Websites are still important marketing tools, so have you looked at yours recently? An unscientific audit of random print/mail service provider websites by this author revealed plenty of improvement opportunities.
Prospective clients visit service provider websites to decide if a company is a good candidate to do their outsourced print and mail work. Social media posts, direct mail, or search engines often drive prospects to the site. Once you’ve done all the work to attract their attention, doesn’t it make sense to make sure your website is doing all it can to encourage prospects to take the next step in the sales process? If your website content and formatting is outdated, or it looks like everyone else’s in the business, you could be losing customers without even knowing they were interested in your company.
This is a good time of the year to assess your site’s appearance and content. Enlist the help of people you know from outside your company and ask them to visit your site and give you an honest opinion.
You’ll want to get answers to questions like these:
- Does the content accurately portray the services you provide?
- Would the average website visitor be inspired to navigate beyond your home page?
- Is the value you provide to clients abundantly clear?
- Do all the links work?
- Does anything on your site detract from the image you want to portray?
- Do you see outdated content, such as information about old postage rates or mailing requirements?
- Have you included a simple call to action that doesn’t involve talking with a sales representative as the first step?
- If you are asking for contact information, are you offering something of value in return?
Website content influences B2B buyers. According to, 49% of buyers rely on content more today than a year ago to research and make purchase decisions. Buyers prefer content that focuses on ROI trends and tactics. Seventy-nine percent of survey respondents accessed case studies within the last 12 months. Other vendor-created content mentioned in the survey includes white papers, blogs, webinars, eBooks, infographics, animated video, and interactive content.
B2B buyers say content producers should concentrate on the value their companies can provide and not so much on product specifics. They would also like to see companies use more data and research to support the claims they make about their products and services. Print and mail service providers can do this through items like case studies, customer testimonials, and statistics.
Publish Enough to Make a Difference
Adding one or two pieces of quality content to your website is better than nothing, but it won’t be enough. Demand Gen Report’s study revealed 78% of B2B buyers consume more than two pieces of content before they engage with a sales representative, and 17% of buyers look at more than seven pieces!
If your site includes only promotional or marketing content, buyers won’t return as they compare competitors and decide which companies will make the short list of potential vendors for their document production and distribution business. You need a diverse library of content appealing to buyers at the top, middle, and bottom of the sales funnel or you will lose potential clients along the way.
At many sites I examined, the web pages emphasized services the vendor provided. I saw several lists that included items like printing, folding, inserting, mailing, and NCOA processing. Other sites were product-oriented, promoting brochures, flyers, bills, postcards, and statements. Also popular on service provider websites are listings of the equipment the company uses, the number of employees, or the production area square footage. With a few variations, most of the websites publicized the same things in similar ways.
While equipment and service details can be useful to customers seeking specific capabilities, they don’t answer the question most prospects have come to the website to ask, which is “Could this be the best company to handle my work?” You must offer more substantial content like eBooks, case studies, or white papers to inspire confidence and communicate value.
I recommend my clients publish short informational pieces such as blog posts at regular intervals. Consistently producing new content helps maintain brand awareness as new buyers research your company and the competition. Regularly posting content on your website is also a positive factor influencing search engine optimization. Consistent publishing helps more people find your company using common industry keywords. Seventy-one percent of B2B buyers in the Demand Gen Report survey said they consumed blog content during the purchase process, which says something about the impact this simple content plays in the overall sales picture.
Most of the marketing talk we hear these days is focused on social media. It seems if you’re not Facebooking, Pinteresting, Tweeting, and Snap Chatting, you might as well not be marketing. I don’t think that’s true. I doubt many companies in our industry are signing new customers because of their social media posts alone. Every prospective client will visit your website before they sign a contract –probably before they even agree to speak to your sales representatives. You’d better be giving them a reason to stay on your site long enough to understand the benefits your company can deliver, or you’ll lose them to a competitor who has done so.
5 Things You Can Start on Today to Make Your Website More Effective:
- Highlight your company’s approaches to solving customer problem.
- Decide on a low-commitment, high-value call to action like a white paper or eBook download.
- Make gated content easier to access (require less information on lead generation forms.
- Add customer case studies and testimonials that support your marketing claims.
- Make a list of six topics you can cover in a blog.
If you don’t believe in the power of your website as a factor in attracting new business, ask your newest customers if they visited your site before they contacted your organization. It would surprise me if they didn’t.
Mike Porter at Print/Mail Consultants helps his clients develop and nurture leads through his division. He offers plenty of free advice about content marketing for the document industry, including a mini-course () on how to write and use customer case studies. Follow on Twitter, send a connection request on , or contact Mike directly at .
This article originally appeared in the January/February, 2019 issue of Mailing Systems Technology.