5 tips for valentine’s day marketing

There are two kinds of people: those who love Valentine’s Day and those who hate it. Retailers tend to be in the former category. No, it’s not because retailers simply adore pink and red hearts floating around their stores and websites.

Valentine’s Day has a completely different pull for retailers. It puts an end to the post-Christmas sales lull and sends customers on yet another gift-hunt for their loved ones. And not a small one: last year, Valentine’s Day earned around $19.6 billion for US retailers.

With a prize like that in sight, it’s really worth enduring a couple of red hearts in your shop. But if you want to get customers in a shopping mood, you have to put in some marketing effort first.

Don’t worry, you won’t have to redecorate your entire shop in shocking pink. But you’ll need to do more than simply throwing a few heart-shaped stickers into your shop window.

1. Suggest gift ideas

Coming up with gift ideas so soon after Christmas is really hard for many people. Why not help customers with a few suggestions?

Create categories on your website. Depending on the nature of your products, you can choose simple, more generic labels like “Gifts for Him” and “Gifts for Her.” This works well with apparel, jewellery, or flower stores.

However, you can come up with more specific gift ideas. This is especially helpful if your business doesn’t sell traditional Valentine’s Day gift items like candy, greeting cards, or flowers.

For example, categories like “Gifts for Marvel Enthusiasts” at a comic book shop, “Gifts for DIY Buffs” at a hardware store, or “Gifts for Aspiring Chefs” at a business selling cooking equipment can be great hits with customers looking for ideas.

If you run a brick-and-mortar shop, you don’t have to reorganize all your shelves to create categories. Simply put up eye-catching signs around products you’ve grouped into a certain category (or products you really, really want to sell).

You can even create a color-coded map with all your categories and hand a copy to panicked Valentine’s Day shoppers.

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2. Use the power of social media

Social media is an excellent marketing tool for keeping in touch with your customers and getting the word out about your next promotion/event. Share your Valentine’s Day specials on your social media platforms to grab shoppers’ attention.

Since consumers are bombarded with tons of ads and marketing messages every day, you need to make sure to stand out from the crowd. One of the best ways to do that is to engage people in a game or a contest.

For example, run fun polls on your site asking different questions relating to Valentine’s Day. Questions can range from choosing between two movies or foods for date night, to picking a location for a first date, and anything in between.

Are you Team Pride & Prejudice or Team It? Would you rather eat rare sirloin steak or a heart-shaped pizza? With minimal effort, you can get customers thinking about your business in a fun, engaging way.

Alternatively, you can run contests. Ask your followers to share stories or pictures about their funniest bad dates, or (if you want to stick to business) how they’ve previously used your products for making a loved one happy.

Come up with a hashtag for your contest, like “#VDayBadDateChallenge” or “#VDayByYourBusiness.” Create a few posts with the hashtag to get the ball rolling and comment on each customer’s related post. As an incentive, you can offer a gift to contestants with the most liked posts.

Since competitions like the #10YearChallenge or the infamous #icebucketchallenge are very popular, it’s easy to see how you can create a lot of buzz around your business with a smart, engaging contest.

3. Don’t forget non-romantic love

Valentine’s Day is not just about couples and falling in love. Many people reach out to friends and family members with a thoughtful gift or a card. This is good news for all retailers, particularly those not selling traditional Valentine’s Day items.

Think of customers who want to share their appreciation of their parents, siblings, or friends. When creating gift ideas, dedicate sections to recipients of non-romantic gifts as well.

If you stock Valentine’s Day cards, make sure to have a bunch of them ready celebrating friendship and family love. For example, many customers are looking for cards their children can give to friends at school. If you only stock cards professing the card giver’s undying love, you’ll lose a lot of business.

4. Create a singles’ event

And then there are those who don’t like Valentine’s Day. While the rest of the world is celebrating couples, some single people may feel lonely and sad. Others may think that loving a person is not a one-day commitment and shouldn’t be expressed by buying stuff.

Depending on the nature of your business, you can consider running a singles’ event or a self-appreciation day. For example, if you run a spa, you can offer a promotion on your relaxation products and services. A half-priced massage or a BOGO on various products is a lovely gesture to people who want to get out of the general Valentine’s Day craziness.

5. Show your love for customers

Since Valentine’s Day is not just about romantic love, it’s a perfect occasion to show how much you appreciate your customers. There are many ways you can do this. For example, send a virtual card to the recipients of your email marketing list (if you have one), and include a gift of a 5% discount on their next purchase.

Similarly, you can hand out gift cards to shoppers at your brick-and-mortar store. The point is to make your customers feel special and see how much their business means to you.

However, don’t forget about appreciating your customers from February 15 and onwards. Just like with romantic love, friends, and family, you have to work on your customer relationships every day to make them fruitful and long-lasting.

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