SUPER SALES SKILLS

EIGHT WAYS TO EXPAND YEARBOOK SALES

How would you like to double the amount of color in your yearbook? Perhaps you would like to take students to national conventions. Maybe, your staff wants to do something cool (but expensive) to the cover or endsheet. Regardless of your goals for your book or program, maximizing your yearbook sales can help you achieve them.

As yearbook advisers, it is always in our programs’ best interest to sell as many yearbooks as possible. If you are like me however, you don’t have a college degree in business. In my 12 years of yearbook advising, I have learned some easy methods to increase my book sales.

1. CREATE YOUR BOOK WITH YOUR AUDIENCE IN MIND   

The primary reason a student will buy a yearbook is because he thinks that he will be in the book. We know this because the first thing students do after getting their yearbooks is to look themselves up in the index. Covering as many students as possible will result in more sales. One way to do this is to create a list of people who have reached their maximum coverage. Keep a list of who has been quoted or included in a candid picture. Once a student is in the book twice (excluding mug pictures or group photos), he is put on the “max list” and the staff should know not to include him in other spreads. My staff uses the “highlighter” method. I get a list of every student in the school at the beginning of the year. The first time a student is used, his name is highlighted in yellow. The second time that student is used, a blue highlighter goes over the yellow, turning the name green. Keeping this list is a great job for a detail-oriented person. One pitfall that some books have fallen into is to make a yearbook that focuses mostly on seniors. Not surprisingly, programs that do this report that the majority of their books are sold to seniors. Remember that seniors only make up 25 percent of your school. Giving equal coverage to the underclass will give the other 75 percent of your school population an incentive to purchase the yearbook.

2. GET YOUR SALES FLIER IN THE “WELCOME BACK” PACKET  

One week before school begins, students at the schools in my county pick up their schedules and receive their “Welcome Back” packets. This packet usually includes the Emergency Care forms, health forms, Internet usage forms, etc., that parents have to sign. Your school might give this packet out on the first day of school. Regardless of when it is distributed, one way to guarantee that every student knows when yearbooks are on sale and how much they cost is to include your flier in that packet. Make that sales flier stand out with colorful paper. We use the free color stationery from Herff Jones. And we adjust the templates on the “Your Money” CD to customize our flier each year.

3. KNOW YOUR SCHOOL  

Take full advantage of Back-to-School nights, home football games or any event where parents are likely to be on your campus. Set up a sales table, distribute fliers or make announcements. One year, my business managers received permission to “paper” the parking lot (place fliers on students’ cars) as long as they stayed after school to clean up the lot.

4. TAKE FULL ADVANTAGE OF TECHNOLOGY   

Put your sales flier on your school’s home page, making it easily available for parents and students to download. With this kind of exposure, your community will be reminded that the yearbook is on sale every time they visit your school’s Web site. In addition, if your school has an e-mail system in place that provides regular updates to the people in your community, why not use this method to advertise that yearbooks are on sale or that a sales deadline is approaching?

We're In It Together Postcard - Merchandising5. SEND OUT “WE’RE IN IT TOGETHER” POSTCARDS 

Once you send your proofs back to the plant, run HJ Index Builder on those pages right away. Then cross-reference the index with your sales list. Each student who is in the book and has not yet ordered one should be sent a postcard telling him what page he is on and what the spread is about. Staple a sales flier to the postcard to make ordering a book even easier. Herff Jones has free Merchandising materials that you can take advantage of, including these “We’re In It Together” postcards!

6. SELL BOOKS TO YOUR ADVERTISERS  

If your program sells business ads, consider offering a package to the businesses in your community that includes advertising space as well as a yearbook with a Name Plate. It makes for a beautiful display and lets its customers know that that business supports the local schools.

7. PACKAGE SELL   

In addition to selling the yearbook, why not offer additional products that are yearbook-related? Accessories such as name plates, autograph supplements, plastic covers and World Yearbooks can provide your program with thousands of dollars in profit and require minimal effort to keep track of and distribute. On our sales flier, we prominently show off our silver, gold and platinum packages, each offering a yearbook plus an array of these extras. The option for purchasing only a yearbook is “hidden” in the a la carte section of our sales form. Keeping track of these packages is a breeze if you use eBusiness, Herff Jones’ software for monitoring of sales.

8. INCREASE THE PRICE OF YOUR BOOK THROUGHOUT THE YEAR  

To encourage early subscriptions, make it clear on your sales flier that the price of the yearbook will increase after the first sales deadline and then again before distribution. Don’t advertise what the increased cost will be. Decide on this later in the year once you know how your budget looks. This will give you the flexibility to raise your end-of-year price if you need extra income.

Contributed by:
Gary Bender, former yearbook adviser Yearbook
Discoveries Volume 12 Issue 3

Oakton High School - Vienna, VA postcard 3

POSTCARD CAMPAIGN   

These clever cards were sent by the Paragon staff from Oakton High School in Vienna, VA to alert parents that their students did not have books reserved and that the Yearbook Order Center made it possible for them to buy with a credit card. The postcard campaign accounted for the sale of hundreds of books.

Oakton High School - Vienna, VA postcard 2 Oakton High School - Vienna, VA postcard 1

YEARBOOK ORDER CENTER

The Herff Jones Yearbook Order Center can handle all details of your book sales. Some schools, like Oakton, enroll with the Yearbook Order Center so that parents can use a credit card to purchase the yearbook. For more details on the Yearbook Order Center, contact your Herff Jones Yearbook Representative.