Paperless Post, a service providing ecards and evites, contacted me and asked if I would be interested in checking out their service and possibly writing about my experience. They provided free credits so that I could take the service for a test drive and give my readers my opinion and review of what they have to offer.
I have what could be considered a paperless office. Although I have an office printer for the rare occasions when a client may need a traditional letter or document mailed via snail mail, I seldom remove the dust cover. Online technology is my thing, so I utilize electronic files, cloud storage, social media and email on a regular basis. Even so, when it comes to the personal touches in client relationships like holiday cards or birthday greetings, I’ve tended to stay away from the ecards and gone the more traditional paper route.
Ecards have certainly been around since before I started my business, but they always seemed a bit on the lame side. Even with options like SendOutCards, which mails cards for you, the paper was cheap and the designs always felt a bit too generic or tacky. For me, paperless office or not, I just never found anything that I could prepare online that I was comfortable sending to my clients to convey birthday wishes or mark other important moments in their lives.
Ecards have changed
I was contacted by Paperless Post to see if I’d be interested in trying out their service. It was the catalyst that made me think maybe it was time for me to take another look at ecard options. It had been awhile, and online everything has changed a lot. After agreeing to take Paperless Post for a test drive, I decided to also take a look around and see what else might be offered along the egreeting line. I was surprised to find that sending e-cards and evites is a growing trend. There’s even a big movement toward ewedding invitations. So what about ecards for business?
Lots of options
I did a quick search for ‘Business ecards’ and Google came back with a ton of options. Many of them were way out of my small business price range. For example, a custom ecard with the first two services in my search results ran between $150 to $950 range. It was obvious these services were for big businesses with huge mailing lists, except they weren’t. One service charged $164 for a standard ecard for 0-50 clients. Yikes! And while Hallmark certainly has free ecards, the level of professionalism isn’t there and services like Save a Tree require a yearly subscription at $149 a year.
I created a quick video intro to what I noticed first about Paperless Post.
The first thing I noticed at Paperless Post was the fact that they have a Professional section right in the main navigation. The sub-navigation reveals sections for Event invitations, Get Togethers, Save the Dates, Holiday and Seasonal items and the ability to upload your own designs. For things like birthday, congratulations and thank you cards, you’ll have to go to the Cards section in the main navigation, but never fear, you’ll find plenty of designs that appear classy, professional and very appropriate for sending to clients. Call me a sucker for details, but the fact that they come in an envelope made me happy.
Speaking of class and professionalism
How about sending your clients ecards designed by Vera Wang, Kate Spade, Oscar de la Renta or Jonathan Adler? From simple to gold foiled, these aren’t the silly e-cards you remember. That’s a big plus when you are sending to clients.
Business Save the Dates
Looking through some of the Save the Dates designs I thought about what a nice touch they could be for businesses that hold webinars, seminars and other special events. In fact, since I didn’t have any client birthdays to celebrate at the moment, I decided that my test drive would include putting together a Save the Date of my own. I don’t have any business events coming up, but I do have a friend’s getaway I am hosting and planning, so in the interest of testing, I created my Save the Date for that event. The video below shows how the creation process went.
I created and sent my Save the Date. I now have a Tracking area that allows me to see who has opened and RSVP’d my event. It also allows for messages, both from invitees or from me to them. Do you need additional information from invitees? Additional information is also collected and available in the Tracking section.
Paperless Post utilizes a coin system for their pricing. You can purchase coin packages starting at $6 USD for 20 coins up to $325 USD for 5,000 coins. The cost of each card depends on several factors. If you choose a free card, with no backdrop and no envelope, it’s free to send. Premium cards and premium upgrades like the backdrop and envelopes come at a cost. For me, the thing that sets these ecards apart are the premium features so the free route really won’t cut it if that’s how you feel too.
Premium cards are 2 coins, a backdrop, envelope and envelope liner will all add another coin each. If you purchased a small package, that’s equivalent to .30 per coin or $1.50 per card for a premium card with backdrop, envelope and liner. Larger packages reduce the per coin cost. The $50 package with 400 coins brings the per coin cost down to around .12. The largest, 5000 coin package reduces it to about .06. For this reason, if your plans were to send a large amount of cards at once, for example holiday cards, your best bet would be to purchase a larger package. If your plan is for sending the occasional birthday or thank you card, the smaller packages might work just fine.
Mobility, Stationary and Flyers
In addition to the variety of cards available, there is an option to create your own stationary. If your still terrorized by memories of e-cards you received years ago, you can choose to create a flyer instead, complete with RSVP right from the e-flyer. For those of us who find ourselves on something other than a computer, there’s even an app.
My thoughts on the test drive
Overall, I really like what Paperless Post is doing for ecards and for the environment. Will I send all of my clients their birthday wishes and holiday greetings via Paperless Post? I’m not sure. I’m able to tuck a gift card inside of a traditional card, and as of right now, adding a gift to a Paperless Post card isn’t an option. Thank you cards on the other hand I just may start sending electronically. I’ll definitely remember those electronic Save the Date cards and flyers when I schedule my next event. For those of us with paperless offices or those who prefer the convenience of doing things electronically it definitely gives us an option without looking tacky.
Postscript: In my search for the new, cool ecards I found a few other options which like Paperless Post, did not promote as primarily for business. While not specifically for business, the following have business options or could certainly be adapted for business use.