If you haven't evaluated the content and organization of your site for a few years, it's time to go see for yourself what your potential new customers are experiencing. You might decide it is time for an upgrade. Most print and mail service provider web sites are missing the mark.

Whether they get a recommendation from a colleague, see an ad, or click on a social media post, all your prospects are eventually going to end up at your company website. They'll be looking for evidence your services will satisfy their requirements of course. But it's likely they are also seeking answers to questions such as:

· What kind of experience does the vendor have?
· Are they in touch with the industry?
· Can they take us to the next level?
· How have they helped companies similar to ours?
· What makes them different from our last vendor?

Content Matters
Online content influences decisions about which companies deserve a place on the short list of candidates. Virtually all your new customers will have done online research before they ever reveal themselves to you as prospects. If your web site doesn't inspire them to take the next step towards doing business with you, they'll leave and perhaps never return.

Customers may consider basic print and mail services as commodities. All service providers look pretty much the same to them. The articles and information on your web site are excellent ways to tilt the scale in your favor. Any company failing to distinguish themselves from the crowd of competitors is leaving a lot to chance.

It's Not About You
Web sites published by printing companies, lettershops, and mail service providers, often focus too much on their own company. They will list the types of equipment they have, tout the size of their production facility, list mail services such as ACS or NCOA (without explaining the customer benefits of these services), or make broad claims about their abilities and commitment to customer satisfaction (omitting any actual substantiating evidence).

There's nothing wrong with including this basic information on a web site. Practically everyone does it. But that's a problem. To distinguish your company from the competition, try including advanced material that demonstrates how your company:

Develops new approaches to problems
Introduces fresh thought leadership on issues
Adds value to your customer's communication strategies
Understands customer objectives and works to help achieve them

These are the criteria today's buyers are using to decide who makes the short list. Wouldn't you rather they evaluate your company on merits like the list above, rather than making a random vendor choice?

If you do nothing else to work on your business today, go view your own web site from a potential customer's perspective. Honestly evaluate how well your online material covers areas important to someone evaluating print and mail service providers. Then set aside some time to improve the effectiveness of your content. Break out from the crowd and demonstrate the value your organization provides. Add some customer case studies or white papers that show your company is qualified and prepared to help your customers meet their communication challenges. Social media or other channels may attract prospects, but it is your web site's job to ensure they take the next step.

A small investment in upgrading the content on your company web site might be the best marketing decision you make all year.

Mike Porter is President of Print/Mail Consultants, a firm that helps companies communicate with their customers and prospects more effectively by supplying content and services developed specifically for the document industry. Connect with Mike directly at Or visit and sign up for Customer Retention NOW! - a free newsletter featuring tips for creating and developing sales leads.