Staffs use innovative methods to sell more yearbooks
The young lady singing the praises of yearbook was highly enthusiastic and oddly familiar. Students watched in amazement as the wild and crazy gal made a very convincing case for buying a copy of the 1999 yearbook. Broadcasting from the school’s central control room, the extremely popular video infomercial reached every student in every classroom. By the end of the day, everybody was talking about the yearbook and about how cute Brian Thomas looked in a dress and high heels.
This highly innovative sales approach is just one example of how many staffs are successfully marketing their yearbooks. Utilizing a wide variety of creative sales and marketing methods, yearbook staffs are working hard to increase sales and to post annual “buy rates” of between 60 and 80 percent. Numbers like these are impressive, considering the majority of staffs realize sales of 50 percent or less on average.
Whether it is a simple marketing plan based on posters and word of mouth or a more ambitious plan involving a cross-dressing student in a video infomercial, it seems the sales philosophy of each yearbook staff is different. Despite the varying approaches, the goal is always the same: to sell more yearbooks.
“More than anything, I try to instill in my staff the importance of yearbook sales,” Christie Chambers, yearbook adviser at John F. Kennedy High School, La Palma, Calif., said. “Having said that, I must admit our sales philosophy is pretty simple. Basically, we rely on word of mouth. That is, the staff starts spreading some harmless rumors about how great the yearbook is going to be this year. This creates a frenzy and gets the whole school talking about the yearbook. We just plant the seed and watch it grow.”
Besides using the teenage gossip mill to their advantage, she said the staff of the Eternal Flame also relies heavily on reputation to sell their yearbook.
“We’ve been able to piggyback on the success of the last book when it comes to sales,” Chambers, who reports a buy rate of more than 60 percent, said. “We work very hard to produce a product that’s different every year. The reputation of the book alone has helped us sell more each year. Many of the students are thinking ‘I don’t want to miss out; I want a copy of the yearbook.’ They don’t want to be the only one without a copy.”
While Chambers and her staff keep it simple, the yearbook staff at New Palestine High School in Indianapolis employs a more involved sales and marketing plan. The Avalon staff organizes an annual sales week, two major mailers and several other activities involving the entire school and community.
“We do everything we can to promote the idea of buying a yearbook,” Chris Conti, adviser, said. “It’s all about promotion.”
Some of the successful promotional activities at New Palestine have included:
“Chalkboard Blitz” week. Yearbook staff members meet 30 minutes before school starts and fill in a designated section of every chalkboard with a catchy slogan and other important information promoting the yearbook.
“Free Candy” days. Staffers pass out free candy in the halls and commons, using candy-specific slogans to urge students to buy a yearbook. For example, the slogan “Let the Good Times Roll and Don’t Forget ‘Em” is used on Tootsie Roll day, while “Don’t Be a Dum-Dum” is used on Dum-Dum day.
Sales-week video production. A staff-produced video promoting “Buy a Yearbook” and the yearbook theme is shown to the entire school at the beginning of yearbook sales week. Popular students are featured in a “movie-like” production, such as the recent “Mission: Impossible” video.
The Avalon staff has been involved in another effective campaign for selling their yearbook. Each year, the staff has approached the fire department, gas stations and other local businesses about using their marquees to promote the yearbook for a few days or a week at a time. Conti said most of the businesses have been willing to help out.
“This is a great way to get the word out to parents and others in the community,” she said.
Many advisers gave general advice about how their staffs have been able to increase yearbook sales. A common suggestion was to sell yearbooks during registration.
“The staffs that aren’t doing this are really missing out on a great sales opportunity,” Chambers said. “We started selling at registration two years ago and our sales have increased by about 300 books.”
For Lisa Morris and the Cohiscan staff at Connersville High School, Connersville, Ind., yearbook sales at registration is a long-standing tradition.
“We traditionally sell about 500 books during our school’s two registration days in early August,” Morris said. “It really is pretty amazing. The principal sends out a ‘Welcome to School’ letter, simply mentioning that yearbooks will be on sale at registration, and then the parents flock in to hand us money.”
Morris also touched on another philosophy shared by most advisers.
“I really think one of the best ways to increase book sales is to give the students a quality product, full of photos and quotes, which involve the students,” she said. “I’m in my second year here and book sales is something we are still working on. Our first book caught their attention and we quickly sold all our overruns. This year, by the time we sell all our overruns, we will have sold 740 books to about 1,200 students. That’s a 62 percent sales rate.”
Conti agrees that building a reputation of excellence can really make a difference.
“Really, when you boil it all down, our best marketing tool has been we have a better yearbook,” she said. “We’ve built a reputation and it works. The students simply want the yearbook.”
The bottom line for most advisers and staffs, whether they employ a simple sales and marketing plan or one that is more involved, is increasing the yearbook’s visibility within the school and community. This idea was summed up the best by Susie Coleman of Greenfield, Ind., a veteran yearbook adviser who is beginning her first year advising the Catamount staff at Greenfield Central High School.
“You really need to get out there and get in the face of the student body and the community,” Coleman said. “Just be creative and have some fun. That’s really half the battle.”
