A Yearbook Advisers Guide To Email Marketing

Main Entry: school year•book mar•ket•ing
1a: the act or process of selling the yearbook b: the process or technique of promoting, selling, and distributing a school yearbook.

Let me guess, as the yearbook adviser, you’ve printed the yearbook posters, sent home the sales flyers and still, nearly 60% of your students and parents have yet to purchase their copy of the yearbook you’ve worked so hard to create. And you’re probably thinking, “I love creating the yearbook, but selling it is too hard.” There is an easier way and it starts with recognizing where your audience feels comfortable communicating: email. Before you tell me your parents don’t use email, let me share some facts.


According to the 2011 Internet Trends report, the primary method of advertising for the yearbook adviser, printed flyers, sees a far lower open rate and response rate than email. Additionally, if you’re offering online purchasing options for your yearbook, which you should be, having a clickable call to action in an email is far more effective than asking someone to remember a message from a sheet of paper that may not even make it home in the first place.

By now, you should be thinking, “How can I use email to get the word out to parents and students about the yearbook?” While there are countless examples of techniques to leverage this online communication tool, let’s geek out on a few simple ones to start with.

Use An Email Tool To Market Your Yearbook

This has to be easy, right? In that case the yearbook adviser needs an email tool to make it a snap to send out regular updates about your school yearbook. At Treering, we built an email communication tool right into our free online yearbook software to help you get the word out to parents. You can send out invites to purchase online, see which parents have created accounts and purchased books, and email those who haven’t yet purchased their books  If you aren’t using Treering, I’d recommend selecting a free email marketing solution. Personally, I love MailChimp. It’s elegant, intuitive and has built in analytics to show you who has opened your emails.

After you’ve selected your email program, you’ll need to get an updated list of parents and students at your school. I’d recommend using Excel to populate 3 basic fields: First Name, Last Name and Email Address. Save it to your desktop as a comma-separated values (.csv) file so you’ll be able to easily import it into your email marketing tool. Here are complete instructions on creating a class list to be uploaded to your Treering account. Now you are ready to send out batch emails with yearbook updates to your entire school community.

Create Emails With One Great Call To Action

The main goal of using email to market your school yearbook is to get students and parents to purchase it. Make purchasing the yearbook your primary call to action, or CTA, on much of your communication. But why should they respond to any particular email? The “why” is very important here. Try things like a 10% discount if parents purchase early, say by October 31, or if you have a fundraiser attached, set a goal and tell parents how many more books you need to sell to reach that number. Tell them what reaching the goal will do for the school. Make the CTA time sensitive and make sure there is something in it for the parents and students.

Send Regular Updates About The Progress Of The Yearbook

It’s also helpful to build excitement around the yearbook. You should send out emails that inform your school community about the progress of the yearbook. Consider offering opportunities for your entire community to interact and collaborate by offering cover contests, requesting your school to contribute photographs or the ability to suggest sections or topics for the yearbook. If you make your community feel involved with the yearbook process, they’ll be far more excited about it and therefore more likely to purchase a copy.

Getting started by using the tips above will help you better engage with your school and ultimately, sell more yearbooks. For more detailed information about marketing, you can access our ebook at the Treering yearbook ideas page. Also, check out this guide by MailChimp.


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