Notes set sales record at South Fort Myers

Written by Elizabeth Braden, CJE

A little note and a few days of intensive labor enabled the yearbook staff at South Fort Myers High School in Fort Myers, Fla., to sell 100 yearbooks in a week.

It all started with the staff’s trip to the CSPA convention in March. Adviser Gina Sabiston spotted Post-It® notes with a message on them enticing students to buy the yearbook.

Sabiston returned to school with them, adjusted the text and had them copied six per page on regular paper.

The note said: “Hey! (Blank for name) You’re in the Yearbook! You will be on page (blank). Come to room (blank) to find out how to buy a book.”

Her three yearbook classes took a few days to check the list of non-buyers against the student names in the index, cut and fill out the notes and hand-deliver them. The response was immediate.

“We’ve never sold 100 books in a week, even when they are on sale. We’ve never had a large sale like this,” Sabiston said.

She said students were showing up at her classroom, asking what the note meant. Sabiston or a staff member would pull up Live Yearbook to show the student the page they were on, plus a few pages before and after.

“We actually pretended to be a little confused,” Sabiston said, as if they couldn’t find the page, so they could show the student a little more of the book. The students were impressed with what they saw.

She said the yearbook at South Fort Myers has been considered a senior book, so the staff has been working to include more coverage of all classes and on marketing it to underclassmen.

Two weeks prior, Sabiston had been wondering how she was going to sell the remaining books. Then, after the sales rush, she was down to 20. She stopped selling and cross-referenced the senior ad list with the non-buyers list and realized some senior parents had not bought a book. Those 20 books will be marketed to that group of parents.

Sabiston said she never orders more books than she thinks she can sell, and now she is hoping for overruns.

“I was completely surprised and totally upset that I didn’t order more books,” she said. “I already know I’m going to have kids crying in the halls.”

  • Brianna Kleinschmidt

    Great idea! We tried this two weeks ago and sold over 100 books as well. The students LOVED receiving our notes and were very excited to know they were in the yearbook. What we did not expect was that anyone around them when they received the note became just as excited and wanted a note too. We are on track to sell out the day before or day of distribution (this week)! I will definitely do this again next year.

  • Elizabeth Braden

    Hi Brianna, isn’t it great when a good idea and hard work pay off?! Let me know how your sales and distribution go.

Elizabeth Braden, CJE
Elizabeth Braden, CJE

Elizabeth Braden, CJE, is the editor of Idea File magazine. She has been a copywriter for Walsworth Yearbooks for more than 10 years, writing articles for walsworthyearbooks.com and marketing materials, and proofreading copy for the Yearbook and Commercial divisions. She has taught at Adviser Academy. Her career has included reporting and editing for United Press International and editing for Knight-Ridder Financial News. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Media News from the University of Tulsa.