Your yearbook sales campaign requires a little preparation and scheduling work to ensure its success.
First, consult last year's yearbook team and your school administration to find out how the book was sold previously, and what is allowable. Some schools or school districts have strict rules about marketing to students and/or the wider school community, so be aware of any restrictions before investing time in planning.
To create a budget, you'll need to make an estimate of expenses and revenue.
Get a quote from your yearbook printing company to determine your printing costs.
To get a quote, first find out how many books were purchased and sold in recent years. Determine if special circumstances have changed the number of books required this year. Did the previous year's team miss opportunities to pre-sell the book? Did your student enrollment change dramatically? For instance, if the size of the graduating class is much larger in the current year than the previous, it is a safe assumption that more books will be sold.
Ask your printing company about cover options: changing from a hard to a soft cover will reduce the printing costs, but you may need to charge less per book. Find out if the price per book is dramatically affected by the number of pages included in it. Be sure to include sales tax and delivery fees in your estimate of expenses. Also, your Memento Yearbook license may be an add-on fee, or it may just be rolled into the price of the book.
If you are planning a marketing campaign, you will also have to budget for advertising materials (paper, poster board, photocopies, printing), order forms & receipts, and general office supplies.
The first source of revenue is book sales. Your printing company may recommend a price point based on your expected costs with a mark-up added to it. This number may be flexible, so when working on the budget, start with an estimated price point. Note that your book does not need to have a single flat price - you may offer early ordering incentives and extra mark ups for late orders or orders made after the book is printed.
Your book's production costs may be sponsored by donations from your school, board/district, PTA/PTO or other sponsors. Fundraisers may also accompany the project - for instance, you might hold a bake sale or raffle to cover some of the book's production costs to keep the price lower.
Your book's pages can be a source of funding. Community advertising from local businesses and service professionals can reside in a special reserved section or be interspersed throughout the book. Family members may be invited to purchase ads to congratulate graduating students on their accomplishments, including text and often photos - these senior ads usually are kept in a special section in the back of the book. Keep in mind that the more advertising you sell, the more room it will require in your book, so you may need to add pages, which may increase the cost of your book.
Before pricing your yearbook, think about the goal of the project. What specifically are you trying to do? Are you simply community-building and trying to be inclusive to as many students as possible to afford the yearbook? Is the book distributed for free or do you need to actively sell it? Or, is the yearbook used as a serious revenue-generator for your school, a prestige item built to impress?
Once production and marketing costs are covered, where will any extra money go - to next year's book costs, to other activities or to a general fund? Can a portion of the profits be used to purchase books for kids who can't afford one, and if so, how will you manage distribution of those books?
These sorts of questions will help you determine how much you can invest in the book (size, cover type) and the price per book (markups, sponsored books).
Before starting a sales campaign, be sure you have all the pieces in place to sell responsibly.
Memento Yearbook will soon feature an online yearbook sales tool, which may be added to your account at the discretion of your yearbook company. Parents will be able to log into an online store to purchase the yearbook online using a credit card. More information on this service is coming soon.
For in-person sales, be sure to establish a secure procedure for collecting orders. Determine who is allowed to handle cash and cheques, and where the money will be safely stored. If you accept cheques, to whom should the cheque be made out? Who will take care of deposits?
Sales options may include:
- visiting each classroom to pitch the yearbook project, highlighting ways students can participate in the project to gain interest;
- distribution of sales flyers or order forms to all students;
- setup of a sales table in a common area (morning, lunch, after school, public events);
- emailing parents with online links to a web store or printable order forms;
- adding order forms or ads in the school newsletter or website.
Learn more about marketing ideas to boost your sales.
Decide how to record sales. If you are only using a web store, then the orders & receipt process is automated. If you are selling in person and collecting forms, cash & cheques, you will need to set up a database to record all sales, and make order forms and receipts.
Order forms should include a unique order number, the student's name and the parent's name (if applicable), grade/homeroom, phone number, email address, the number of books ordered, price paid the date payment was received, and, if applicable, any other items that were ordered using the same form or additional related fees (personalization, cover upgrade, mailing fee).
Once the order is accepted, a receipt should be provided which includes the matching order number, the name of the purchaser (student or parent), a list of the items ordered and the number ordered, the date payment was received and the name of the person who took the order. You may wish to include information on how and when the books will be distributed, and if the receipt is required at pick-up.
If your school would like to offer yearbook sponsorship for students who may not otherwise be able to afford one, you might consider adding a special sponsorship/donation section added item onto your order form, so parents & students can pay for part or all of sponsored book.
Easy online sales
Memento Yearbook offers an online storefront option via your yearbook publisher. Learn more about this option.
Start with a pre-announcement of the upcoming sales period - about one month before the campaign is launched. This may occur at a general assembly or a meet-the-teachers night, as information in the school newsletter, or as a flyer.
Set at least two sales periods. The first sales period may feature a discount to encourage early sales. For instance, price the book at your base cost + 50% of your desired markup. For the second and possibly third sales period, increase the pricing to full mark-up and then an additional mark-up. Set a firm start and end date for your sales period - a one to two week period - and stick to the deadline so you can ensure that you won't get an unexpected rush of orders at the end that you might not be able to fulfill. Be sure to send out reminders during the sales period of the end-date to benefit from the current pricing.
Determine how your yearbooks will be handed out. Will they be delivered to the students' homerooms, clearly labelled for distribution by a responsible person? Will you set out a table to hand out the books? Do students need to have their receipt? Will you be able accommodate last minute purchases with a stock of extra books?
Book delivery can be used as a fun community building or fundraising exercise in its own way. Organize a book signing party, with an accompanying bake sale or pizza party to generate extra revenue and make it fun for the whole school.