One year ago, with much enthusiasm and fanfare, we put our bi-weekly newsletter, the Hope Fellowship Sun, on-line. A few people expressed their preference for printed copies, so we made that available to them. Evelyn, our church administrator, was thrilled because on-line copies are in vivid colour as opposed to our black and white printed copies. Our financial and environmentally conscious folks were thrilled because of all the paper that we saved. I felt that it was high time to take the newsletter on-line.
Twelve months later, however, we are going back to printing copies of the Sun and placing them in every mailbox. It will mean more work for Evelyn and more money in printing costs, but we feel that we have no choice. We will still send the newsletter out electronically, but everyone will also get a printed copy once again. Here’s why.
Our computer keeps track of the number of people who open our cover e-mail, as well as the number of people who actually open the link to the newsletter. The numbers tell us that only 50-70 % of our 208 subscribers regularly open the e-mails that Evelyn sends out. Of that number, only 5-10% click on the link that opens the newsletter. In other words, last year hardly anyone read the Hope Fellowship Sun. That’s a lot of announcements, church info and articles that were never communicated to their intended audience. That’s a lot of creative effort gone to waste.
Interestingly, last week there was a news story about the continuing strength of printed books and magazines versus their electronic versions. Many people still like the feel of actual pages. The article concluded that this boded well for newspapers.
That’s the hopeful angle I will take on this disappointing year long experiment. Hurray for the printed page. Like turntables and vinyl long play albums, printed versions of our newsletter will make a come back on January 24. That’s when you will find a hard copy in your church mailbox or at the Info Desk, in addition to still receiving an electronic version by e-mail.
- Pastor Peter