The importance of marketing and selling yearbooks is often overlooked, yet it is just as significant as creating the book itself—if not more so. If you hit your sales goal, you can pay for your yearbook. If you surpass your sales goal, you can use the additional revenue to add more pages to your yearbook or add features like a supplement, or autograph pages. On the flip side, if you miss your sales goal, you may owe money or have to cut part of your program. Whatever the case, marketing and selling your yearbook is vitally important.

As with any project, proper planning and organization will go a long way in helping you accomplish your goals. In this case, the first step is to assess your school’s past yearbook sales success and build on it. This means taking some time to ask and record answers to the following questions:

  • What worked well in last year’s sales process? Why?
  • What didn’t work well in last year’s sales process and why?
  • If you are new to your school, ask the school secretary and the teachers how well the marketing and sales process worked. great questions to ask could be: What did you like the most about the process? What one thing would you improve about the process?
  • Review all materials that are available from your publisher pertaining to marketing and selling your yearbook. Do you have everything you need? Posters, flyers, money collection envelopes, etc.? What else do you need in order to be prepared for your campaign?

If your school has a tradition of keeping the yearbook a secret, consider changing that tradition. The yearbook is one of a few items where a person is asked to pay in advance with the promise of receiving a high-quality product later. Simple things like including the student body in the design of the book or taking peeks into the yearbook by sharing cover ideas are ways that can increase awareness and connection to the book which, in turn, drives a student or others to purchase one. Learning from last years’ experience is an important first step in building a successful sales and marketing plan for this year’s book.