Summer/Fall Distribution Advice for New Advisers
Written by Danielle Finch
During your much-needed summer vacation you may get an urgent email from your new school’s front office staff. You have dozens of yearbook boxes stacked in the front lobby and you need to take care of them ASAP. Where do you begin?
For the new adviser with a summer/fall delivery, this is one of the first tasks to manage while also trying to prepare for the new school year in a new role. Even though the distribution parties, signing events and grand activities are a great way to advertise and market to your audience, it’s not always feasible that first year. Here are the essentials new advisers need for their summer/fall distribution.
Access Sales Spreadsheets
If using Online Sales through Walsworth’s Yearbook 360, most of the work is done for you regarding sales numbers. Talk to the former adviser to get a copy of the Online Sales export in Yearbook 360, which lists the books ordered. If the former adviser is unavailable, talk to your Walsworth sales rep about accessing this information. Before distribution and sorting begin, this is the foundation for your work. If your school does not use Online Sales, be sure you figure out how the former adviser stored sales data.
Know your Ship Date
Walsworth shows your ship date and when to expect your books on Yearbook 360. Be sure to communicate with your admin, front office and custodial staff about when to expect this shipment. Be clear about where you want the books to be stored. You will want to consider where students will be picking up books and find a central location that meets that need
Decide How to Distribute
There are many ways you can distribute your books; some methods are more tedious than others. Talk with your admin team and see what has been done in the past. Do students pick up their books during lunch? An event during the school day? How do graduates receive their books? Sometimes reinventing the wheel is not the best bet when doing your first distribution. Be sure that your books are secured. A locked closet or unused room is your best bet. If you leave them in your room, they tend to escape. Regardless of your method, have your supplies ready:
- A laptop or smartphone to access Yearbook 360
- Printed sales spreadsheets
- Highlighters, pens, pencils
- Sharpies for autograph signing
- Distribution table
- Box cutters
*Pro Tip: Don’t break down your boxes until you’re sure you don’t need them.
If you’re wanting to take your distribution day to the next level, talk to your administration about when and where you can make your distribution day into a celebrated event. Read an example of how an adviser makes distribution day a festive occasion.
A common method of distributing books is through your homeroom period. Oftentimes schools will use their homeroom class during the first week to distribute technology and relay important first-week information. This is a great way to get books to purchasers. A pre-sorting method will have to be done over the summer, but it can be done.
The downside to a summer/fall delivery is getting graduates their books before they go off to college or begin their post-secondary journey. Talk with your admin team about how they’ve done pickup in the past. An easy way to distribute is through a graduate drive-thru. Schedule a few days where students or parents can pick up their books at the front of the building. Be sure to advertise on your publication’s social media as well as your school district profiles. Ask your front office staff to email graduates’ parents about your dates and times so there is no confusion. That will prevent you from having dozens of books unclaimed.
Communicate like Crazy
Sometimes adults are just as bad about checking their email as the kids. Be sure that you communicate with parents and staff continuously. The last thing you want is your inbox flooded with “When do we get the yearbook?” emails. Those will get old quick. Instead, send scheduled reminders for yearbook distribution and the graduate drive-thru. Use Canva to create catchy graphics for social media and get your front office staff to send parents emails. Overcommunication is key for distribution.
Market Your Overruns
It’s possible you will have a set of overrun books that are available for purchase. You should not count on these books as they are never a guarantee, however you may receive up to 10% of your order in overruns. You want to be sure you get these out to as many late buyers as possible. Once you distribute pre-orders you will more than likely have a swarm of last-minute shoppers looking for extras. Be sure to advertise your limited supply and get them out ASAP. Contact graduates first and be sure they receive their books if they did not pre-order before other classes. Your Online Sales information will have a list of students who did not purchase their book.
Use Guerilla Marketing like this flyer to let non-buyers know they are featured in the book. You would be surprised by the number of pictured students who are non-buyers. Reel them in and get those books out of your hands.
Starting a new program with distribution can be tough, but it’s a great way to meet your new staff and get to know your new school. For more great resources, download our eBook Distribution Day: The Big Reveal! here. What is some advice you would give a new adviser for summer/fall distribution? Comment below!
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