Funding a yearbook in many schools primarily relies on selling business and personal ads. However, staff members frequently delay the ad-selling process until it’s too late in the year. If you wait until November or later, businesses typically have already used up their community marketing budgets, families may lose that beginning of school enthusiasm, and parents of graduates may have already spent their resources.

Follow the tips below to create a strong ad section that can contribute to boosting a staff’s discretionary budget.


Get organized in spring and summer for next year’s ad sales. Here are a few tips to get you thinking:

  • Set up your online storefront through your yearbook provider or school district. The advantage of using your yearbook provider’s storefront site is that ad design can be done by the families and businesses, instead of your yearbook team.
  • Prepare an email targeting families of rising Seniors about the opportunity to create a dedication ad for their senior. These emails can be sent over summer and into the fall. Link them to that storefront site.

Target Local Businesses!

  • Prepare a list of previous business advertisers and divide them among the upcoming staff for summer targeting.
  • Think about the local businesses that have a working relationship with your school: after care companies, karate studios, dance studios, t-shirt vendors, etc.
  • Create a personal connection by having a student leader send a Sample Business Ad Letter to existing businesses for ad renewal.
  • Encourage staffers to find new businesses for the yearbook ads, focusing on effort rather than sales numbers.


When it’s time to visit a local business, consider these suggestions:

  • Bring a copy of last year’s yearbook. Let the business see the quality of the product.
  • Remind them of the size of the student population and how many potential families their ad will reach.
  • Bring a completed contract so all the business owner has to do is pick their ad size and sign.
  • Carry a pen!
  • Practice your pitch! Remember to introduce yourself by name and how you represent the school.
  • Know who to speak to. Call the business in advance and ask who makes those decisions and when that person may be available.
  • Avoid busy business hours.
  • Dress professionally. A school uniform would be appropriate so the business owner sees your spirit and recognizes who you represent.
  • Be polite, even in the face of rejection. The business may be a better opportunity next year, so don’t leave anyone with a bad impression.


The pricing structure you use for personal and business ads will have a lot to do with the cost that your school community is willing to bear. You don’t want to price families or businesses out of the opportunity to place the ad in the yearbook. But you also don’t want to lose money on the cost required to print those ads in all the books.

Some schools charge more for business ads than student dedication ads. Some offer discounts to those businesses if they are owned and operated by a family at the school. These are all things to take into consideration.

Here’s a good rule of thumb to help you determine how much each ad page will cost:

  • Divide the Total printing Contract price (total number of books x price per book) by the total number of pages to determine the cost per page.
  • Now that you know the cost of the printed page, you can decide, based on economic factors of your community, how much you will charge to either break even, add to your profit, or to help offset the cost of the yearbook.

Start Planning Your Yearbook Ad Sales Strategy Today!

Ad sales and yearbook sales are the business side of the yearbook process. Don’t wait until it’s too late in the year; take action now to maximize your yearbook’s budget. Make sure you have a solid plan to solicit ad sales and a fair pricing structure so that everyone who wants to can afford to be a part of this cherished keepsake.

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