Here are some suggestions for you to develop. You can
either work on the assignments I have developed on the WEB pages or you may
choose one of these to work on. This mean you own this fund raiser and it will
be up to you to develop it and make money! No money - you fail. It is worth 30%
of your final.
Don’t forget the mailings! Organize bulk mailings to students and/or parents of students who have not bought a yearbook. Be creative and make it easy to order. Consider including a coupon with a mailing. Coordinating mailings can be a lot of work, but it is still a sure-fire way of increasing sales.
1. BULK MAILINGS and MARKETING - Who would like the above fund raiser to give to Pat Edwards for the bulletin, the principal, and the Video academy? (Two person) We should have a weekly advertisement about the Spirit Wall in the new gym. Ms Legorreta sends out an informational flyer to parents. Make sure we get into that flyer. If you miss a week advertising your grade goes down. Write a detail of your activities for approval. Must do a PSA for video academy out put monthly
Coupons, coupons, coupons! Offer discount pricing at
different intervals throughout the year or during special events. For some
people, getting $5 or $10 off the regular price is all the incentive needed.
2. SALES ON SPECIAL DAYS - Who would like to be in charge of coupons that we
can give out to all the advisories? You will need to make the coupons,
distribute the coupons and we need a 10% return on the coupons to receive an A.
(Two people for this set.) Each month there should be a special coupon. This
would include a way to win a yearbook. Win tickets for the Halloween Dance. Write a
detail of your activities for approval.
Make an appearance or two! Set up a table at special events, such as the Homecoming football game, Prom dinner, freshmen orientation or parent-teacher nights. Registration and a single sales week is not always enough. Go to the students as often as possible; do not expect them to come to you. Ask people to make donations for the Spirit for the gym.
3. SELLING AT DAYS - We should have a table set up at the games to sell! Like basketball games. So you will set up a schedule and you will need to sell the yearbooks at those venues. (Two people for this assignment but you could ask other people to help you at games.) You will need to sell no less than 50 yearbooks to receive an A. Write a detail of your activities for approval. I will checking on your attendance at these games.
A photo is worth a lot more sales! Sell extra photos from sporting events and other special activities that are not being used in the yearbook. Put up posters that say “If you like the photo, buy the book!” Rubber stamp each photo with the same sentiment. A great way to make money and increase sales. Or have photographers on assignment hand out cards that say “You’ve been shot. To find out how you fit into the big picture, buy a yearbook!”
4. MAKING T-SHIRTS - Who would like to print out a page and we can make
T-Shirts with the design and photos? Perhaps a Senior Page with all your
friend’s photos or an activity with friends on the shirts. (Two people for
this advertising set) You will need to design and make no less than 25 shirts
that you have sold for an A. You
will need to use Publisher or other designs for these activities. You can also
print out the page through Edesign. Write a detail of your activities for
5. Manzanita Mother Daughter Luncheon. Who would like
to organize a mother and daughter luncheon? Need someone to check on the
cafeteria on May 1, 2010. See if we can get that area – fix it all up – sell
tickets for $10.00 for the luncheon. Open to the whole school and daughter serve
the mothers. This will take four people. Call places to get donations for the
luncheon. Make a nice invitation. Advertise in the newspaper and Catz News.
Start selling NOW. Write a detail of your activities for approval.
Our staff members go to dances and the cafeteria during lunch a couple of times each year and sell “Buddy Pictures.” This is a great income generator, as we do not sell advertisements.
6. Advertise for buddy pictures. Ask all classes to come and take a buddy picture. It would cost a $1.00 and be in the yearbook and also be given to them in one week as a 4x6 picture. Need two people for this also. To receive an A you must take 50 pictures which equals to $50.00. Write a detail of your activities for approval.
.Fundraising for yearbooks
7. Develop a Pizza night at one of the pizza
Pick a night, Call and verify. Send out advertisements for people to come. The
academy that has the most people will win a prize. You must set up two pizza
nights and we must make a total of $150 for both. Make all the reservations.
Write a detail of your activities for approval. Two people needed.
8. Sell candy. Call the candy company. Sell candy so
we can raise money. Be in charge of getting the candy, tracking people, and
depositing the money. Call the company and see how we can get the candy to sell.
Keep track of the money that should come in for each box of candy. (Two people
for this assignment ) Write a detail of your activities for approval.
Kiss the Pig
9. Organize kiss the pig contest. All boxes for
donation go out in FEB. Must be back by March. Get a pig. Sign up for Quad.
Advertise. Go to various businesses and ask for a small donation for Mr.
Schekman to kiss the pig. Ask to go to Rotary and other organizations. Your goal
is to raise $500. You must also check each box in the class rooms every other
day to empty and track. Write a detail of your activities for approval. Two
10. Start advertising the yearbook. Go to each advisory and ask if people would want to make a deposit onto the yearbook. $5 holds the yearbook. Need to hit all advisories. Should be two people. You will need to go each advisory every other week. Write a detail of your activities for approval. Have flyers ready to give out in each advisory. In one month you should be able to hit all advisories.
advertising to buy a senior page. Tell people how you got one and all they need
to do is put down $5.00 to hold it. They have till May to pay it off. Go to each
advisory and pump up all seniors to buy a senior page. Should be two people.
