Use creativity to raise awareness and sell books

Use Creativity to Raise Awareness and Sell Books

When one of my editors or staffers rushes into my room with a brilliant idea, it’s usually not about something “boring” like book sales. More likely, it’s about the fun yearbook stuff like fonts or design. But sometimes it should be about book sales.

Creating a clever marketing campaign can be the fun yearbook stuff, too, and it’s more important than ever because books don’t sell themselves. Some years we’ve ignored marketing; not only has it hurt our sales, but we stopped doing some of the activities that were fun for us and for the student body. This fall we decided to have fun.

After our first books were sold through first-day packets, we started our campaign. We assigned a super-organized, hyperactive, creative editor to be in charge of the campaign. First, she printed last year’s sales list and we targeted the students who bought a book last year. We left notes on their windshields, found them in the halls, and continually reminded them that they needed to bring their money.

With that done, we targeted the other nonbuyers. We created fliers with Jolly Ranchers attached that said, “Buying a yearbook would be sweet” and delivered those to our targeted nonbuyers in their classrooms. We also created a series of funny commercials that ran on our daily news show. As we sold books, we printed out the receipts and put a neon sticker on the front that read, “Thanks for buying a yearbook. You’re a winner now, and you could be a winner later. Big prizes coming.” (We held a drawing from all receipts on the last sales day for prizes like $5 Sonic or Starbucks gift cards.)
We set a date for ending our regular sales campaign and publicized that with signs plastered all over the school that read, “Yearbook Sales End Soon. Buy yours now before they’re gone.”  As that date approached, we played games at lunch (Minute-to-Win it type activities) and gave cafeteria “gift cards” for free slushies or cookies to the winners.

We also set up a Square account with a card reader for our iPad to make it more convenient to buy a book. This week we’re doing a call-a-thon, calling parents to make sure they don’t want to order a book for their child. The Square has come in handy for these sales.

Our next step is to create a huge poster with tear-off pages to reflect the number of books left from our “final” order and publicizing that few books are left with signs and commercials. When those are sold, we’re taking wait list orders. So far we’ve sold more books than we sold all of last year, and wow, have we had fun doing it.

Charla Harris

Charla Harris

Yearbook Adviser
Pleasant Grove HS Texarkana, TX

Some people think I'm quiet, but they've never seen me "call the hogs" at Razorback games. I can also get excited about bread pudding, trips to Spain and opening a box of new yearbooks, but I am plenty quiet, especially when I am sitting on a beach with a great book and listening to the surf. 
Charla Harris

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