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1. How to make postcards to sell online (Step-by-step)

How to make and sell postcards online: A beginner's guide

In an age where many people feel constantly bombarded with digital messages and emails, there's nothing like receiving a good old-fashioned postcard. Whether you want to announce a wedding or wish someone a happy holiday, the postcard is a time-honored way to stay in touch with friends and family.

Many businesses also send postcards to let customers know about an upcoming sale, grand opening, or other special event. If you've got a knack for design, then selling your own postcards can be a great way to earn extra income.

We'll fill you in on everything from the postcard requirements of the US postal service to how to sell your own postcards online. You'll even learn how to get into the postcard design business without having to keep up with inventory or shipments.

Main takeaways from this article:

  • It's now easy to make a postcard shop online using your own unique designs and images.

  • Working with a print on demand partner can save you time and money by ensuring you never have to purchase inventory until it's already been sold.

  • In order to become a successful postcard maker, it's important to understand how to set up your own online store and attract customers through marketing.

How to make postcards to sell online (Step-by-step)


These days, all you need to become a successful postcard maker is a little creativity and an internet connection. Let's break down everything from how to make a postcard to what you need to know to turn your ideas into an online business.

1. Choose a niche

While selling your own postcards can be both fun and profitable, it will probably come as no surprise that you'll face plenty of competition. That's why it's important to figure out how to create postcards that will set you apart from the crowd.

Do you plan to draw or design your own images to feature on the front of your cards? Or do you want to offer customers the chance to personalize postcard templates with their own photos and messages?

Regardless of which route you choose, it can be incredibly helpful to zero in on a certain niche market. A niche or target audience is simply the type of people who are the most likely to purchase your products.

In this case, examples of niches might include postcards that feature:

  • Local landmarks

  • Funny or sarcastic messages

  • Original artwork

  • Vintage images

  • Hilarious or adorable animal photos

While these are just a few out of countless examples, the key is to ask yourself what makes your cards stand apart from those customers that could purchase at their local drugstore. Try doing a quick search of unique postcards on online marketplaces like Etsy or even Amazon for more ideas.

You might even choose to download images of your favorite designs and create a Pinterest board for reference. The goal, of course, is not to copy another seller's designs but to help you get your own creative gears turning.

2. Research post office guidelines

Before we get into postcard design, it's important to make sure you understand what it takes for a piece of mail to be officially classified as a postcard. In order to qualify under the guidelines of the United States Post Office, a piece of mail must be:

  • Rectangular in shape

  • Have a height of at least 3.5 inches and be at least 5 inches long

  • Be at least 0.007 inches thick but no more than 0.016 inches thick

  • Measure no longer 4.5 inches high and 6 inches long

While it's certainly possible to send larger postcards, just be aware that the average postcard stamp may not cover their postage costs. If you're mailing postcards to another country, the size requirements may vary slightly, so it's best to advise international customers to reach out to their local post office for more information.

You may also want to advise your buyers against attaching things like thick stickers or magnets to their cards. While attaching things like washi tape or thin stickers directly onto the card is usually fine, anything that makes the card less than "flat" may disqualify it from postcard status or make it un-mailable.

3. Find a print on demand service

find POD

Want to start a thriving online postcard business without having to worry about purchasing card stock, printing, or battling a paper cutter in an attempt to achieve the perfect straight line? Print on demand (POD) is a unique business model that can save you time and money by fulfilling your orders for you after they're placed.

Simply create an account with a print on demand partner like Gelato to select which of our premium postcards or our full line of greeting cards you'd like to feature your designs on. Connect your POD account to your online storefront, and when an order is placed, your POD provider will get it printed and deliver it right to your customer's address.

When selecting the right POD provider for you, make sure you take several things into consideration, including:

  • What types of card stock do they offer?

  • Do they have reliable customer service?

  • Where do they ship, and what are their rates?

At Gelato, we use a network of over 130 local producers around the world and deliver custom postcards to 32 different countries in a reliable, sustainable way. With transparent pricing and excellent customer service, we can help you break into the postcard design industry without ever having to push a print button.

4. Select your cardstock

Now, it's time to choose the type of postcard material you'd like to offer. At Gelato, we offer two postcards materials to choose from:

  • 300 gsm 110 lb uncoated (around 0.014 inches thick)

  • 350 gsm 130 lb silk coated (around 0.016 inches thick)

The best choice for your customer will depend on several factors; as no two postcards are exactly alike. Uncoated paper offers more of a matte feel and is a good choice if you want to make a text-heavy postcard that's easier to write on.

