One of the most cost-effective methods of marketing yourself is direct mail, and my favourite way to do this is with postcards. Recently I’ve heard Vistaprint.com touted as a really great service, and after a plug on Dave Cross’ blog I decided to use them for my next campaign which incorporates three seperate postcards sent out over a three month period.
So. I went to Vistaprint.com this morning because they have good prices and on top of that some special pricing right now. I’ll be sure to let you know what the quality is like when they arrive, but a couple words about the service and the website which, when combined, were simply bad enough to make me want to punch a kitten. Maybe even two kittens. And I love kittens.
The interface is confusing at best. They provide templates, but when you use the templates, save them as they recommend, the files sizes are too big for their service to upload.
I called support and waited for 5 minutes before someone got to my call. His english was not so good, so we had a few mis-communications. The conclusion?
I had to re-save to JPG and try again. And I had to create an account before I uploaded anything, something the website is cleverly mute on. I swore under my breath. My cats started looking nervous.
But this time the interface wouldn’t seem my postcards as vertical and tried to force a vertical image into a horizontal orientation, so I had to go back to photoshop, rotate the images and re-save.
After cussing and whining and looking for another kitten I finally got through the upload process – which froze my browser while it uploaded, preventing me from doing other internetty things at the same time.
Then the discounts for which I went to this site never showed up. The site said they’d show up at checkout – they never did. So another call to support to sort out discounts. And then I had to go through the whole checkout process again.
Perhaps the printing quality is so good people keep coming back for that. Or perhaps it’s just a steep learning curve that takes it’s toll on kittens, and once you learn it you find you can go for WEEKS without punching a kitten or even a puppy. But folks, this was one of the most painful online experiences I have ever had. I’ve even skipped some stuff – like the whole bit about charging you for uploading your own designs, images, and logos. Or the way they force you to click through 4 pages of up-selling (Ready to buy now? How about envelopes? No? How about rubber stamps? No! What about labels for the envelopes you don’t want? NO!! Oh, so you really just want to check out?) I’m not suggesting you don’t use Vistaprint.com – if Dave Cross uses it the quality must be good. But you may as well walk into the experience prepared. So sign on, grab a kitten, and get ready for a painful experience.
I’ll update you in three weeks, which is when they say my order will be here. I refused to pay the premium for shipping. On the plus side – the part that kittens everywhere will be glad about – I got 3 orders of 100 postcards, 4/4, roughly 5×8 in size, all shipped and taxed for $125.
If you’ve had a different experience, please tell me. I can’t bide the thought that fellow Canadian Dave Cross supports such violence against baby animals. If you’ve had a similar experience, chime in with that too.
(Thank you for letting me vent, I feel better now.)