Hooray!! It’s that time of year again when we start to wrap up our yearbook layouts, senior ads and sales. If the students in your school are anything like mine, they love to procrastinate when purchasing their yearbooks or senior ads.
At the beginning of the 2016-17 school year, our Webb City High School Kick Jack yearbook staff marketed an “Early Bird Special” that sold the yearbooks for $25 for a limited time. We marketed the sales through a home mailer, freshman orientation, scheduled pick-up day, open house and social media. The Early Bird Special sold 193 yearbooks from July 31 to August 24. It was a huge hit among the students and parents, especially for those who normally can’t afford to purchase a yearbook, as our school has a high percentage of students who qualify for free and reduced lunches. After the rush of early buyers, our sales slowed considerably.
The lull lasted until December 1, which was the second price break deadline. This deadline increased the price of our yearbooks from $45 to $55. We advertised through our school website, social media, email and over the intercom throughout the week before the deadline. However, this only increased our sales by 89 yearbook purchases. At this point, we had sold 282 yearbooks, and our goal for the year was 528 by January 22. As a goal-driven yearbook adviser, my brain went into panic mode. I needed some marketing strategies, and I needed them quick!
That’s when my editor and I came up with our Three Last-Minute Sales Techniques:
Public Display of Layouts
When the students review their new yearbooks for the first time, I hear them say, “Hey, look! There’s me!” They love seeing all of the pages that they have been included on. So, I decided that students like that need to be our target audience with our first marketing strategy.
We printed all of the layouts that we have completed, laminated them, and hung them on a wall in the hallway that every student has to pass when walking in and out of school each day. Every time I walk past it, I see groups of students looking them over and pointing to different things that we have included.
Because students love being included in the yearbook, we incorporated “Gotcha Cards” to personally let them know what pages their pictures appear on. We created a Mail Merge document on Microsoft Word to help us speed up the process of making them, considering we have 1,160 students. To grab the attention of the students, we designed the cards to match the theme of our yearbook, which has a “low poly” look. On the front of the cards, we have the low poly design with “Gotcha!” in the center. On the back of the cards, it has their name and the page numbers on which they are featured. We only hand these out to students who have not purchased a yearbook yet.
Social Media! Social Media! Social Media!
Although I have trouble coming to terms with students spending most of their spare time on social media, it is a wonderful tool to use for marketing yearbooks. Throughout the year, we have posted our complete layouts on social media, and we tag the students who are on the pages. Sometimes, other students will tag their friends in the post, so they can also see it. We also did a senior ad giveaway on Twitter. If the student or parent “favorited” and “retweeted” the post, they were entered into a drawing for a free senior ad for the current year. At another time, we did a free yearbook giveaway with the same rules as the free senior ad. Each winner was chosen by a random number picker.
Another favorite of the students here at Webb City High School is memes. We would create and post memes about yearbook sale deadlines and senior ad sale deadlines on our social media to catch the attention of the students as they swiped through all of their friends’ posts.
After all of our marketing efforts, we conquered 468 yearbook sales and increased our book sales in one year by $1,000. Our goal was 528 books, and that will be the number of yearbooks we have printed, so we still have some marketing efforts to complete to make sure that we sell all extra yearbooks. In years past, we have had students wishing to buy the yearbooks between the last day that they are sold and the day that students receive them. Between now and our yearbook delivery date, we will be using the three marketing concepts from above to completely sell out of our books.
I hope that it gives you some ideas to incorporate into your school’s yearbook marketing! Feel free to leave comments with questions or suggestions.
Webb City High School, MO
Anna Busby is a highly motivated and energetic yearbook adviser and business teacher. While she isn't saving her students from mass chaos, she loves to spend time with her husband and fur-children, run long miles, create new graphic designs and watch movies. You can find her on Instagram as Abusby34.