If you’re new to the yearbook sales process, it’s helpful to think about it in four key stages:
- Scheduling the timing of sales campaigns
- Creating several sales activities that generate awareness and excitement about the yearbook being on sale
- Collecting orders and payment
- Distributing the books when they arrive
Scheduling the Timing of Your Yearbook Sales Campaigns
During this stage, the goal is to identify ideal sales times that attract attention about the yearbook being on sale. Take some time to enlist students, staff and others interested in the yearbook to brainstorm ideas of what will work best for your school. Use a school calendar to compare your thoughts against school activities to determine the best times to have sales campaigns. Typically, you’ll want to allow a total of 3-4 weeks to conduct a sales campaign by the time you promote, sell and wrap up the campaign activities. Many yearbook staffs conduct three campaigns a year to ensure everyone knows they have the opportunity to purchase a yearbook. Of course, you’ll want to also have all the needed material in advance. Here is a game-plan many schools use. Feel free to expand, refine and adjust it based on your needs—it’s just intended to get you started.
3 WEEKS BEFORE yearbook sale date(s)—create and organize the announcements, posters, videos and other materials needed to promote yearbook sales. You can take advantage of YearbookLife’s promotional products contained in your kit and contained on the Marketing Tools page of our website. Promotional videos can also be found on our Yearbook Video Gallery page.
2 WEEKS BEFORE yearbook sale date(s)—hang up posters, run ads and begin “creating excitement and awareness” about the yearbook (as suggested below).
1 WEEK BEFORE yearbook sale date(s)—continue promoting yearbook sales happening the next week; send letters home and post info on school marquee. Have announcements begin!
SALES WEEK—have fun executing the sales activities you planned and taking orders!
1 WEEK AFTER SALES—ensure all funds have been collected and accounted for. Enter buyers’ names and payment amounts into a tracking system or spreadsheet software so you know who has purchased the book and can use that list later on when distributing books when they arrive. Take advantage of Pictavo yearbook software features that capture sales, including online and mobile ordering. Also, make a deposit with an accountant or bank (if you haven’t done so already) to ensure that the yearbook funds are secured.
Defining Your Yearbook Sales Campaigns
Consider the following tips:
- Gradually increase the cost of the yearbook for each sales campaign.
- Create special packages for buyers that include options like personalization or an ad space along with the price of a yearbook.
- Consider adding options to all your offerings—this can increase sales!
- Develop a system or use yearbook software features in Pictavo to track and report sales balances due from buyers.
- Consider offering a payment plan for students who cannot afford to pay for a yearbook at one time.
- Make sure you stress a non-refundable deposit.
- Consider offering families with multiple children at your school a discount for a second or third yearbook.
- Tie in gift certificates/gift cards during the holidays.
- Offer people the option to “sponsor” or donate funds so a book can be purchased for a student that cannot afford one; have a drawing for a lucky winner or winners.
- Consider communicating in both English and other languages to ensure that everyone knows and understands that a yearbook will be on sale.
- Offer Recognition and Business Ads during some of the sale campaigns.
- Use your school website as a sales tool by posting prices and deadlines for sales. (See Selling Advertising section for more details.)
- Create videos and advertising students can share virally to spread the word.
Creating Excitement and Awareness
After scheduling the best times to promote and sell the yearbook, you’ll need to come up with promotional pieces and/or a theme that attracts attention to the upcoming sale dates, times and locations. Be creative and come up with clever slogans and messages if you really want to personalize the sales campaign to your school. Naturally, the use of simple statements like “yearbooks on sale!” or “don’t miss the opportunity!” or “last chance!” are always effective and a fast and easy way to draw attention to the yearbook sale.
Other Ideas for Making the Sales Campaign Fun and Effective
Tap into the principal, teachers, coaches or others heavily involved in planning school events to find out what activities are already planned that you could work around and use as a forum to promote the sale of the yearbook. Possibly even start taking advance orders (i.e. are there some Open Houses, pep rallies, sports events, activity nights or other events that draw kids and their parents to the school and are a natural venue for promoting and selling a school yearbook?).
Identify the heavy traffic areas in your school where posters and banners could be hung to capture student’s attention about the yearbook. The school cafeteria, library, entrances (and even restrooms!) are used by everyone… don’t miss the chance to catch their eye as they’re going about their day.
