Feb 14, 2018

14 Valentine’s Day Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses

by Digital Marketing Institute

Valentine’s Day is upon us again, presenting an opportunity to launch some quick holiday marketing campaigns. Holidays give marketers the opportunity to play off of popular topics and create messages that resonate with the masses. Here are 14 ways you can leverage Valentine’s Day marketing for your small business. Missed out this year? Don’t worry, build these ideas into your social media calendar so you never miss an opportunity to leverage holiday traffic!

Run 2-for-1 Deals

Valentine’s Day is the holiday that’s all about couples, so play on this idea with a “two-for-one” deal. If your company is able to offer a “buy one, get one free” offer, write copy that plays on being coupled up. Even if you don’t offer physical products, find a way to offer special deals on your services, and connect them to Valentine’s Day by using the relevant language. Promote your deals on social media for optimal impact. Check out Live Nation’s 2 for 1 concert ticket campaign on Facebook as an example.

2. Send Some Charming Emails

If you’re like most small businesses, you’re probably already doing some form of email marketing. But have you considered integrating holiday themes into your email subject lines and messaging? Begin with irresistible subject lines that play on the theme of romance or love, or explicitly mention Valentine’s Day. Make sure your body copy matches your subject line, with references to all things romantic. You could even try including heart emojis or other relevant emojis in your subject line. Just use them sparingly so your email doesn’t look spammy. Here’s an example of a great Valentine’s Day email from Simply Gluten Free, Inc.

Valentine's email marketing campaign.

3. Add Some Romantic Flair to Your Company’s Social Media Accounts

Help your followers get into the spirit of love by adding some romantic flair on your social media profile images and cover photos (Hint: if you’re running a campaign, you should match your art to any other pieces of marketing collateral). Otherwise, just make sure it’s a Valentine’s Day tie-in that allows your brand to still be recognizable but also celebrates the holiday! Here’s an example from 1800-Flowers:

Valentine's day ideas for your social media accounts.

4. Send Your Customers Valentine’s Day Cards

Yes, it may sound like a throwback to the playground, but sending your customers physical cards is a great way to show you care! Because most brands spend their efforts predominantly on digital platforms these days, going back to more traditional marketing techniques will actually set you apart from the pack.

While individuals may be tired of receiving emails, a physical card could be a welcome surprise. Try not to include overly 'salesy' messaging. Instead, focus on telling your customers how much they mean to you! If you’re out of time to get your cards in the mail, a digital card can also be fun. Try including a special offer or discount to complement your message.

5. Give Back to a Local Charity

Giving to charities always reflects positively on your company and it’s good for your community too! A holiday that’s all about love is a great time to give back. Here are a few ideas for how your small business can demonstrate social responsibility, depending on your industry:

  • Online retailers can ask customers to donate a small amount at checkout and match their donations up to a certain percentage.
  • Non-profits could make and sell small products and give 100% of these proceeds going back to the nonprofit to aid the community.
  • Restaurant chains can donate a percentage of each bill to a local charity.
  • Companies of all types can donate materials to local schools and community organizations.

6.Ask Your Followers to Share Their Love Stories

Active on social media? Ask your audience to share their love stories, finding a way to tie in the question with your brand. Be clear that not every story has to be romantic in the traditional sense. (You don’t want to alienate members of your audience). Ask for all types of love stories, including romantic, friendship, familial, etc. Offer a prize for the best story, but make sure you have the guidelines clearly outline before launching your campaign! Keep in mind that you shouldn’t explicitly ask your audience to like and share your post for extra entries. Facebook is cracking down on these types of posts.

7. Highlight Data Night Activities & Products

If it fits your business, make it a focus to highlight products, services, or activities that revolve around the biggest date night of the year - Valentine’s Day! Flower shops, online retailers, restaurants, and spas are all an easy fit, but there are creative ways to make other types of businesses work, as well. Here’s one example from a local spa.

Highlight day and night activities and products.

8. Show Love to the Singles

Not everyone is in a relationship, and it’s important to keep that in mind during any Valentine’s Day campaigns. In addition to addressing couples, send some love to your single followers as well. Offer special deals for singles if you can, or focus on deals that apply to everyone - not matter his/her relationship status. Be careful about using hashtags such as #singlesawarenessday unless your products/services and editorial style are typically tongue-in-cheek.

9. Use Appropriate, Relevant Hashtags

Speaking of hashtags, there are ways you can use them effectively for Valentine’s Day marketing campaigns. If your brand uses Twitter, check out some of these successful hashtag campaigns, then come up with one of your own. Keep in mind that hashtags don’t have to include your brand name, but they should be clearly associated with your brand.

Choose a hashtag that’s unique and memorable, then include it in your posts and ask your fans to do the same so you can build as much user-generated content as possible. Offer a special prize or offer for the most creative hashtag in a post. If your business doesn't have a well-known hashtag and you don’t believe that a unique hashtag will have an impact, play off of existing popular hashtags. You can check them out on Twitter’s trending list (left column on your Twitter feed), or use a tool like hashtagify.me.

10. Create a Last-Minute Gift Guide

We all know those people who wait until the last minute to buy gifts. Play to their needs by offering a last-minute Valentine’s Day gift guide that includes your products/services and a few others from different sites (non-competitors). Pick romantic-themed and self-love items and showcase them in a PDF, YouTube video, microsite or Snapchat story.

Create a Last-Minute Gift Guide.

11. Bring in a Complementary Partner

Can you think of another small business you can partner with on Valentine’s Day campaigns? The partnership should be mutually beneficial for you both.Perhaps you own a salon that does haircuts and colors, for example, and you decide to offer a “full Valentine’s Day beauty treatment” by partnering with the nail salon down the street and offering discounts for the joint services. By doing this, you double your reach and potentially pick up some new customers from a business that isn’t a direct competitor.

12. Run a Valentine’s Contest

We’ve alluded to this already; running a Valentine’s Day contest on your social media channels can be fun and beneficial for you and your followers! Whether you choose to offer a special date night activity or a product that’s a great fit for couples or singles, focus in on contests that will excite your followers and won’t be a huge drain on your marketing budget. Keep in mind that your giveaway doesn’t always have to tie back to your business. See the example below from a local dentist who’s giving away a dinner for two.

Facebook campaign for Valentine's day.

13. Make V-Day Mobile Push Notifications

Does your organization have an app that sends out push notifications? If so, then you should think about how you can adapt them to sync with major holidays and big promotional campaigns. Be careful; push notifications can be annoying for users, but when you find messaging and branding that offers value to your customers, they can be extremely effective. Find ways to adapt your existing push notifications and special offers to be more thematic for the holiday.

14. Pair Products That Work Well Together

Another play on the “pairing” aspect of Valentine’s Day, showcasing two or more products that work well together, can help you increase sales. For example, if you sell jewelry, pair necklaces with earrings or bracelets. If your business sells clothes, show outfits pieces that go well together - and add a Valentine’s Day twist with your messaging, such as “the perfect set for Valentine’s Day” or “Valentine’s Day dinner outfits.”

Whatever you do this Valentine’s Day, make it about making your customers and potential buyers feel special. Then seize the opportunity to capitalize on the next big holiday!

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