TV stations, newspapers, and websites have professionals whose entire job is to solicit advertisers. Your yearbook committee probably doesn’t.
If that’s the situation you’re in, you need to quickly get word to local businesses that you’re selling yearbook ads—and then get businesses on board. The trick to doing this isn’t telling every business in town about your advertising opportunity; it’s telling the right businesses in town. Here’s how you do it.
Target the Right Businesses for Your Ad Sales
In a perfect world, you’d send a bunch of volunteers, armed with sales materials, out to canvas the town and talk to business owners. But that takes a lot of time and people (and gas for your car). When you don’t have those resources, you need to spend your time approaching businesses who are most likely to take out an ad.
Luckily, they’re not too hard to find. Here are three tips:
- Look at last year’s book. If you’ve run ads in your yearbook before, you already have a big list of prospects. And, since it’s easier to keep an existing customers than to find a new one, they’re the businesses you want to talk to first.
- Talk to your school. Unless you run the local chamber of commerce, you probably don’t know of every business that would be interested in advertising in the yearbook. One of the best ways to find out which businesses you might be missing is to ask your school community. Parents may run local businesses (or know people who do), and students might help you unearth a few places they like to go. Having a personal connection always help close a deal.
- Ask local business organizations. The Better Business Bureau keeps regional listings of all their accredited businesses, and your local chamber of commerce, if you have one, likely does the same. Talk with them about your needs and see if they’ll share a list of local businesses with you. Businesses that are involved with the BBB or your local business organization are more likely to invest in the community.
Though you’ve identified likely ad buyers, you’re work isn’t done. You still need to convince them that an ad is worth their money.
Explaining Why Yearbook Ads Are Worth It To Businesses
Those local businesses who advertise in your yearbook will likely do so for one of two reasons:
- They’re supportive of the community and want to help your school.
- They see it as a good business opportunity.
You can help businesses make a decision for either reason. You just need to be prepared.
To convince someone that advertising in the yearbook helps the school (and is a good idea), be prepared to tell them where the money is going. You’re selling ads, so you likely have a plan for the fundraising dollars you’re raising. Share the details. Because, in this case, your advertiser is more like a charitable donor. They want to know how their money is going to be used.
To convince someone that advertising in the yearbook is a good business opportunity, outline the details of your book. Tell your prospective advertiser how many people buy the yearbook and who they are. If you did some polling (see “Talk to you school” tip above), use that information to your advantage, too. Show your businesses the data you collected. Maybe they’re not as known as a competitor. Use that to your advantage.
Yearbook Ads Make Sense For Local Businesses
Once local businesses understand the huge benefits and low costs of buying an ad, you’ll be set. The trick, though, is making sure you’re focused on the right businesses. Make it easy on them, and easier on you, by focusing on the right prospects from the beginning.