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Google+ (Google Plus)

Hi all,

Just a quick post (we'll have to do some round-ups of all of our recent news soon).

Some of you may be aware of Google's latest social networking service called Google+ (Google Plus/GPlus).  The have some decent ideas on adding friends & business contacts in separate groups, as well as location-based messaging and a few other nice touches.

You also may have noticed that alongside the Facebook "like" and Twitter "follow" buttons in our new-look website, there's an intriguing +1 symbol.
The +1 button is the Google+ equivelent of "following" or "liking" & you're likely to see it more and more on the web, as well as in Google search results.


Google+ is still in a testing phase which they've restricted to invite only, but as I've managed to grab some invites, so feel free to use the link below and set up an account - and don't forget to visit www.cfhdocmail.com to give us a +1!

Click here for a free invite to try the new Google+ social network
 (the invites are a limited number, and from time to time Google stops new entries, so try again on another date if your invite doesn't work)

UPDATE: How's that for timing. Google have now officially launched the full, live version of Google+ so everyone can now join - no invite required! Will

Royal Mail Price Increases 2011 (how to still make savings on post)


The price of first and second class stamps from the Royal Mail for standard items has risen to 46 pence and 36 pence respectively this year, meaning yet more strain is being placed on small businesses in the UK, already under pressure due to adverse market conditions caused by the financial crisis, ongoing economics issues and in some cases pressure caused by public sector spending cuts.

Docmail charges for printing and mailing an A4 letter start from just 28 pence (plus VAT) for stationery, print, postage and delivery, proving there are huge savings to be found for postage costs, even in and more importantly than ever the current economic climate, and in light of increased Royal Mail postal rates.

Importantly, Docmail's pricing doesn't depend on customers sending large volumes of mail through us. Our lower prices are there for everyone, regardless of their size or volume of mail. The is no minimum volume, no minimum charge, no subscription charge, no contract required. Just create a free account and start sending physical mail at great rates, & without the need to print letters and stuff envelopes, making the mailing process far more efficient.

But What's the Catch?


Given what we're offering; send a letter for less than the cost of a stamp, without the cost or hassle of printing, mailing and handling the post yourself, we're often asked: what's the catch? or how is that possible?

Put simply; there is no catch.

Docmail's pricing is a product of several factors, including our own postal volumes and postal license allowing us to provide the very best bulk mail discounts to all of our customers no matter how much or little post they have to send.

We have a long (over 30 years) history as professional & secure print company with huge experience in print, mail and IT. By combining these skills, we produced Docmail, a Hybrid Mail system allowing us to take standard electronic documents, process, personalise, print, enclose, sort and send as physical mail from under one roof.

Combining the processes, means we remove inefficiencies and additional costs normally introduced at every step of traditional processes that involve i.e.

  • no manual printing and envelope stuffing

  • no using separate companies, or distributed print sites to handle the various processes

  • no keeping and managing stocks of stationary, letterheads, paper and envelopes

  • no moving physical documents between print sites and mailing houses


Opening up these savings to smaller businesses has been a major goal for us as these have previously been the preserve of large corporations sending huge volumes of mail. In the present climate, it's important to have efficient, cost effective services like Docmail available to the smaller organisations and businesses as they are key drivers in our economy, yet are more exposed by rising costs and economic uncertainty than their larger cousins.

Our solution is to remove the barriers of contracts and minimum charging to allow anyone access Docmail's pricing.

Please read our Press release, or our websites below for more info.
"As Postal Prices Rise, Docmail Offers Lower Prices for Budget Conscious Businesses"
Docmail.co.uk (main Docmail website)
CFH website (for a broader picture of what we do)

Docmail's Accessible Hybrid Mail API

Hi all,

We've added some new code samples to the Docmail API page to demonstrate some of the simplicity and power in the new system & make creating your own mailing systems & integrating postcard, letter and greeting card options into websites and software as you please.

There's a mini SDK (and it's source code) available as the "Docmail Zip Library" to make efficiently sending all of the mailing files and settings over in a single ZIP file (using CreateFileMailing) just as easy as using the webservice calls.

Although most of our examples are currently in vb.Net as that's our primary development environment, we've also added an example "using PHP for Hybrid mail, mirroring the vb.Net quick start code, as well as a simple Perl Hybrid mail example which calls the GetBalance method, but is a useful starting point for accessing a SOAP webservice through Perl. There is also a Python Hybrid Mail API wrapper for the Docmail recently published on GIThub.

In vb.Net, we now also have a "Send Postcards in Seconds!" sample code and vs2008 project to demonstrate how shockingly easy it is to create and send a real, physical picture postcard through Docmail's hybrid mail API. Just supply an image, some text and one or more addresses, then submit the order.

