Hope is a hot topic these days. From economics to political integrity, from international relations to family life, people need encouragement. Gift books continue to serve well in this area, but the graduation season offers a particularly effective time in which to affect the hearts, dreams and futures of the new generations coming up.
Bear in mind that an estimated 3.5 high school students and 3.7 million college students—associate, bachelor and post grad combined—will graduate before the end of this month. That is a lot of opportunity to provide meaningful gifts for shoppers looking to affirm and celebrate the graduates in their lives.
Here’s my list of the ABCs not to miss:
A. Consistent, visible placement: One of the difficulties of this season is that it is not clearly focused on a day. Rather, it’s a season that starts right after Easter and can extend into June. Grouping the titles in a heavy traffic area is key, but the trick is keeping them available throughout the two-month window so that, even through other promotions, regular customers know where to look when their time to buy comes.
B. Clear, invitational messaging: Inspiring the next generation—especially when they are close to us—is a worthy goal, so create messaging to draw customers into the buying experience by igniting the desire to be important in the future of those we care about. Communicating that our graduates are our future and encouraging your customers that the inspiration found in the graduation books can impact that will be key.
C. Creative package pricing: Although prices are always a concern in this economy, try creatively packaging books since often people are buying for multiple graduates. And everyone has people on their list that maybe they wouldn’t normally buy for, but could if invited into the purchase with a great deal on quantities or some other creative up-sell.
D. Classical thinking: Gift books for the season don’t have to have “graduation” in the title. Classics like Hannah Hurnard’s Hinds′ Feet on High Places or J. Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest readily come to mind as popular choices, while our ″God’s Promises″ line—including our God’s Promises for Graduates 2010—has sold more than 6 million copies.
Eric Mullett is marketing director for gift books and backlist at Thomas Nelson.