Photo by: Sergio Buenrostro

November 17, 2007 / Marketing / Winter 2007

Supporting your yearbook creation with marketing

Written by Idea File Staff

Writing, designing and creating your yeabook is a daunting task each year, and typically the one that gets the most attention. But it is only part of the job.

Marketing for your yearbook program is just as important, and includes several components. Take a look at these guidelines covering the three primary objectives of marketing the yearbook – selling the book, selling ads and raising funds.

Sell it!

A ton of energy and hard work gets thrown into publishing a yearbook. To ensure that as many students enjoy the final product as possible, a well-run book sales campaign is essential. Make note of the following steps:

Know your audience Identify all prospective buyers, including students, their parents and family members and local businesses.

Get the word out Promote the sale of the yearbook in a variety of ways. Plaster the walls of your school with posters and banners. Use the school paper or broadcast network to let your audience know when the yearbook goes on sale. Stuff fliers into lockers. Have the staff wear shirts, hats and buttons advertising the yearbook sale.

Push the orders Mail order brochures and letters to parents, making sure to have clear order deadline dates. Hand out fliers throughout school with the order date(s) and ordering information.

Organize your sales Put your sales tables in highly traveled areas of the school. Hang signs around the school that direct people to your sale. Have plenty of staff to work the table,
and definitely keep track of your sales with purchase receipts.

Advertise here

Ads can be a big money-maker for a yearbook program. A yearbook contains valuable real estate, and selling business and personal ads requires an efficient and organized effort by your business staff to capitalize on this fundraising endeavor. There are several strategic steps to remember:

Prepare to plan Develop a budget at the beginning of the year and determine how much money you will need to generate. Then, figure out how many pages in the yearbook you will devote to ads, and how much you will charge.

Think out your attack For personal ads, create a direct mail campaign, sending letters and brochures to parents, grandparents, friends and family of students to make them aware of personal ads. You can even hold a “Personal Ad Night,” allowing people to come to the school, meet one-on-one with a yearbook staff member and design their ad.

If you decide to do business ads, create a marketing plan with a theme and timetable, and then develop a sales packet that your salespeople can take on calls. It is a good idea to stress how wide the audience of a yearbook is – reaching kids, parents, family, faculty and other community organizations. You can also mention the historical importance of a yearbook, preserving an advertiser’s message for years.

Raise some funds

For some schools, simply generating strong sales of ads and the yearbook supports the program financially. Other schools need additional streams of revenue, which is where a fund-raiser comes in. Think about using one of these fund-raiser ideas:

Photo and T-shirt sales Your staff will take hundreds of photos throughout the course of a school year that they will not use in the yearbook. While you have no use for these photos, and likely no place to store them, you will be amazed how much people would love to have them.

Unused photos can either be sold themselves, or if you can afford the cost, can be printed on a T-shirt. In both cases, the setup is as easy as manning a table before and after school, or around the lunch period.

Parties and dances Organize and sell tickets to either a yearbook signing party or an afterschool dance to support the yearbook program. Providing food and drink will allow you to sell tickets to events like this.

You can entice students to attend a yearbook signing party by allowing those who buy tickets to get their yearbook a few days or a week before the regular distribution date.

Schools are unique, so it is important to remember that not every fund-raiser works for every school. Be aware that some fundraisers need large staffs. Some fund-raisers may not work at your school, depending on policies and rules.

Idea File Staff

Idea File Staff reports are posts compiled by the Walsworth Yearbooks Marketing Department, covering a wide range of yearbook topics.