We intend to keep the code samples area updated to leave developers to get creative, rather than worrying about the nuts and bolts of using a Hybrid Mail API.

If you've any feedback, or suggestions for new code samples, which languages to include, or new ideas on how to make use of the API, just get in touch through email/phone, comments on this blog, the Docmail forum, or our Facebook page


Docmail 2011 Pricing Update

Commencing on the 4th of April 2011, our new pricing (*) will be as follows:

Black only printed one side into a C5 envelope = 28p
Full Colour printed one side into a C5 envelope = 38p
A6 Full Colour Postcard = 31p
A5 Full Colour Postcard = 33p
A5 Full Colour Greeting Card = 67.3p

(*) Prices shown exclude VAT, but include the entire cost of creation printing and mailing of the finished item(s) to their end addresses.

Charges for additional pages and other prices will remain at their current levels, and as always, there's no contract required, no registration or subscription fees and no minimum order size or minimum volumes required!

Just register up for free and start getting professionally and mailed letters, cards and postcards at the rates above.
(there's a free £1 credit on new accounts so you can try the service for free)

Note: the current rates are even lower, but hurry as they will only be available until the end of April 3rd 2011.

Improved Postcards too!


A few months back, we invested in a laminator for our postcards to protect them and eliminate any risk of the postcards getting "scuffed" during mail processing and delivery.

So now you can send the quality, custom, gloss laminated physical Postcards printed on 350gsm board directly from your PC!

The results are rather impressive even if we do say so ourselves. Why not give it a try using the now postcard designer - select, or upload your own image, enter a message and address, and you're done.

For 31p (A6) and 33p (A5), printed, personalised and mailed postcards, you can't go wrong!



UPDATED: Previous pricing pre 4th April 2011 of 27p (A6) and 29p (A5) is no longer available due to an increase in Royal Mail postal rates. New prices are 31p (A6) and 33p (A5).

Latest Updates

Hi all,

The blog's been somewhat neglected for a while, but we've not been standing still by any means. Far from it in fact. We now have several new features and tools for Docmail users to make sending physical mail over the internet easier than ever.

Some of our favourites:

Docmail Connect | Sage 50 edition - send sage invoices, etc. over to us at the click of a button, where we print and mail them from less than the price of a stamp!
Docmail API v2 - all new, incredibly powerful new Hybrid Mail API; faster, more accessible and flexible than ever.
Postcard Builder - upload or select pictures & enter text for postcards online - ideal for those without their own art departments or just for quick ad-hoc postcard mailings.
Improved Word Mail Merge Support - we now fully support standard MS Word mail merge fields in Documents

Plus many more small fixes, tweaks and improvements.

More details for each of these will follow (plus I think there are some of the more advanced features from the previous update yet to be publicly announced too!)

Cheers.
Will

Docmail API

The Docmail API(*) has been a great feature for businesses, software providers and groups who wished to automated the sending of letters as Hybrid Mail from their own systems via Docmail for a long time now.
(*)Application Programming Interface

It means any Docmail user can potentially save even more time and effort when sending mail by having mailing output available directly from their own IT systems. the API is quite easy to use, and we now have example code to get developers started in several popular languages (including Java, C#, vb.Net & PHP), & even a simplified version of the API to make less complex mailings even easier.

More details over on our API page: www.cfhdocmail.com/webservice.html

In the new version of the Docmail API, released at the same time as our updated website, the remains largely unchanged to maintain compatibility with any existing systems which use the API.

We do however now offer some additional products & mailing options via the API. The Docmail API now supports Envelope Size selection AND access to the Postcard products via the TemplateType property (single character) of the Mailing Class.

This means you can now send custom postcards directly via our API!
NOTE:
the TemplateType property of the Template Class remains unchanged and must therefore only be set to 'D' (standard document) or 'S' (PDF document stream)

C5 (standard envelopes - A4 folded in half):
D = Standard Document
S = PDF Document Stream (see Webservice Help Guide for more details)

C4 envelope (Envelope size for full (not folded) A4 sheets):
4 = C4 envelope
C = PDF Document Stream with C4 envelope

A5 Postcard (2 sided, colour):
5 = A5 Postcard
P = PDF Document Stream of A5 Postcards

A6 Postcard (2 sided, colour):
6 = A6 Postcard
Q = PDF Document Stream of A6 Postcards

I realise that to some readers this post will be a bit too technical, but trust me the detail above, along with the Docmail API is very useful for those who need a channel for mail output!

Ask your technical people & see what they make of the Docmail API!

Postcards Postcards Postcards!

Send your Postcards here!

The wait is over. Send your postcards with Docmail for just 27p(*) for A6 and 29p(*) for A5.
(*) VAT applies

We've long been able to send postcard mailings on request, with Docmail's Postcards option "coming soon".

