Printed or Digital?

Is digital material better than printed?

There is a lot to consider before your business switches from sending out printed material to sending out digital and here are a few tips to help you make that decision a little more easily.

To print or not to print? Prevent waste, gain space… sounds great.

Most businesses print things: leaflets, brochures, catalogues, newsletters, magazines, Christmas cards. But print and posting such material is costly – a still bigger factor in tough times, when costs are rising but sales aren’t. Here are 4 tips to decide.

Meanwhile, a growing share of their customers actually prefer to receive digital material and read online: it’s quicker, greener, tidier, and, with new page-turning digital documents, far more reader-friendly than it used to be.

The net result is that a growing number of businesses are coming to us at Yudu and asking questions like: How do we wean our customers off printed material and get more of them reading digital material? Should we even be trying to do so? Can we afford to stop printing altogether – either now, or at some point? If so, when?

Of course, we’re biased, since Yudu is in the business of publishing digital brochures, catalogues, magazines, newsletters, books and more – for clients ranging from Cunard, ScottishPower and Metro newspaper to a range of SMEs.

However, we’re also in the business of giving our customers honest and trustworthy advice, even when it goes against our own immediate interests.

We’ve therefore drawn up some guidelines designed to help businesses of any kind decide what and whether to print or not to print.

Tip 1 is: Let The Customer Decide

You should never decide to drop print altogether and go completely digital. Instead, you should offer material in both forms – and let the customer decide.

Every business with, say, a brochure or catalogue should offer it both in print-form and digitally. Most customers will to you either via the web or phone. And when they do, you should ask them whether they want the print or digital version of your brochure, catalogue or whatever. If I was to use emotive words, I might say, “Do you want to wait to get the print version – or view the digital version straight away?”

Or, if you’re asking this sort of question via a page on your website, you can see the stats on what people are requesting – and the clear trend for most businesses is for more customers to opt for digital over print version.

Tip 2: Aim To Switch To Digital Gradually

While you should not stop printing, you can and should aim to phase the use of print down, by offering customers the choice, including the option of the latest kinds of digital editions. Going digital means companies can play their part, or a larger part, in working toward reducing their carbon footprint; call it green publishing if you will.

Tip 3: Do The Maths

Sit down and work out exactly how much you will save by printing less and using digital publishing more. You’re likely to find the figures pretty persuasive.

Tip 4: Keep Up With The Technology.

Such technology is advancing fast on at least two fronts:

Firstly, digital publications are getting better, easier to send, use and read, thanks to advances allowing for the publishing of digital brochures, catalogues or whatever with the same linear, page-turning structure as a traditional print version, as well as for high-resolution images, more pages, search-engine friendly documents and the option of multi-media (video, audio, flash), sitting alongside text in one document.

Secondly, the printing industry itself has changed. In the old days, you had to print a fairly large number of anything in order to be cost-effective. But nowadays, the latest print-on-demand technology means that you can print a catalogue, digital photographs or magazine literally as and when one person wants it.

In Conclusion

Print is now set to disappear. Every business should offer both print and digital material. Let the customers choose between them. Gradually, a larger number will opt for digital, for a number of reasons, including: instant delivery, environmental concerns, multi-media features, and the ability to collect customer emails and to track what customers are or aren’t reading.

In short, you can let the transition happen organically, simply by giving customers the choice.

By giving your customers the option of receiving digital material you will probably find that most of them will want to. This, in the end, will save you money and be better for the environment.

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