15 Valentine’s Day Marketing Tips for Your Small Business
Call me a romantic but I like to hang out in the floral department of my local grocery store on Valentine’s Day. Trust me when I tell you I have saved a lot of relationships steering folks away from buying bunches of filler flowers.
Valentine’s Day is an occasion that requires thought. Sure, you can get away with buying a card and a single red rose but that’s probably only going to work once. This year why not make choosing what to do/give on Valentine’s Day easier for your customers and put some love in your pocket at the same time?
Here are some ideas to get you started:
1. Push gift cards
Cards, not certificates. If you are still selling paper gift certificates it’s time to change to the plastic version. Studies show that retailers who switch from paper gift certificates to plastic gift cards increase gift card sales from 35-50 percent. The main goal is the get the customer in to redeem that card, and plastic cards are just easier for customers because they fit right into their wallets. Like money. Sweeten the deal with a Buy $25 in gift cards, get a $5 gift card for free or Buy $50 in gift cards, get a $10 bonus card promotion. People love getting a little something for themselves.
Your gift cards represent your brand so package them in a way that is unique to your business. A jeweler might present its gift cards in a velvet box, an apparel store could nestle theirs inside a box lined in scented paper, a travel agency could use tiny cardboard suitcases – you are only limited by your own imagination.
2. Run a BOGO offer for couples
Valentine’s Day is the holiday that’s all about couples, so play on this idea with a “two-for-one” deal
BOGO – Buy One Get One Free – can work in so many categories. Think couples mani-pedis, massages, hair salons, movie and theater tickets, sporting events, car washes – the options are endless.
3. Donate to a local charity.
These days, you get extra credit when you get involved in community events or charities. Maybe do a theme on “Sending Love Where Love is Needed” where some of the purchase price is donated to a local charity.
4. A Valentine’s Day gift guide
This list will be invaluable to shoppers looking for new gift ideas. It’s even more effective if you create multiple lists by product category, age, gender, services – whatever makes sense and will help you sell more. Keep copies in obvious places where customers will find them, and add them to your website, email blasts, and even Facebook.
5. Social media
Sharing your Valentine’s Day specials on social media is required marketing. Do it early and often, at least one post per week about Valentine’s Day. You might even offer deals that are only listed on Facebook or Instagram – this forces followers to peruse your timeline to find them. Who knows what else on here might catch their attention?
6. Post a daily Valentine’s Day trivia question
Which colors are considered the color of love? (red and pink), what is the most popular flavor in a box of chocolates? (caramel), what’s the most popular day to get engaged? (Valentine’s Day, duh).
Post your questions each morning at the same time and post the answer in the afternoon.
7. Use hashtags to expand your reach
Studies show that posts with hashtags have more engagement than those that don’t include them. Without hashtags, your posts will only be seen by people who follow you, but add a hashtag and anyone who follows that particular hashtag will likely see your post.
So, add #valentinesday #love #bemyvalentine #romance #roses #valentinesdaygift and #nameofyourbusiness to all of your posts.
8. Host a selfie contest
This is a great way to get customers to interact with your business and share it with their friends. Your copy on social media might read:
“Take a selfie in our store (or salon, restaurant, travel agency, etc.) and receive 10% off of your next purchase! Visit us between February 1 and February 15, take a selfie in the store, and post it on Instagram. Tag us at @(your Insta handle), include the hashtags #valentinesdayselfie and #nameofyourstore, and you could win _________________.”
Think of the word of mouth potential!
According to Hallmark, approximately 145 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged each year, making Valentine’s Day the second-largest greeting card-giving holiday, and that’s not counting all those packaged cards kids exchange in the classroom. So why not invite a scrapbook or craft retailer to set up a table at your business where customers can sit and make a handmade greeting card?
You can also cross-promote with a partner who shares the least amount of customers with you. Think restaurant and hair salon or boutique and dry cleaners. Look for partners that have customers who will like what sell and exchange ideas on how to promote each other’s business.
10. Don’t ignore your single customers
You know those great deals that are available to new customers only? Loyal customers hate them. Know who hates Valentine’s Day? People who are single. Why alienate customers who don’t have a significant other? Instead, add specials that cater to singles; encouraging single shoppers to treat themselves is good for business.
11. Ready your team
Brainstorming event and marketing ideas with your team should be mandatory for every event you hold, so schedule a meeting, grab a flip chart and start writing. Even small ideas can be tweaked into big sales dollars when you put your heads together.
Make sure that every single person on your team, from the delivery driver to the CEO knows what’s happening in your business on Valentine’s Day. There’s nothing worse than customers asking questions your team cannot answer.
12. Put email to work
Email marketing is still the most cost-effective way to reach your customers; it should be a big part of your marketing plan, especially around holidays.
Your emails should have one clear message that’s illustrated with photos – big photos – and less copy. Link each photo to a page on your website so shoppers can click for a closer look at that particular product or service.
It should take the reader 20 seconds or less to understand your message and every email blast should encourage the customer to visit the store or make a purchase online ASAP. If you include a coupon make sure it’s redeemable on the customer’s phone. When was the last time you printed a coupon?
13. Incorporate video messaging
Video is so hot right now that 87 percent of marketing professionals are using it as a marketing tool. You don’t need to be Spielberg; you just need a smartphone to create a masterpiece and a YouTube channel to house it. YouTube makes it easy to share, and customers can subscribe to your channel to see future videos as they are posted.
14. Set the mood
Your physical space and online presence should scream Valentine’s Day. Add red and pink decor, consider a themed temporary dress code, and set your speed bump display (the one just inside your front door that customers see first) with a variety of Valentine’s Day products – cross-merchandising helps increase your average sale. A table of pre-wrapped gifts is a good idea the closer it gets to Valentine’s Day.
The National Retail Federation reports that Valentine’s Day spending was roughly $162 per person in 2019. You definitely want a piece of that pie, so this year create events and specials that get customers excited to buy. Sure, it will take creativity, focus, and plenty of elbow grease but it will be well worth the effort.
15. Plan a Valentine’s Day events or promotion
You have competition coming at you from all sides, all vying for your customers’ attention, so unique events and promotions held at your physical space or online will set yourself apart. Note that promotions do not automatically equate to running a sale, although that’s a smart option. On Valentine’s Day your product and services should take center stage, but you’ll get a lot of local love if you host a Pet Adoption Day with a local animal shelter.
If you are in the travel industry consider a deal on a couples getaway, a long weekend package, cruise or overnight hotel stay. Add in amenities couples enjoy such as dinners and spa treatments.
Restaurateurs might offer a romantic dinner, a perennial favorite on Valentine’s Day, and honestly, kind of a no-brainer. Even the Waffle House has a white tablecloth candlelit dinner, what could you do?
How about a limited-edition cocktail or special four-course meal? Or complimentary appetizers or a glass of wine with dinner? Maybe a family-themed dinner for customers who don’t want to leave the kids at home. You might even throw in a gift card to bounce them back next week.
Bonus: Get your payment tech in order!
This isn’t strictly a Valentine’s Day marketing tip, but if you are planning to implement these ideas in February, you’re bound to see a lift in transactions and sales. To maximize your profits, you should make sure that you’re payment processing provider offers you the best rates possible.
At Payment Depot, our customers save an average of $400 per month in credit card processing fees.