Silk-coated paper offers a soft, smooth finish that's somewhere between matte and glossy. It tends to be the best choice if you want to have a large image or multiple photographs printed on the front of your cards.

5. Design your postcards

postcards design

Now comes the fun part - actually designing your postcard! Most printers offer their own built-in design studios, such as Gelato's user-friendly mock-up creator, which allows you to design your card either freehand or with the postcard template of your choice.

Otherwise, you can use a free online postcard maker, like Adobe Express, to create the image you want to feature on your card. If you're not super confident in your own postcard design ability, then you might want to consider hiring a professional designer from a site like Upwork or Fiverr.

Just fill your designer in on your project idea and the design elements you'd like to have included. Once your design is complete, use your POD account postcard maker to position it on the front of your card.

If you want to add a message, be sure to pay attention to little details such as fonts, icons, and other elements that reflect your unique niche and style. When it comes to the back of your postcard, you might choose to incorporate either a horizontal or vertical divider.

The USPS will accept either as long as they follow these address requirements:

  • Vertically divided cards - the left side of the card is the message area, while the right side is for postage and the address of the recipient.

  • Horizontally divided cards - More commonly used for marketing, horizontally divided cards should position the message area in the opposite portion from the address of the recipient.

Last but not least, don't forget to leave room for a stamp! Once you're confident that your project looks just right, order samples of your postcard from your POD designer to ensure that it looks just as great in person.

6. Choose an online sales platform

Now it's time to set up your online postcard shop using the ecommerce platform or marketplace of your choice. An ecommerce platform like Shopify is designed to help you design your own online store using customizable tools and training resources.

Shopify can be a solid choice if you already have an established online audience or want to integrate your postcard site with third-party platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. The only downsides are that Shopify does charge a monthly subscription fee and leaves it up to you to attract potential customers to your site.

Ecommerce marketplaces like Etsy, on the other hand, feature a collection of different sellers on the same site. If you're creating your own online business for the first time, then Etsy can be a great place to test the waters.

Not only does it already have an established audience, but its pricing model is based on a percentage of your sales rather than a monthly subscription fee. While you'll have your own dedicated seller page, one of Etsy's downsides is that it offers a limited number of shop customization options.

7. Creating your online store

Once you sign up for an account with the sales channel of your choice, it's time to do some customizing. Come up with a creative and memorable name for your shop, and start to think about things like the color palette and fonts you want to work into your branding.

If you've chosen to create your own ecommerce store using a website builder like Shopify, Wix, or WooCommerce, then you'll enjoy plenty of opportunities to work your branding directly into your site's design. While Etsy is a bit more limited in terms of customization, you'll still be able to upload a banner image to the top of your shop, as well as a logo on the left-hand side of your shop title and details.

You can whip up a free logo in minutes on free sites like myfreelogomaker, both of which can help you find the perfect font, image, and color combo for your free logo. Once you've completed your design, simply save and download it for use in your shop and marketing materials.

Now it's time to start uploading your product photos and descriptions. The importance of featuring high-quality photos for each of the items in your shop can't be overstated.

You'll want to capture plenty of great images to use for your display photo and listing photos. Be sure to utilize keywords as you write detailed product descriptions that document each product's size/dimensions, cardstock material, weight, and coating options.

Set up payment and shipping options and be sure to outline a clear refund/return policy. Last but not least, it's time to set a price for your postcards that ensures you'll still enjoy a profit after factoring in any costs charged by your POD partner and ecommerce platform.

Just keep in mind that it's important not to charge too much if you want to remain competitive. Do a little free market research by visiting the shops of other sellers to get an idea of the price range of most postcards in your niche.

8. Launch and promote your postcard business

launch and promote postcard business

Once your shop is live, all that's left is to pull in potential customers! This is the step that can make or break any online business, as marketing can greatly enhance your chances of success!

Set up dedicated social media accounts for your shop to create a network of both potential buyers and other online business owners. Design promotional posts using your brand colors, fonts, and images.

Download your promos and use them as either paid or free social media ads to attract buyers. It can also be a great idea to create a monthly newsletter where you can share discounts, promos, and announcements about new products.

Create your own postcard business easily

Setting up your own postcard shop can be an incredibly fun way to make extra money online! A print on demand partner like Gelato can make it much easier to create postcards without ever having to purchase inventory until it's already sold.

Once a customer places an order, we'll mail it right to their address so that you can focus on designs and marketing while we handle the rest. Check out our collection of high-quality greeting cards and customizable postcards to see how we can help you get started in just a few clicks.


Next steps

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