Photo by: Shawnee High School
Name Drop Your Way to Better Sales
Written by Jenica Hallman, CJE
Brian Krawetzke, the yearbook adviser at Shawnee High School in Lima, Ohio, knew something needed to be done to improve yearbook sales, which were down this year. Each year, the yearbook staff comes up with a unique and innovative sales campaign, often tailored to their theme, trying everything from naming a star after a student buyer to coupon codes, and this year they were looking for a new way to reach students. The team brainstormed ideas, and after reading some of Walsworth’s marketing suggestions, they decided to try more with coupon codes.
The yearbook staff used coupon codes for the first time last year, keeping it basic – the school colors, red and black, for Black Friday; green for an Earth Day promotion; etc. But they say it’s all about who you know, and as the staff met to discuss ideas for a new sales campaign, they realized no one knows their students quite like, well, themselves. Thus, the name drop coupon code campaign was born.
“We started thinking, why not use our best assets – use our yearbook staff – to actually promote the yearbook? So give them that as a homework assignment: Go out and promote the yearbook,” Krawetzke said, describing how traditional posters, school announcements and signs outside the school have not been as effective, particularly this year with hybrid schooling where students may be at home and not even see those.
“Students know how to promote stuff to other students better than we as adults ever would. They thought this was a fun challenge, and they jumped on it.”
They created unique coupon codes for each staff member using their first name as the coupon code to track their success. The discount was only $3 – not a huge amount that would dip too much into profits, but enough to make it worthwhile to type in the coupon code. Whichever student had the most sales in two weeks would win a prize. Then they got local businesses to donate gift certificates for the winner so it would not cost them. They found businesses were happy to support the school, particularly with gift certificates.
“We’re really good at getting free things,” Krawetzke joked. “My students are really solid at that. We have a great community that we live in. A lot of local mom and pop stores, restaurants and different things that are wonderfully supportive. I had my students call and talk to them or go out and talk to them about the promotion, and they are always very generous.”
Students got creative, calling and texting parents, setting up social media campaigns (they were inspired by Walsworth’s holiday meme collection you can find here), making funny TikTok and Snapchat videos and reaching out to students individually. The results speak for themselves. In two and a half weeks, they went from down 23% to up 22.7% in yearbook sales compared to last year.
“I promoted the yearbook by reaching out to people through social media,” senior Lauren Sweeny said. “My mom helped me by making Facebooks posts. I texted many classmates. I told lots of people at school, but overall, I think social media made the greatest impact.”
Sweeny ended up winning the promotion by selling 25 yearbooks in two weeks with her name used as the coupon code. Krawetzke added that she even reached out to parents directly telling them they needed to buy the yearbook.
“I think this competition turned out fantastic,” Sweeny said. “Getting our class together to use our voices and platforms to promote these yearbooks made sales turn out great. I was amazed by the amount of sales we were able to make. I believe without this contest, our sales wouldn’t be close to what they currently are. I think others should try this to promote their sales as well.”
Sophomore Kyra Vermillion agreed.
“I really think this promotion was a good idea,” Vermillion said. “It helped sell a lot of yearbooks and was fun to win something.”
Krawetzke encourages other yearbook staffs to try this or think of some outside of the box ways to use coupon codes to start off sales for the new year on the right foot, reminding that it doesn’t just have to be your school name. There are creative and innovative solutions, and students really are capable of great sales accomplishments.