In today's fast-paced business landscape, print and mail service providers face a critical decision: adapt or risk a slow decline in the demand for conventional print/mail products and services. Gone are the days of relying solely on traditional mailing services–it's time to diversify and grow. Embrace change and expand your service offerings.

    As a mail service provider, it's easy to get caught up in the day-to-day routine of print and mail operations. However, in today's ever-evolving business landscape, it's crucial to think outside the mailbox and consider expanding your offerings to stay competitive and meet the needs of your clients. They don’t come to you because they want to generate mail. They want the results that come from mailing, like attracting new business and communicating with existing customers. Diversification is one key to unlocking new revenue streams, fostering customer loyalty, and ensuring the long-term success of your business.

    Embrace Digital Solutions

    One way to diversify your services is by embracing digital solutions and integrating them into your traditional print and mail offerings. This can include things like electronic document delivery, payment solutions, and email marketing. By offering digital services alongside your print and mail solutions, you can cater to a broader range of clients and stay relevant in an increasingly digital world.

    The USPS Informed Delivery program is an easy way to dip your toes into the digital integration waters. This article is a couple of years old but it provides some good basic information about how to manage Informed Delivery campaigns for your customers.

    Personalization and Customization

    Obvious major trends in the print/mail industry are personalization and customization. Customers are increasingly seeking unique, tailored experiences, which can be achieved through variable data printing and personalized mailings. By offering these specialized services, you can tap into a growing market and differentiate yourself from competitors. You may already have the software and hardware that enables you to add a higher level of personalization or segmentation to the mail pieces you produce. Put that power to work for you.

    Add Value with Marketing Services

    Another area ripe for exploration is marketing services. As a mail service provider, you already have expertise in direct mail marketing. Why not leverage that knowledge to help your clients improve their overall marketing efforts? Offer services like graphic design, copywriting, and marketing strategy consulting to complement your print and mail operations. This not only adds value to your existing offerings, but also allows you to tap into a larger market.

    Build Strategic Partnerships

    Form strategic partnerships with complementary service providers to help you diversify your offerings and expand your reach without building new services from scratch. For example, partnering with a fulfillment center, designers, writers, or e-commerce platforms can enable you to offer creative mail piece design, order processing, and shipping services. Such arrangements allow you to further enhance the value you provide to your clients. The key is to find potential partners who share your commitment to quality and customer satisfaction. Work together in ways that benefit both organizations and create a seamless experience for your clients.

    Overcoming Obstacles in Diversification

    Print and mail service providers looking to expand their offerings may face a few common hurdles. Understanding these challenges is crucial for successfully branching out and reaping the benefits of diversification.

    Adapting to Technological Changes - The print and mail industry is constantly evolving, with new technologies and digital tools emerging regularly. Adapting to these changes may require investing in new equipment, software, and staff training, which can be costly and time-consuming.

    Balancing Quality and Diversification - Achieving a high level of quality in new services while maintaining focus on your core offerings is vital for retaining customer trust. Providers must carefully consider how to allocate resources and time to ensure they can continue to deliver high-quality services while expanding their offerings.

    Navigating Market Competition - As your company diversifies, you may find yourself competing with businesses outside your traditional market. A strong marketing strategy and a focus on building relationships with new customers will be essential for success. Learn as much as you can about these new areas or enlist the help of an expert.

    Ensuring a Smooth Transition - Integrating new services into an existing business model can be complex. Providers must consider how to streamline operations and maintain clear communication with customers to ensure a smooth transition.

    Managing Customer Expectations - When expanding offerings, it's important to manage customer expectations. You should be transparent about the scope and limitations of your new services and have a clear plan for addressing customer concerns and feedback. Instead of expanding, you can lose customers if your new services are poorly managed.

    Regulatory Compliance - Depending on the new services being offered, you may need to navigate regulations and industry standards new to you, such as with payment processing. Staying informed and up to date on these requirements will help ensure compliance and reduce the risk of costly mistakes. Invest in pre-designed software and platforms that support the new services to lower your compliance risk.

    Challenges like these may apply to your organization but shouldn’t keep you from taking the bold steps necessary to grow your business and set your company apart from the competition. Just be aware and prepared.

    A Diversification Strategy

    Diversifying your services as a mail service provider is not only a smart business move but also a necessary step in staying ahead of the competition. Expand your offerings beyond print and mail, embracing digital solutions, adding value with related services, and building strategic partnerships. You can increase your revenue potential, reduce reliance on a single service or customer, and improve overall customer satisfaction. The opportunities are out there.

    Mike Porter at Print/Mail Consultants creates content that helps attract and retain customers for companies in the document industry and assists companies as they integrate new technology. Learn more about his services at Follow @PMCmike on Twitter, or send him a connection request on LinkedIn.