Four Yearbook Marketing Ideas Backed by Psychology, No Degree Required

yearbook marketing ideas

When it comes to marketing your yearbook, it’s probably enough to tell some students and parents in your school that the book’s on sale. For everyone else, though, you need to work a little (and, sometimes, a lot) harder. It’s almost like you need to get in their heads.

Luckily for you, we’ve got four yearbook marketing ideas that are backed by proven psychology principles. And you don’t even need a degree in that field to use ‘em.

These tactics will make marketing your yearbook twice as easy (and you’ll sound four times more impressive talking about why you used them*).

Yearbook Marketing Ideas Backed By Psychology #1: Ask for help.

Sure, you might be thinking, this principle makes sense. Of course we help people we like.

If that’s you right now, go back and read that definition again. The Ben Franklin Effect actually says that you grow to like people because you do them a favor (not the more commonly thought of reverse). Weird, right?

Here’s the thing, though: it’s been proven by psychologists.

If you want to put this principle to use in your yearbook marketing, try this idea: Instead of asking someone to buy the yearbook, ask them to do something that will help you produce it.

It doesn’t have to be a lot of help. It could be something small, like contributing a couple of photos from a field trip or asking an event participant for a quote to use in your coverage. Or it could be large, like coordinating an effort to get everyone from a specific grade to fill out a survey.

The point isn’t so much the help you’re getting (though that’s a wonderful benefit) as it is the relationship you’re building.

Do it enough times with enough people and you’ll be creating connections with a growing list of people who like you, your team, and the yearbook more than they did before (hard to believe that’s possible, we know). And that connection is the key. It’ll make your helpers more likely to buy a book.

Yearbook Marketing Ideas Backed By Psychology #2: Advertise how many students have bought the yearbook.

It’s been said before that humans are pack animals. And the truth of that is apparent in a lot of different ways: Ever watch a movie just because you saw a number of your friends post about it on Facebook? Or check out a restaurant because you noticed it was always busy?

It’s a phenomenon called informal social influence, or social proof.

There are a bunch of different types, but the one we can all probably relate to best is “wisdom of the crowd.” If you want to visualize it, it’s basically the sign outside of every McDonald’s that reads, “Over X Billion Served” in action.

“Wisdom of the crowd” practically forces you to tell yourself, “That many people can’t be wrong.”

If you tell yourself that that many people can’t be wrong, then you’re already well on your way to recognizing the action as a good choice. And, when it comes to making a purchase, you just cleared a major hurdle. All thanks to social proof.

For your yearbook marketing, you can use social proof in a few different ways. The easiest, though, is to start adding your sales numbers to posters and flyers after you’ve sold an impressive number of books.

That many people can’t be wrong to buy a yearbook, can they? (Of course not.)

Yearbook Marketing Ideas Backed By Psychology #3: Keep the advertisements coming.

We can probably all agree that we like familiarity. It’s safe, it’s comfortable, it’s easier for the brain to process.

The funny thing, though, is how much we seem to not like how we get to familiarity, especially when it comes to advertising (think of all the billboards and commercials you’ve seen like a million times). Since the 1960s, four different groups of psychologists have put the process of repeated, frequent exposure to the text to see if a psychological principle called the “mere exposure effect” would hold up.

And you know what? It did. Every time.

It doesn’t take a psychologist to figure out what that means for your yearbook marketing: Keep it up with the announcements, flyers, newsletter mentions, posters, and whatever other advertising tactics you have up your sleeve.

To flip an idiom on its head, familiarity breeds fondness.

Yearbook Marketing Ideas Backed By Psychology #4: Invite everyone to your yearbook signing party.

You’re familiar with the term “Keeping up with the Joneses,” right?

Fear of missing out, or FOMO for short, is basically that. It’s just a new term for an old social anxiety. At the core, FOMO is the nerves you feel when you think everyone else is “in” on something cool—and that you’re not.

Here’s how you market your yearbook using that psychological principle: Invite everyone in your school to your yearbook signing party.

Under the FOMO principle, the fear of missing out on owning a book isn’t nearly as powerful as the fear of missing out on being part of a community where members get to have fun, sign each other’s yearbooks, and recall nearly forgotten stories from earlier in the year.

It’s not just the yearbook you’re selling, it’s also the memories of laughing with friends and sharing a collective experience with a group of people.

Of course, this marketing idea only works if you’ve got extra books to sell.

When it comes right down to it, you sometimes need to get in the head of your customer. You can make that happen, no problem at all, if you understand a few bits of psychology and apply them to marketing tactics. That’s why, if you use these yearbook marketing ideas, everything will get twice as easy.

(By the way: If you’re looking for even more, awesome yearbook marketing ideas backed by psychology principles, check out this amazing post from Buffer, which served as inspiration for this piece.)


*Impressiveness not guaranteed.

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