RGB values are allowed.
• Please review a PMS book for color comparison.
• All WILFLEX colors we carry in stock do not require PMS matches.

Stock colors

Placed images:
Separate files for each placed image @ true 300 dpi & 100% to size or larger is required.
If available please supply the original layered RAW file of each as well with all fonts used.

Dot gain, 1/2 tones, ink bleed:
When INK BLEEDs and 1/2 tones open up in a screen as you produce a job, DOT GAIN occurs.
Most colors do not exceed 30% DOT GAIN but there are exceptions such as Red / White which can gain to over 50% in some cases. To achieve the desired % of color, it is essential to consider INK BLEEDS and DOT GAIN. Making multiple shades of various colors try using increments similar to the ones listed below . Please note that this is a general recommendation, different colors have different attributes such as translucency that will affect how a color is affected by underlaying ink, shirt colors,
underbases, etc…
• To achieve 20% differences after printing ———- (0% – 10% – 40% – 65% – 100%)
• To achieve 33% differences after printing ———- (0% – 20% – 60% – 100%)
• To achieve 50% differences after printing ———- (0% – 35% – 100%)

Tip – CHECKLIST For Print Ready Files


Here is a quick checklist to help make sure your artwork is print ready and avoid any delays:
        Be sure the file is setup as CMYK instead of RGB. If you’re not sure, you can add a PDF proof and we will throw in the conversion free!
        Add a quarter inch bleed to your height and width (1/8″ to all sides). Please be sure to check our template if you have borders in your artwork. If not setup properly, the borders may look like different thicknesses.
        Full size images should be no less than 150 DPI to get good quality but 300 DPI is perfect for maximum print quality. If you’re providing a file at half the size, please make sure to double the DPI
        Its VERY important to use our templates to confirm proper placement and sizing. Design work should not alter the template in any way.
        When saving as PDF, be sure that you DO NOT DOWN SAMPLE in the options or you will lose resolution on the print.
        Build files for final product size, problems emerge when trying to scale small files to larger sizes.
        Do NOT set to overprint, must have white ink knocked out of the bottom layers.
        Should be 100% black, NOT a mix of CMYK, especially when working with small text. This helps avoid registration issues.
        If your job has folding, PLEASE use our template to confirm the panels are sized correctly and folds line up properly.
If you have any questions, please visit to check out our extensive Knowledge Base or call us at 408-567-9553

Tip – Light Up The Way Through 2018!

You’ve seen them in subways, BART stations, all over your favorite movie theater, in sports arenas with sponsor logos, but did you know you can have one in your own home or business?

That’s right folks, it’s VERY possible!

These are called “Back Lit Displays” or also known as Light Boxes. The frame itself is a one time buy and the interchangeable films are very affordable @ They can be used for everything from bright window signage for businesses open after dark, to in-store displays and POP signage.


Let’s say you aren’t a business owner, but just want some cool artwork to place in your home. Why not get your favorite sports team design or your favorite city skyline printed on a backlit film for your in-home theater or living room. Maybe your favorite painting or family portrait, backlit over the fireplace. There are tons of applications and ways  you can use Backlit Films to brighten your business or home.

Get all the attention you seek with beautiful custom printed backlit films that showcase your artwork in a clear and bright way. At PrintPapa, our backlit films offer excellent outdoor durability due to its water resistance coating and qualities.