Selling the Yearbook: 10 proven tips to increase buy rates

The yearbook staff at Inglemoor High School in Kenmore, Wash., paints signs to hang around campus, letting students and parents know yearbooks are on sale.

Advisers and their dedicated staff members think everyone should have a yearbook. You want to share your stellar photos, crystalline words and compelling designs with the world. Every fall, you hang posters in the hallways, stack order forms on the reception desk, then sit back and wait for the orders to pour in. All too often, the response is more a trickle than a flood.

So how do you increase sales? Successful staffs pull out all the stops to reach potential buyers throughout the year. Here’s a sampling of the advice we’ll share in the fall issue of Elements magazine in November.

Interlake High School:

Tip 1: We try to get information out in as many ways as possible:

  • We send home a flyer with the back-to-school mailing.
  • We post our sales information on the school website.
  • We have flyers in the front office and counseling office so that parents stopping in for other business will pick one up.
  • We ask our principal to include our information in her weekly emails to parents.
  • We send emails out to students with sales information.
  • We include sales information in the PTSA newsletters and on their Facebook group page.

Tip 2: We also try to represent as many people and activities in the book as we can.

  • We do spreads on sports that students compete in that are not our school sports, such as crew, rugby, skiing, etc.
  • We try to listen to our students and include features they want and enjoy.

Tip 3: What we do is not earth-shattering, but we try to keep yearbook sales on people’s minds all year long so they are constantly reminded to get it done.

Interlake High School, located in Bellevue Washington, has 1,500 students, and the staff sells 1,000 books. Megan Bennett is the adviser of the book.


Glacier Peak High School

Tip 4: We offer a combo pack with student body cards/yearbook/parking pass for $110. The three things purchased separately would cost $160.  The package offers students a $50 discount.

Tip 5: Several times a year, as a promotion, we post 11”x 14” photos in the hallway and then give them to the students who are pictured.

Tip 6: My Favorite– One week before the book arrives, we hire the FCCLA Club (Our Cooking Club) to make 1500 cookies. We package them in a clear baggie with a ribbon/sticker reflecting our theme on the front. We tie a Sharpie marker on the bag and thank students for purchasing a yearbook. Because they want the cookie and Sharpie, students who were on the fence about purchasing a book, buy the extras we order.

Tip 7: We always do a “Reveal” of the cover for the whole student body at an assembly. This is something our students have really come to look forward to. We hang a banner of the cover in the cafeteria for three weeks before distribution.

Glacier Peak High School, located in Snohomish, Washington, has 1,776 students and the staff sells 1,500 books. Annie Green is the adviser of the book.


Inglemoor High School

Tip 8: We are included in the “back-to-school” letter that my principal mails to all students in the summer. It includes the price and states that yearbooks may be purchased at the back-to-school fair just before school starts. Having this come from the administration and be a part of all the other back-to-school information makes more of an impact on parents than if we sent our own letter.

Tip 9: My staff does a very good job of talking face-to-face with people about buying a yearbook. We have created a culture here that buying a yearbook is just one of those things you do. The majority of students don’t ever consider NOT buying one.

Tip 10: We have a huge “all-school” release party at the end of the year. (This is during the school day.) It is called Viking Day (our mascot) and it’s kind of a year-end party; however, because that is the release day for the yearbook, the whole event just becomes a big yearbook signing party. Students feel really left out by not having a yearbook. This is well-known, so most students are certain to have bought a yearbook ahead of time.

Inglemoor High School, located in Kenmore Washington, has 1,500 students and the staff sells 1,000 books. Zane Mills is the adviser of the book.


Read more from these and other advisers in the upcoming issue of Elements, including tips on selling ads and promoting the yearbook program in your school.