Don’t forget about school announcements, broadcasts, student and parent newsletters and websites! Work with your school administration and newsletter staff to determine how to take advantage of these opportunities to get the word out about when and where to buy a yearbook.
Gather Input and Buy-In from Students and Staff
There’s no better way to entice students and staff to buy a yearbook than making sure they’re included in the content and the development process. After all, making sure that the yearbook is representative of the people, events and happenings at your school is the whole value of the yearbook.
Develop polls and buyer surveys through English classes at all grade levels. Have these surveys ask for ways the yearbook can be improved and help you better understand their perception of value versus cost. You will be surprised how many people appreciate your effort and how much stronger your yearbook program and sales will be as a result.
Conduct a cover design contest and use the winner’s design for the cover or the title page if your school has already chosen a cover style. Miniaturize some of the finalists’ designs and use them as custom clip art throughout your book. This way, more students will receive recognition.
Include quotes from student and staff interviews about selected topics. Include as many students and faculty as possible.
Get the Student Body Involved in Promoting and Talking About the Yearbook
Send “See you in the book” notes to students whose pictures were taken (include page number and coverage subject) as a reminder that this is their book with their picture in it. It will let students know they will be in the yearbook and increase their interest in buying one.
Choose a marketing theme that conveys the essence of community and belonging that yearbooks represent. It can be used in all promotional materials and announcements such as “Making Our Mark”, “Together We Are One” or “On Our Way.” Your staff is sure to come up with other unique ideas!
Give invitations to students to buy their yearbook. Make them special and individualized.
Create and decorate a “thank you” bulletin board for purchasers to autograph when they turn in their order.
Scan and post yearbook photos from previous years and include them on flyers asking the student body to guess who’s image is pictured. Give all correct answers a coupon off the yearbook price.
Use social media to promote your campaigns where people can quickly and easily share your messages.
Post announcements and images on the school website and social media sites announcing yearbook sales to the general public. Also consider announcing yearbook sales through a calling service if your school subscribes to this kind of service.
Develop a sales brochure and order form you can leave in the front office for visitors to review. Many times parents come to visit the nurse’s office, the attendance office, or the front office. These three places are great locations for brochures so parents can learn about your yearbook sales campaign. (You may also want to contact the feeder schools to see if you can leave brochures at their locations as well. Many times classmates may have a younger sibling attending one of those schools and the more exposure to parents, the better.)
At orientation, have student body leaders discuss the yearbook and describe its importance to incoming students.
Create a skit during an assembly, an audio commercial, or video during morning announcements about yearbook sales to get the student body excited about upcoming sales. Pass out sales forms at the end of the presentation.
Enlist the aid of key influential people on campus to help promote the yearbook. Have teachers bring their yearbook the week of sales so they can share their stories. Have coaches and sponsors inform their teams of the value of purchasing a yearbook and demonstrating the ultimate sign of school spirit.
Get Parents and Other Community Members Involved
Send postcards or flyers to parents letting them know that yearbooks are available to purchase for themselves or their child. Suggest purchasing two books, one for the student and one for parents to keep.
Ask local businesses to display yearbooks to promote community awareness.
Work with your local community newspaper, television and/or radio station to write up announcements that let your community know this is a special time for your school. Invite a reporter to visit your yearbook class or club and see how the yearbook project is created.
Keep the Momentum Building!
Offer an incentive for early ordering of a yearbook—it could be a discounted price off the yearbook (which is always enticing) or a special gift such as a pen, magnet, button or pencil. A simple message stating “I ordered a yearbook,” like the “I voted” stickers given at polls, will let others know that they’re available.
Use brief morning announcements to promote yearbook sales, organize groups for photos or give progress updates.
Create a monitoring device to show sales progress (i.e. a chart or graph) or have a countdown using signs or announcements to remind students of the last day to order a yearbook.
Send a “last chance memo” to those who haven’t yet purchased a book.
Create and publicize a signing party for the last day of school. Make the distribution of books a big deal. Gain permission to allow students who have ordered yearbooks to leave classes early. Serve refreshments; make it fun!
THE GOAL IS TO GET EVERYONE EXCITED ABOUT THE YEARBOOK TO THE POINT THAT THEY WILL PURCHASE IMMEDIATELY. BRAINSTORM WITH YOUR STAFF TO SEE WHAT OTHER IDEAS YOU CAN GENERATE.