4imprint, LLC

Countdown to transition: A step-by-step guide on switching from print to electronic newslettersMaking the decision to move from a print newsletter to an electronic version is a significant undertaking. But, have no fear—it can be done! By planning ahead and committing to a seamless transition, you’ll be well on your way to e-newsletter success.We’ve outlined a general timeline to follow in transitioning your newsletter. Feel free to adjust it to fit the culture and bandwidth of your organization.

Three months before:

  • Notify recipients of the intended transition, relaying why your organization has decided to switch and what benefits they’ll receive. Such reasons may include less environmental impact due to going paperless, ability to track the popularity of stories so you can provide desired content, saving money on printing and mailing so it can be allocated elsewhere, and increased interactivity with stakeholders.

Include information regarding the switch in your office, online and within your print newsletter. Accompany your print newsletter mailing with a memorable giveaway like a full-color magnet or mouse pad imprinted with your logo, a reminder message and date of switch. Also consider including an “opt-out” disclosure for customers who still wish to receive a print newsletter for a limited time.

  • Set up an account with an e-newsletter management service. Look for e-mail collection forms that can be added to your website, creative templates or custom uploads, list population, and management and sending options for both plain text and HTML e-newsletters. Using such a service allows for expedited delivery, handling all of the work for you for a relatively low cost!
  • Begin collecting e-mail addresses from your customers. Allow customers to submit their e-mail addresses on your website or via e-mail. Also consider inviting customers to mail in an updated information card, with a field for e-mail address included within. Include the self-mailer card with your print newsletter to make it easier to return, along with a clever e-mail-themed giveaway, like an @ sign letter opener, pen or paper clip—all imprinted with the URL where they can register online.
  • Create an in-house go-to station where visitors can add their e-mail address and pick up any information related to the transition. Let those who sign up keep the pen they use as a reminder of the date of switch. Imprint the date, your logo and website onto bright-colored pens like the purple Epiphany Pen or yellow Cobra Pen to keep the info top-of-mind!

Two months before:

  • Dissect your print newsletter, looking at each piece individually, assessing if it will translate well into its electronic counterpart. Items may have to be shortened in or turned into a “teaser link” that directs users to the rest of the content online.
  • Pick your type of e-newsletter—plain text, HTML or both. Both have their advantages: Plain text can be read by all e-mail programs, whereas HTML offers more branding and image capabilities. If an HTML e-newsletter is in your plans, decide how to handle e-newsletter design:
    • Design the template and write the HTML code yourself (or have a staff member do so internally, if the capability exists).
    • Hire an outside marketing, design, web development or consultancy firm to design and code the e-newsletter template.
    • Use an existing design template provided by your e-newsletter management service.

One month before:

  • Secure your e-newsletter schedule and topic list for the first three months of content. How often will you send out an e-newsletter – once per month, twice per month? What theme will each newsletter take on? What topics will articles be about?
  • Begin drafting your content for the first e-newsletter. In reading e-mails, people tend to skim, so keep articles short and sweet. Entice them to open the e-newsletter by writing a catchy headline for the subject. Also include links to your website to drive sales and add value.

Two weeks before:

  • Hold a staff training session on how to create, update, send and track your e-newsletter. This session should include at least two teammates, so one can fill in if another is absent during an “e-news emergency.” Consider pulling together a step-by-step training manual, too, to accompany the session for later staff reference.
  • Notify all customers a final time of the intended date of switch from print to electronic newsletter. Remind all employees with a memo or mass e-mail. Simultaneously put up Indoor Sail Signs, Retractor Banner Displays or Countertop Banners for both customer and staff benefit that say, “Making the e-news switch on June 1! Register your e-mail at www.CompanyName.com today!”

And, finally, on the day of launch…take a deep breath and release your first e-newsletter. Be proud of your organization and contributing team members —you’ve taken yet another step toward positively increasing your customers’ experience with your organization!

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