What do you sell? If you said 'mailing services', you've got lots of company. Try typing 'mailing services near me' into Google and you’ll see how many web pages are vying for attention from the same potential customers you want to attract. More specific searches like 'direct mail services’ or ‘direct mail postcards’ still return an abundance of results. If your mailing services company is relying on organic search to generate new leads, you may need to do some work.
Improving your organic search performance requires content. Without good quality content and consistent publishing, you can't get your company ranked highly in the search results, regardless of the SEO techniques you may deploy.
Top-ranking companies have websites that feature blogs, customer testimonials, case studies, or other content that lets Google know they are an authority on the search topic. Fortunately, it doesn’t take a huge advertising budget or a large staff to improve your SEO efforts with informational content, but it does require some analysis, planning, and commitment.
A Strategy for Content Improvements
As you consider the content that will help prospective customers find you through online search, try to determine the key phrases people use when looking for your business. You may get some help from your webmaster, or you can use some tools like Google Analytics that can provide some insight over time. If you can’t get this information, you can probably make some educated guesses. Start making a list of search terms, being sure to include phrases connected to your specialties and anything that distinguishes you from competitors.
The next step is to prepare an editorial calendar or a content plan. This is a document that describes the topics to cover, the format of the content, and when you will publish each piece. Include topics that will naturally include the keywords and phrases on your list.
I like to include topic summaries when I construct content plans, and sometimes I note possible research sources. This information helps me get started when I sit down to write the material months later. This article is a good example. I wrote the lead paragraph almost a year ago.
I can’t over-emphasize the importance of a content plan. Taking the time to create a plan provides several benefits:
• It forces you to think in advance about the content you will create.
• A plan is an antidote for writer’s block and procrastination.
• It ensures you cover all the business areas you want to promote.
• Content plans are critical for consistently creating the content on time.
• Seeing your list of content in one place reveals gaps in your coverage.
You may already have some content you can re-purpose or tweak to satisfy your needs. Look for items such as sales presentations, press releases, and customer testimonials as sources of informational content you can use.
Creating the Right Content
Next comes the hardest part for most small and medium-size businesses — creating the content. If you plan on doing it yourself or delegating this task to someone in-house, be sure to allocate dedicated time to write, edit, and promote every piece of content in your plan.
In my experience, time allocation is where most people fail at content marketing. They may start out holding to the schedule, but eventually other important tasks take precedence and content publishing grinds to a halt. If you’ve had this experience before or you believe that consistent content production will be a challenge for your organization, seek outside help before all your research and planning efforts go to waste.
Mailing services are usually long-term arrangements. Companies aren’t looking for onetime solutions and you’re probably not seeking that kind of work, either. This means the process prospects use to select a provider of mailing services will take some time. Nobody will sign up as a customer because they read just one of your blog articles. The purpose of the content is to attract prospects to your website, help them recognize your brand, and establish your company as a trustworthy and knowledgeable entity worthy of consideration when a company outsources their mailing work or changes providers. This requires you to consistently publish a variety of content.
Once a prospect finds your company via search, the content on your site does the job of helping them remember you. The material on your website should seek to develop a positive opinion of your company in the minds of future customers. That may require content that appeals to potential customers at different points in their decision-making process. Blog articles and short videos are great for brand awareness and thought leadership, but when companies progress to the evaluation and comparison stages of their buying process, they may need other content such as customer case studies, white papers, webinars, or eBooks. Be sure your site has content appropriate for prospects at all levels of the sales funnel.
In the mailing business, attracting attention via internet search will always be a competitive endeavor. You can increase your odds and facilitate conversions by creating and publishing a healthy supply of relevant content for the search engines to find.
Mike Porter at Print/Mail Consultants creates content for the document industry and 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.