September 24, 2009 / It's Worth It / Noteworthy

Market to as many as possible

Written by Amy Cantrell

When I started advising yearbook, I was faced with the challenge of trying to market our book so that as many students as possible would have a concrete record of their memories to look back on.

We’ve developed plenty of ideas over the years that have proven to be successful. These are a few of the tricks that have helped appeal to our crowd and increase our sales.

  • Include students from all types of groups in the yearbook. Let students know they might be featured. One successful way of doing this is to give your photographers business card-sized slips to hand out when they take a photo. The slip should say something like: “Your photo might appear in the 2010 Pennon yearbook. Bring this paper to the cashier and receive $5 off your yearbook.”
  • Offer a payment plan. If students can pay just $10 or $20 a month, you will be able to sell books to students who could otherwise not afford one.
  • If your school sends home a mailer during the summer (or at any other time), ask to include a flier for yearbook sales. If appropriate, send home fliers in multiple languages.
  • Create a sense of urgency to buy a yearbook. Have a one-week sales events. During these events, advertise through posters, T-shirts for yearbook staff members, fliers on car windows or in lockers. You could even use chalk to draw advertisements on the concrete. Be as enthusiastic about the book as you can.
  • School walls are always covered in posters and yours need to stand out. Use bright colors so they are noticeable. Hang your posters in interesting places. For example, post them on the ceiling or in the restrooms. Perhaps you could cut out paper footprints and have them leading down a hallway to your poster.
  • Place your posters/fliers in locations outside of school as well. Perhaps you could post them at the grocery store or other local shops. You could even ask your local pizza place to tape them on delivery boxes. (Yearbook spends a lot of money there, after all.)
  • Place advertising stickers on items in the school snack machine.
  • Organize a giveaway for your sales campaign. For example, you might draw one name of a student who purchased a book in a given week to receive a free iPod Touch or two tickets to the school dance.
  • Offer a special price for students to buy their books on a specific day, such as registration. If you can, arrange to offer a package deal, such as a yearbook, ASB card, and T-shirt for $100.
  • Have your students use the Internet to increase sales. If they have a MySpace, Facebook, or Twitter account, have them post bulletins about the yearbook.
  • Place an advertisement in your school newspaper or magazine.
  • Send home a letter before the holidays to parents who have not yet purchased books. Offer a special gift certificate if they buy their student a book as a gift.
  • Place a link on your school website to a place where books can be purchased online.
  • Have students man a table at Back to School Night selling books. Have samples of books from previous years on display. Anytime parents are on campus, you should take advantage of the sales opportunity.
  • If your school has a database of parent email addresses, send out reminder emails prior to sales events. You could also use an auto dialing system to send a phone message home.
  • In November, send every student who has not yet purchased a book a reminder. Include reasons why they should purchase a book. You might even include how many times they are already pictured in the book. You could even include the page numbers they appear on.
  • Ask students to submit photos for possible inclusion in the yearbook. They will be more likely to buy a book if their photo might be featured.
  • Use tiered pricing. At my school, the 400-page yearbook starts out at $65. Every month, we raise the price $5-$10, ending at $110.
  • Place a flier inside football or drama programs.

Making sure all of the students in your school have the opportunity to buy a book is crucial. Obviously your program could use the added revenue from increased sales. More importantly, however, students from all walks of life and all campus cliques will have those special moments to look back on years down the road. You are not just pitching book sales. You are fostering memories.

Amy Cantrell