Back-to-School Traditions & Yearbook Marketing Strategies

back-to-school yearbook marketing ideas

It might seem like it’s way too early, but the beginning of the school year is the best time to start reminding students about the best part of the end of the year. (We’re talking about the yearbook, of course.)

Back-to-school time is tops for yearbook marketing, because you likely have everything, or nearly everything, going in your favor:

  • A whole bunch of parents (also known as people who pay for the yearbook) are gathering at your school for a version of parent-teacher night.
  • Students, no matter what their age, are excited to be in the building every day. They’re pumped about what the rest of the year is going to hold.
  • Everyone at the school is more willing than ever to do something that will help make the school year even a little bit better than the year before.

You probably know this by now, but not everyone at your school—despite all this beginning-of-the-school-year excitement—will be busting down your door to buy a book. We have a few strategies—and accompanying tactics—you can use to solve that problem.

Strategy #1: Create A “Fear Of Missing Out”

No one likes to be left out. Not in the yearbook and not in real life, either.

Creating a “fear of missing out,” or FOMO, can be a powerful persuasive tool. It can get people to take an action they otherwise might not take at that time—or at all. A common tactic that creates FOMO is a sale.

If you’re able, reduce the price of your book for a specific event, like parent-teacher night. Make it the lowest price of the year and advertise it ahead of time. You’ll want your parents coming ready to buy the yearbook. Done correctly, we’ve seen schools sell up to 30% of their yearbooks that night alone.

A killer sale is pretty enticing, but some people are more of a wait-and-see type.

That means you want to be creating FOMO using other tactics, too, like peer pressure and social proof. After you make your first huge chunk of sales, start working your sales numbers into your yearbook marketing. Constantly inform people how many books you’ve sold, and get a few students to tell you why they bought one already, because it’s hard to ignore the crowd.

Strategy #2: Crowdsource Photos To Increase “Ownership” Of The Yearbook

People buy things they value.

Though we’re not breaking any new ground here, you may not have thought about your yearbook marketing through that lens.

And the best way to think about yearbook marketing from that perspective is to look at your sales numbers from the last few years. If you’re at a school where nearly every student already buys the yearbook, you can pretty safely say that the yearbook is valued highly. If you’re at a school where not many students (or not as many students as you’d like) buy the yearbook, you can pretty safely say the opposite.

When it comes to creating value around the yearbook, crowdsourcing photos is a silent marketing tactic that will also get you help creating the yearbook.

The advantages? Your school community is reminded of the yearbook’s existence (as if it went anywhere!) when you ask for photos; they take a pride of ownership when they take and contribute photos, which makes them more inclined to buy a yearbook; and you get a free batch of photos from an incredibly diverse set of viewpoints.

That’s what we call a win, win, win.

Strategy #3: Work With Other Clubs To Get More People Talking About the Yearbook

One of the best ways to get people’s attention is to be everywhere.

Posters, flyers, emails, morning announcements, they’re all great. Sometimes, though, your yearbook marketing can get lost among all the other posters, flyers, emails, and morning announcements being made. You need something that will get your heard through all the noise.

If you’re a yearbook team of one, this probably isn’t a strategy you’ll want to use, because it requires some extra work. But if you can swing it, work closely with your school’s other clubs and activity groups.

What you do for them, and what they do for you, will totally depend on your school, but here’s an idea: help them document their year in a special way (you’re pretty good at that, right?) and they can help you by saying “The yearbook’s great. They’re helping us document our year in a really special way. And, oh by the way, buy a yearbook because you should totally have one.)”

This isn’t necessarily a strategy that’s going to deliver a bunch of yearbook sales all by itself, but it will get more people thinking about and remembering the yearbook. Pair it with one, or both, of the strategies above, and you’ll have a killer combo.

The Right Yearbook Marketing Strategy Can Result in Sales

There are a bunch of reasons the beginning of the school year is the best time to start your marketing, but the one that might mean the most to you is this: If you knock it out of the park in the beginning of the school year, you won’t be scrambling to handle the bulk of your yearbook sales later in the year (when you’re more likely to be scrambling to handle the bulk of your yearbook creation).

That and you’ll do a far better job of getting a yearbook into the hands of every student.

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