Most mailing services I’ve learned about through the years could benefit from stepping up their marketing efforts. Often these companies have small management teams with no one dedicated to marketing. Any marketing activity that occurs happens only when someone has extra time. This results in a patchwork of unconnected efforts and long periods of inactivity.

Fortunately, companies that find themselves in such positions can begin a marketing strategy that doesn’t require a lot of time and money, but can make a big difference in their marketplace reputation.

Content marketing may be a term with which you are familiar. It’s like advertising because it attracts the attention of potential buyers, but it’s more of a long-term strategy than a typical ad campaign. The goals for content marketing are to establish a reputation in the marketplace, building trust that results in customer engagement and loyalty. This is accomplished by consistently providing relevant content the audience perceives as valuable and doing so over a long time period so companies become familiar with your brand.

Given the nature of the mailing services business, I’m convinced that a strong content marketing strategy is one of the best ways to attract and retain customers. How else will you differentiate your company from competitors? Everyone claims they provide excellent customer service, low prices, and speedy delivery. In the eyes of a businessperson seeking a company to handle their mail, all vendors are basically the same. You’ve got to convince current and potential customers that your mailing operation is worthy of their business. Informational content is the way to do it.

Always Be Top-of-Mind

I always tell people their business must come to mind when a company decides they need goods or services they offer. You can’t rely on customers to find you on their own. The decision to use a mailing service is often based on an event that happens within your prospect’s organization and they aren’t usually something you can predict. Mergers and acquisitions, consolidations, lease expirations, space constraints, dissatisfaction with a current vendor, or even something simple such as personnel changes, can be the trigger that makes a company look for a new mail service provider.

Because you never know when a business may start searching for a mailing services partner, you’ve got to make brand awareness efforts continuously. When a prospective customer needs mailing services, you want your company to be one of the first they consider. That sounds like a big task, but it’s easier than you might think.

Unless you have a massive advertising budget, I don’t know of a better way to maintain top-of-mind awareness than with content marketing.

An Easy, Inexpensive Content Marketing Approach

Content marketing is attractive for mail service providers because of the low cost. Companies can start content marketing with a small investment. I started content marketing with a budget of zero dollars. I had nothing but my mind and ten fingers on the keyboard to get the word out about my business. It took a while, but the effort definitely paid off. Consistently publishing and distributing useful content to my audience was the key. Other businesses in the print and mail industry have experienced similar results.

Articles, case studies, eBooks, and white papers written for customers of print and mail service providers have a long lifespan. Once created and posted on your website, they continue to contribute to search engine optimization, lead acquisition, lead nurturing, and customer retention for years. Plus, such content is extremely versatile. The same content can be the source for videos, slide decks, social media campaigns, presentations, salesperson leave-behinds, lobby literature, and more.

Some companies start simply with a monthly article they publish on their website. Blog posts provide content for the search engines to index, allowing your company to show up more often when prospects search for information about mailing services. You can distribute the same content as an email newsletter for almost no added cost. Using social media, you can drive interested individuals to your website to read the articles and, while they are there, check out the other information your site offers.

They are a great place to start, but blog articles won’t do the whole job. They are good for prospects in the early stages of the buying process, but once they get more serious, buyers will need something more substantial. That’s where items like customer case studies, white papers, or eBooks come in. You can add material to your content inventory as your content marketing strategy gets underway.

Doing a web search on content marketing will return an overwhelming amount of information. Much of it is geared towards companies that sell consumer goods. Marketing people will dazzle you with dozens of concepts and unfamiliar terms, but it doesn’t need to be that complicated. I have found the simple act of doing something and being consistent can make a difference. Maybe someday you’ll hire a marketing firm to develop a comprehensive marketing strategy for your business. For now, get started with something uncomplicated you can handle.

Mike Porter works with companies in the printing and mailing industries to help them raise awareness for their companies, improve their rankings on search results, inform potential customers about the value of their products and services, and keep prospects interested as they proceed through the buying process. Learn more about his services at Follow @PMCmike on Twitter, or send him a connection request on LinkedIn.