I want to switch from Multibit to electrum. I can't figure out how to make use of the key multibit exports when it does a backup. Electrum and blockchain.info both seem to want something I can paste in but multibit exports in a binary format. I can't figure out how to use pywallet either.
You need to export the private keys from Multibit in text format using the 'Export Private Keys' option. You can then copy and paste the private key strings into your new wallet.
You can import the private keys from your MultiBit wallet, but you will have to keep a backup of those keys separately as they won't become part of your Electrum seed.
The best way to switch to Electrum is to send all the bitcoins you have on your old wallet to one of the addresses on your Electrum wallet. This way you'll have all your bitcoins secured with your seed.