So What Happened When We Killed the Magazine?

A while back I wrote about how we communicated a change to our congregation. I promised I would let you know how it went.

The change was moving from a print magazine to an online “news” section of our new website. We printed about 10,000 copies, and mailed 8,000 out every two months. The print and mailing cost was almost $40,000 annually, with postage prices on the rise. It took 25% of one of my staff member’s time to design it. Every indication we have about print is that more and more people are turning to electronic delivery for information. We made arrangements to print out a dozen or so copies of the stories and have them available for people that refused to view them online. Our welcome centers have computers which can be used to view our website.

Plus, we had just launched a new website that could handle the needs of an electronic “news” section. The amount of information we could release, compared to a bi-monthly magazine, would more than quadruple. And the response is immediate; click here, register now, find out more right away. There’s no need to put down a paper magazine and go to the phone or computer to take action. You can take action right then.

So, we pulled the trigger. We communicated the change and our last issue was all about the change to the online format. The bulletin had my contact information so I could take any questions or complaints. While we heard several stories of people that expressed sadness at the loss of a nice magazine, they understood and agreed with the reasons for the shift.

To date, my office has received only 5 real complaints. One was from a very angry 80-year-old that called me personally. She was very upset until I reminded her she could get the same content at the welcome centers if she wanted it. Two were from people that work in the print industry.

The news section of the site has seen excellent traffic. At one point, every two days we were seeing 8000 unique visitors which is as many addresses we used to mail magazines. we are still in the “new” phase of the website, so I don’t want to say this kind of traffic is what we can continue to expect, but the content is being read.

5 complaints out of 8,000 subscribers. I can live with that.