Choose Your Marketing Strategy
ONE DAY SALE
That’s right, one day! Schools that have tried this report substantial sales compared to longer efforts. Pick a day when there’s no competing activity, and start your promotion activities early.
Hold a special school assembly. A popular teacher, coach, or hometown celebrity might share how much his/her yearbook means even years later. Students are asked to sign commitment cards. No money is taken; collection day will follow.
As a group, students generate their own enthusiasm and help sell each other on the idea of buying a yearbook. And because no money is being collected, it’s easy to say “Yes” to buying.
When the assembly leader finishes speaking, the yearbook staff and other pre-selected volunteers hand out commitment cards to each row of students. Each student is asked to complete a card indicating whether or not he/she is ordering a book. The leader guides the students through the card line by line. Cards are passed back to the waiting volunteers. Assembly time: about 15 minutes.
After the assembly, yearbook staff members sort the cards by homeroom and alphabetize them within each homeroom class. They also fill out one card for each student who is absent the day of the assembly, with the notation:
A yearbook has been ordered in your name. To complete this order check the YES box and remit payment. If payment in full is not received within 5 days, the order will be canceled.
Open the assembly with a digital slideshow sharing photos your staff has taken during the school year of students and school scenes. Add excitement with
pre2.141414recorded music, or with the school band. Involve cheerleaders and other well-known students in the program. Consider well-written, well-rehearsed humorous skits (current movies, TV programs, and commercials provide plenty of idea-starters). Total assembly time should not exceed 30 minutes.
If the sale day is Thursday, payment collection day takes place the following Tuesday. (This gives you two school days for P.A. reminders and, with careful planning, the intervening weekend likely contains a payday.) On collection day, preselected yearbook staff members and other volunteers visit each homeroom. During the first 10 minutes of this period, they collect money from each student who signed up with the commitment cards. If you’re concerned about security, enlist parents and other adult volunteers as your collectors. You might also have a security guard accompany you to the bank since all monies will be collected on that one day.
VARIATIONS ON A ONE DAY SALE
Name your sale to emphasize its short duration (i.e., the 60 Minute Sale, the One-Hour Sale, the Six-Hour Sale, etc.).
ONE WEEK SALE
A time-tested plan that works! Schedule a week when competition for students’ attention and dollars will be at a minimum. Put your sales center in a highly visible, high-traffic location, and keep lines short.
Start promotion at least a week ahead. Maintain enthusiasm throughout the sale week. Distribute promotional buttons to persons who purchase a yearbook and pay in full. Use a gimmick to build interest throughout the week.
A week-long sale may be preferred by administration and faculty. Also, you can reach students at various times during the day — before classes, after classes, during lunch periods. And students may feel they have more time to come up with the money (which isn’t necessarily true; it just seems that way).
Be sure your sales center has all the necessary materials — order forms and receipts. A staff member should be present at all times to handle questions. Also be sure each volunteer worker understands your payment policy. If you give out after-purchase recognitions (such as buttons), do so only to those who pay in full. Be security conscious. Move receipts to the school office or guarded location at predetermined intervals; an adult volunteer or faculty member may assist in this. If you have more than one sales center, have a roving staff member stop by periodically with additional supplies. Have an adult volunteer or faculty member available to assist with any unforeseen problems or questions.
Hold an assembly to call attention to the yearbook. Use all the P.A. announcement time you can get. Push hard for last chance sales as the week comes to a close.
Collect the money with the order.
VARIATIONS ON A ONE-WEEK SALE
Calculate the actual number of hours that orders will be accepted; i.e., the 20-Hour Sale if you are taking orders Monday through Friday, one hour before and after classes and two hours during lunch period.
Need to conduct your sale before school begins? Mail a series of letters (three is best) directly to parents. Emphasize the importance of ordering before classes start. If you will not accept orders after classes start, say so.
It’s hard to guess exactly why the buy-rate at Blue Valley West High School in Overland Park, Kansas, is nearly twice the national average, but it’s not hard to understand how important culture and tradition are in the equation.
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