How to Build a Business if you are a Printer or Direct Mail Agency

We live and work in a complex communications ecosystem today. Companies that used to have clearly-defined functions or even specialties now cover a lot more ground. They offer many of the same products and services because their customers – companies with something to market, like a product, service, or cause – demand more these days.

To set yourself apart, you need to develop a growth mindset, one that involves incorporating a number of strategies to stand out in the marketplace to create new customers as well as offer more to existing clients and help them build their direct marketing.

In this article, we’re going to describe how your print or agency business can benefit from expanding your outreach. In some cases, this may involve tapping our expertise at Who’s Mailing What! as well as our partners at Impactable to support your business-building efforts.

Showcase Your Content

Your intended audience doesn’t just need information. They want it. They have an emotional desire to understand why they should contact you for their printing and marketing agency solutions.

Content marketing gives you a golden opportunity to shine. Because you know your business better than anyone else, you should be able to explain how you can help prospects achieve their goals.

Sales copy isn’t enough to get the job done. You need to show your expertise and position yourself as an authority. There are several ways to stand out with content:

  • Who’s Mailing What! Articles

We’ve covered a lot of direct mail-related topics in the last few years on our blog. Whether these are tips, best practices, trends, or examples from our database, we have a good handle on what’s working in direct mail. Sharing our articles on your social media pages, newsletters, or linking back to our content tells your audience you do as well.

share wmw content

  • Who’s Mailing What! Co-branded Articles

If there’s a direct mail topic that we haven’t covered, maybe something that relates to a specialty product or service of yours, we’d be happy to discuss creating a content piece for you.

  • SEO Marketing

How are your keywords working for you? When your prospects are looking for direct mail solutions, they need to find you quickly in any search, so it’s critical that you use the best-performing words and phrases on your pages.

SEO marketing example

  • Case Studies

We know direct mail works for your printing and marketing clients. So why not share their success? Even if you don’t name your customer specifically, the point is to tell a story about how you helped them achieve their goals – and inspire others to reach out to you.

  • White Papers

You know your business, and you should also know something about your client’s business as well. A white paper provides upper-level or C-suite expertise and helps set the stage for your solutions.

Build Brand Awareness and Networking

Sometimes branding has gotten a bit of a bad reputation because a lot of the people promoting strong brand initiatives come across as hyper salespeople. The reality is that a brand is little more than your reputation – and you own your company’s reputation. So how do you build that reputation?

  • Guest Post on Who’s Mailing What! Blog

As we mentioned above, our Who’s Mailing What! blog is a great place to show your thought leadership and get a third-party validation for your brand.

contribute a guest post

  • Join Meet the Mailers Podcast

Our Who’s Mailing What! content also includes a video podcast. With just 10 questions, we let you talk about yourself, your company, and how your company fits into the direct mail ecosystem.

join meet the mailers podcast

  • Attend Industry Events

Yes, live conferences and trade shows are on their way back after a 2-year break due to the pandemic. Human beings are social creatures, after all; we do need to interact with each other in person. However, it’s still possible to build connections with others, demonstrate your knowledge, and more in a virtual environment as well, such as a webinar. The key is to be proactive in your engagement – take photos and post on social media, etc.

attend industry events

  • LinkedIn Networking with Area Businesses

Regardless of your current client mix for your marketing or printing services, many businesses and organizations in your geographical area are potential customers. By reaching out to them or their employees on LinkedIn, you’re expanding both of your networks. With as much effort as you’re willing to put into it, you may develop partnerships or friendships based on simply helping a neighbor.

  • Referral Marketing

Your current customers can help you bring in more business by passing along referrals. Think of the times you’ve received a “Friends & Family” offer from a retail store with a discount.

Add Credibility to Your Social Profile

In 2022, being present on social media is good – but it’s not enough. To make an impact, it’s essential for you and your company to actively participate on at least a few channels – wherever your audience is, that is. Your goals are:

  • building brand awareness
  • enabling sales and/or generating leads
  • increasing engagement with your community
  • growing website traffic

What you can do:

  • Sharing Insightful Content

When you like and share content that you agree with, that in some way relates to your printing or marketing business, you look good. People are more likely to view you as credible, creating long-term value. Our Who’s Mailing What! articles, blog posts, and Meet the Mailers videos build trust in you when you share them on social media like LinkedIn and Twitter.

share insightful content

  • Improving Social Media Profiles

More and more buyers are now checking out Linkedin profile pages of company leaders as part of their research before purchasing. It’s important that you put your best foot forward and show a strong profile, especially on Linkedin.

With help from Impactable, your LinkedIn profile can focus on your prospects, not just you. It can answer questions they may have, such as: Who do you help, and how? What does working with you look like, and what are the expected outcomes? In short, your LinkedIn profile and company page function as a landing page that offers solutions for your prospects.

  • Social Media Marketing to Build Credibility

By partnering with Impactable, you can raise your company’s profile on social media, starting with the best platform, LinkedIn. An active presence on the premier business site positions your company as THE experts in your market. Impactable offers a choice of packages that create and publish content (e.g., posts, images) on LinkedIn, making it an important part of your sales funnel. The top-level option extends Impactable’s work to your company’s Facebook and Instagram accounts. This gives your brand credibility and builds trust across multiple channels – places where you can reach your audience.

Connect with High-Quality Prospects

Everyone is not a prospect for your print business or marketing agency. That shouldn’t be news to you. You don’t want to waste important resources like money and time. So – how do you figure out who is not just a good prospect, but a high-value prospect?