Show other yearbook senior pages. Must sell 20
senior pages. Walk
around and give out the papers that the students will be gluing their pictures
on. Make sure you tell them you will also be getting a senior page. Be
enthusiastic. Write a detail of your
activities for approval.
CUSTOM SHIRTS - Color Choices and Displays
Your yearbook shirts should
stand out in a crowd. This may mean you choose to go with a bold color for your
shirt base, such as something in neon. You may also choose to go with your
school colors (or at least one of them) in order to promote your school spirit.
A third option is to align the color of the T-shirts with the color of the
yearbook. This will give a little yearbook preview to the students who see the
When your staffers get their T-shirts, they should wear them all together. While you should encourage staffers to wear their shirts any time (and as often as they would like), it is also a good idea to plan "staff shirt days" on a regular basis. Have your staffers wear their shirts on the same day to make a bold statement and attract the attention of the rest of the school. Consider wearing T-shirts once per week, or on certain days of the month.
What you choose to put in your
yearbook will identify who you were at the time that the yearbook was printed,
whether it is in grade school, college or as a part of an organization as an
adult. One of the best ways to note your beliefs and attitudes at the time of
yearbook printing is to put a poem in your yearbook. Poems are personal writings
that can give insight
not only into the person who wrote it, but also the person who closely
identifies with it.
Set up a special day for all
yearbook staffers to wear a T shirt with their own page on it. Pick a special
day that we can get a band in the quad and we make a little event about it. Give
out raffle prizes and other fun stuff. Make sure everyone from yearbook has
brought in a t shirt – yellow, white or black and they all are wearing the
shirt that day for a celebration – like that the yearbook is coming soon put
your deposit it on it now. You must have a set time for this activity, you must
have everyone bring in the shirts, you must produce the shirts for this
activity, and you must reserve and have a band, etc for this fun Manzanita Day!
We must sell 25 yearbooks and get orders on pictures of the students they would
want. Write a detail of your activities for approval. Two people needed.
13. Writing Your Own Poem Contest.
for the Pippins.
The most personal way to include
a poem in your yearbook is to write your own. A poem can be about anything,
though the most popular for inclusion in a yearbook is a poem about the
possibilities of the future. As you are thinking about your yearbook, think
about your feelings right then in that moment. What do you want to accomplish?
What are your hopes, dreams for the future? How does the situation for which the
yearbook is being made, such as high school graduation, make you feel? Write all
of these things down as honestly as possible and form them into a poem of any
format. Yes you will need to write a poem but you
must develop a way to collect poems from students. Make it a game. You will need
to collect no less than 25 poems in Spanish or English. You can also contact
every teacher to get those poems or short stories. You will need no less than 20
short stories. You will need to have all the poems and short stories before
April 15th, 2010 Two people for this assignment.
High School Yearbook
* Banner Program
* Thank you page
* Announcement at sporting event
* WHS Newsletter
*Certificate of Appreciation
* Thank you
page in the
* Announcement at
* WHS Newsletter
*Certificate of Appreciation
* Thank you page in the newsletter
* WHS Newsletter
* Certificate of Appreciation
About our Banner Program:
is full color and professionally designed.
It is displayed in the school gymnasium and will be seen at sporting
events, concerts, art shows, and graduation ceremonies. Hundreds of students, parents, and visitors will see your
business name on our banner and they will know that you support our school.
Yearbook staff members will show you an example of the banner when they
visit your business.
If you are unable to meet with a staff member on the dates mentioned,
please feel free to set-up an appointment or place an order by mail.
Please specify which package you would prefer and send a check to WHS
Yearbook. A staff member will
contact you with details. Thanks again for your support.
14. You will need to hit businesses and ask them to be part of
this program. We would need four people to work on this assignment
409 N. Jefferson
are writing to thank you for your generous support of the 2009-2010 WHS High
School Yearbook. Last year donated
$25 to our program and we hope you will continue your support in order to make
the 2006-2007 book even better than the last.
you will find a list of our sponsorship packages as well as an order form.
Please contact Barbara Castro, WHS Yearbook Adviser, with any questions.
you for your support,
detach and return with payment or request for a bill)
Spirit Design Sponsor Order Form
Contact Person: ____________________________
Payment Enclosed: _______ Please
$200: ____ Silver:
1/8 pg w/text: $45: ____
1/8 Pg w/pic: $80____
Contact Barbara Castro,
Publishing class responsible for The Manzanita, our high school yearbook,
are seeking your sponsorship. Your
sponsorship will help fund a year book that becomes a local piece of the P
legacy. Your name will show
students and those who see the book and your name in additional places where we
advertise, that you support our efforts. We
are offering three levels of support:
15. “Free Candy” days. Staffers pass out free candy in the halls and commons, using candy-specific slogans to urge students to buy a yearbook. For example, the slogan “Let the Good Times Roll and Don’t Forget ‘Em” is used on Tootsie Roll day, while “Don’t Be a Dum-Dum” is used on Dum-Dum day. WE NEED TWO PEOPLE.