Companies in the printing and mailing business have a problem. To potential clients, organizations like these all look the same. Customers expect anyone they entrust with their transactional, regulatory, or marketing mail to offer great products and excellent service. They assume all vendors can print documents and get them in the mail. Just being good at what you do won’t give you a customer acquisition advantage.
When prospects can see no obvious difference between service providers, the only distinguishing factor is price. Cutting prices to get the work isn’t a great business plan. You must give potential clients a reason to rank your company above the competition. That means doing something different.
Ironically, print/mail service providers responsible for creating and distributing effective communications for their clients don’t always do a great job at promoting their own businesses. Most companies in this industry focus their messaging on what they do: Postcards, self-mailers, letters, brochures, statements, etc. These services are not unique. Every company in the business can do them.
Missing from most service provider efforts is informational content aimed at leaving a lasting impression in the minds of potential buyers. When I visit websites of companies that print and distribute documents, I don’t see many white papers, customer case studies, or eBooks. Some service providers have blogs, but companies often struggle with consistent publication. Haphazard publishing or dated blog content makes it seem the organization lacks commitment.
B2B buyers rate informational content more influential than marketing material as they progress through their purchase decision processes. If you want to stand out from the competition, give customers something useful. Show off your proficiency by demonstrating knowledge and thought leadership instead of sales pitches. Here are four ideas that can turn a “just another print service provider” into a memorable entity.
1. Video – Video is perfect for educating your audience, and Hollywood productions aren’t necessary. Interesting and useful content is more important. Film a tour of your facility, have a staff member explain about your data security measures, show customers how to prepare graphic files for print jobs, get video testimonials from satisfied customers, or highlight one of your specialty products. The possibilities are endless.
2. Customer Case Studies – These items are especially useful for buyers in the final stages of choosing a vendor for their print and mail work. They allow potential customers to put themselves in the shoes of other companies that benefitted from their relationship with you. Target audiences consider research and case studies the most trusted types of seller-provided content. (I’ve created cheat sheets and other resources on how to create and use case studies. If you’re interested, get them free at https://pmccontentservices.com/cscheatsheetreg)
3. Email/Direct Mail – Create campaigns to distribute short informational articles via email. Include a call to action in each email that triggers delivery of print samples. This effort proves you know how to integrate multiple communication channels, shows off your printing skills, and demonstrates on-demand fulfillment.
4. Social Media – Encourage prospective customers to connect on social media by running a contest or offering something of value. Include social connect buttons on your site and in your emails. Actively engage in conversations online and strive to grow your list of connections. Then promote your other content and drive traffic to your website through posts in social networks.
You don’t want to be just another company that prints and mails. To distinguish your organization from all those competitors, start communicating with potential customers in a way that tells them you can help them achieve their goals. Whatever content you produce should benefit the reader on its own, without buying something from you first. That keeps them coming back for more, reinforcing your brand at every interaction.
Mike Porter at Print/Mail Consultants helps document operations build and implement strategies for future growth and competitiveness. Learn more about his services at www.printmailconsultants.com and www.pmccontentservices.com. Follow @PMCmike on Twitter, or send him a connection request on LinkedIn.