Feedback for this product has basically been "we want it", and now the wait is finally over!

With Docmail you can now real send Postcards directly from the web using PDF's or Word Documents, in A5 (half A4) or A6 (half A5) sizes.

Pricing:

A5 Postcards (2 sided, colour) are just 29p +VAT and
A6 Postcards (2 sided, colour) are just 27p +VAT

As usual, that's printing materials, handling and mailing all included in the price.

Again, as usual with Docmail, there is no minimum order, no sign up fee and no contract required.

This means these postcards are suitable for businesses of all sizes e.g. healthcare services, education and other public sector use, for creative marketing, information campaigns and pretty much any other direct communication materials....

...Docmail postcards are also there for home users to send Holiday Snaps back to their friends and family as real Postcards - Postcards that might even make it home before you do (how novel!)!

p.s.
Postcards are also available via our API, so you can send real mailed postcards directly from your own software or website!

For more information on automating send your postcards see: Docmail API

Address List Management



Whether you're using advanced mailmerge features, or simply uploading a spreadsheet of recipient's address, Docmail has tools to make your life simpler.

There are some advance mailmerge features that I'll cover in another post, but for now, here are the general highlights for managing your addresses.

Intelligent column matching

Docmail allows you to map the columns in a spreadsheet of addresses into the address and mail-merge fields for your letter or mailing. On top of the automatic suggested field mapping, it now has the ability to remember previous mappings, and select the most likely field mappings for the spreadsheet on the current mailing.
Automatic detection of first sheet name in an Excel file.
When you upload a spreadsheet, Docmail will automatically selects the first sheet in the file regardless of the sheet name.

Address correction
We've always provided address checking against the Royal Mail database in Docmail, but there's now an option for to correct incomplete addresses using Royal Mail data.

In addition to this, the address list screens now enable the filtering and removal of 'bad' addresses to avoid sending mail that may be undeliverable due to a poor quality address.

This all means you're even more likely to get a full list of 'clean' addresses and use our best postal rates.

Select address to use for proof
There's now an option to select which address you would like used with the PDF proof we return. This option is available by selecting and editing an address, then ticking the box next to "Use this address for Proof?":


Additional address file formats supported
For those of you with address lists compiled in, or exported from other software, Docmail can now detect and process additional file formats as address files; including fixed width, tab delimited, and custom delimited files.

Missing field prompt when saving individual addresses
On entering an address for a mail merge document, Docmail will automatically identify any merge fields included in the document, but not in the address you have entered, allowing you to make sure all of your merge fields are completed appropriately.

Unlimited custom fields
Docmail now allows an unlimited number of customer fields, which can be named in any way you like! There are also some advance formatting options for merge fields which will be covered in another post.

Faster address list import
Docmail now has faster importing of address lists, for an unlimited number of addresses.
(max. file size on via our web server currently limited to 100MB, though this is subject to revision)



As usual, if you have any questions, feedback or improvements yuo'd like to see, get in touch:

Docmail forum,
email: docmailsupport@cfh.com
telehone: 01761 416311

Or simply use the contact form within Docmail.

Help, I'm new at this!

New help tools to guide you through sending your letters online(click the image for a closer look)
Docmail has always aimed to be as user-friendly as possible, but we understand that the leap into the brave new world of Hybrid Mail can be a daunting one. (that's Hybrid Mail as in a mix of electronic with real physical mail)

That's why in the new version of Docmail, we've improved the help resources, and made more information and examples available.

Our new help section includes:
> a simple Docmail user guide, as well as a more advanced guide with detailed info on the more powerful features of Docmail
> a quick link to our FAQ's
> a link to the Docmail forum, where you can discuss, ask questions and feed back to the Docmail team, as well as chat to other Docmail users.
> a selection of example documents, for both letters and postcards
> a link to our API(*) page and user guide for those wishing to create an automated link with the Docmail hybrid mail service

(*) Application Programming Interface

Improved help resources - all in one place(click the image for a closer look)

Hopefully, this will make your step into the world of Docmail a little easier. We're on hand to answer questions, either online through our contact form, or our Forum or, Via email or telephone.

Cheers!

p.s.
Suggestions of improvements are welcome too - it always helps to get new ideas from customers to make it even easier to send letters online with Docmail.

Contact Us Page(click the image for a closer look)

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© 2011 CFH Total Document Management Ltd. All Rights Reserved

CFH Total Document Management Ltd. St Peter's Park, Wells Rd, Radstock BA3 3UP
Email: docmailsales@cfh.com, docmailsupport@cfh.com
Telephone: 01761 416311

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*All asterisked prices are EXCLUSIVE of VAT