Here are some ideas on how to identify and generate leads for your business.

  • Who’s Mailing What!

Yes, that’s right, our database not only includes direct mail creatives but also the names of the mailers. If you’re a printer, they’re prospects for your services. And because you know what they’re mailing, some of your research is already done. That’s your jumping-off point for a discussion.

connect with mail advertisers

  • LinkedIn Outreach

With our partner, Impactable, you can truly see a big difference in lead generation for your business through its strategic outreach framework. Besides optimizing your LinkedIn profile, Impactable’s approach builds contact lists, deploys content, and uses long-term messaging sequences – all to build trust and deepen relationships. It’s not enough to put content out if you arn’t doing the effort needed to grow a targeted audience and ensure the right people are seeing that content.

  • Ad Campaigns

Impactable’s Google Search ads and LinkedIn ads help convert search activity into leads and sales. With compelling copy and reporting analytics, your strategy can easily be tweaked to maximize ad performance and test new ideas. Google search ads put you in front of high-intent traffic where prospects are searching for exactly what you do while Linkedin ads is a great way to target and retarget ideal prospects with laser-like targeting.

  • Website Visitor Identification

Who’s Mailing What! integrates with the Account Data Platform to inform you when an anonymous mailer visits your site, allowing you to see the campaigns being sent by that site visitor. Through the Impactable Account Data Platform, the direct mail marketer decision-makers are captured to power your awareness building and lead generation campaigns. These are “high intent” prospects since they have already checked out your website.

  • Multichannel Marketing Campaigns

An integrated multi-channel campaign in many cases can boost the results of your direct mail. For example, VeraData serves the non-profit fundraising industry with audience solutions. They have shown that donations increase by up to 18% if the mail campaign audience is “warmed up” with a Facebook campaign. Another resource, Direct Mail 2.0, partners with printers and agencies to manage cross-channel campaigns. They see lifts in response rates up to 44%!

  • Account-Based Marketing

Instead of focusing on every possible customer, narrow your audience targeting by focusing on the very best “Ideal Customer Profile”. Reach out with messages across numerous channels. Our integration with allows you to instantly send messages via LinkedIn connection requests, LinkedIn ads, digital display ads, email, and even Facebook with a single click for each prospect.

Be Visible as a Local Business

We noted this earlier but it bears repeating: some of your best prospects may be your neighbors. Of course, your sales force can target local businesses with a basic segmentation strategy.

However, here are some other options for raising your visibility in your local or regional market.

  • Who’s Mailing What! Direct Mail Service Provider Directory

Members of our platform can search our listings of companies that provide a wide array of services to marketers, such as: B2B, Creative Services, Data Management, and Print & Mail Production, among others. And you can also search curated contacts at these companies for your outreach.

join direct mail service providers directory

  • Google Business Profile

Listing your business on Google is free, and allows you to show what products and services you offer at a single glance, helping it stand out in any search.

be visible as a local business

  • Local Print Groups

Printers can accomplish more when they work together. Local trade groups, such as ones affiliated with Printing United Alliance, provide services (e.g., insurance; partnership/collaboration opportunities) that can reduce costs, as well as a resource for marketers looking for nearby vendors.

  • In-Plant Open Houses

Whether you have new equipment to demonstrate or just want people to know you exist, consider inviting marketers to see the capabilities of your facility.

Use Top-Notch Tools

The software you use is as important as the hardware on your production floor. If you use the right platforms in the right way, you’ll free up enormous amounts of time for your sales, production, and customer service staff.

Some examples are below.

  • Web2Print Portal

When you build easy-to-use templates for the most common print jobs that you can easily print or reprint, your sales reps will have more time to build relationships, work on custom orders or upsells instead of chasing invoices or juggling customer jobs.

  • Robust CRM System

Managing and analyzing your customer data is absolutely essential. You can only accomplish this with an MIS (Management Information System) that does everything from generating invoices and automating workflow to monitoring quotes, tracking shipments, and generating reports.

  • Who’s Mailing What!

Besides our content (described above), Who’s Mailing What! supports your work by providing you with tools that save you time and money. We collect thousands of direct mail campaigns every month. By viewing them, you gain creative inspiration as well as get a leg up on your competition – and understanding how they are marketing their products and services. We also help you access sales leads of active mailers, what they mail, and how to contact them,

  • ADP (Account Data Platform)

This unique multitool platform was created to make the lead generation process effective and transparent for Impactable clients. It includes: an integrated ad scheduling tool (to optimize your ad spend), an audience tuning feature (to optimize your target audience towards the most valuable conversions), and website visitor identification (to turn anonymous website visitors into known personal contacts and launch the marketing campaign to target them). With all of the insights provided by ADP, you will save time and money and fine-tune your strategy to drive better results.

Final Thoughts

Let’s face it – print and direct mail companies like yours are successful because they provide a valuable array of products and services to today’s marketplace. At the same time, though, that marketplace is evolving in response to the demands of customers. Your strategy needs to incorporate new tools and tactics to optimize your resources, such as time and money, so that you can continue to build your business.

As I’ve noted in this article, there are many opportunities available to engage prospects and customers, help yourself stand out against your competition, and achieve more sales and a greater share of your customer’s business.

Here at Who’s Mailing What!, we stand ready with the competitive creatives and analytics to help you improve your market strategy. Along with Impactable, our partner, we can provide the tools you need to begin, and deepen, relationships with the customers that will take your business to the next level.

Originally Published by WMW!, Written by Jill Corcoran, President of WMW!