Valentine’s Day is an $18.9 billion holiday. The National Retail Federation says nine out of ten Americans plan to buy their significant other something, and each plans to spend an average of $88.
It’s not just a holiday for jewelers and florists. Every small business can take advantage of this romantic holiday by offering unique promotions and fun Valentine’s Day marketing campaigns that appeal to their audience. To help, here are four ideas every small business can use to increase business this Valentine’s Day:
1. Create and send a loving promotion via text
In this day and age, cell phones are an everyday accessory. You can bet that a person’s cell phone isn’t more than three feet from their reach at any given time, so why not use this to your advantage by sending promotions via text?
The average person responds to a text within 90 seconds, versus 90 minutes with email.
For Valentine’s Day, consider sending a 2-for-1 deal. Fast casual restaurants, for example, can offer two meals for the price of one, or two desserts for the price of one. Boutiques could offer two (travel size) fragrances for the price of one.
Of course, you can always offer a specific discount, like 20 percent off baked goods or candy.
Whatever the promotion, be sure to mention Valentine’s Day in the text and include “romantic wording.” In other words, use words like ‘love,’ ‘special someone,’ ‘sweet,’ or ‘heart.’
Here’s an example: Got love? Celebrate Valentine’s Day at Freddie’s Dinner with our 2-for-1 special today. Just show this text.
2. Share the love on social
Ask your audience to “Share the Love” on a social site. Ask customers to share sweet stories, poems, or pictures that represent love, romance, or friendship on Facebook or Instagram. Be sure to have participants include a specific hashtag or include your business name on the post.
United Airlines, for example, ran a “Love in the Air” promotion asking customers who met or fell in love while traveling to share their love stories. The airline selected finalists and gave the winning couple roundtrip tickets to anywhere in the U.S.
Your prize doesn’t have to be quite that grand, but it should align with your brand. For example, give the winner 2 free items at your store (one for them, one for their companion), or a coupon/store credit good towards anything in your store.
Of course, you can also take this idea and flip it around. Valentine’s Day isn’t all roses and champagne for everyone. There are plenty of singles out there, so try catering to them.
Ask your customers to submit their best (or worst) break-up story in 140 characters or less on Twitter, or have them submit it using emojis only.
Pick the best break-up story and give them a shout out on social, and a prize for sharing their story.
If you want something even easier that still garners engagement – Consider doing a “share the love” giveaway. Simply post a Valentine’s Day related picture on social, tell folks what you’ll be giving away, and ask people to like, share, retweet or pin the photo to be entered to win.
3. Show your love for a charity
Celebrate love by teaming up with a local charity and encourage your customers to offer their support.
Try hosting an event. Fast casual restaurants could offer a heart-healthy class to make healthy meals year-round for their loved ones, or a fitness boutique could offer a heart-pumping step class. Consider charging a small fee for these classes and donating it to charity.
You might consider teaming up with a heart-themed charity like your local chapter of the American Heart Association or the Children’s Heart Foundation. Macy’s, for example, teamed up with Go Red For Women, with a simple social media campaign. The retailer donated $2 for every picture that was uploaded on Valentine’s Day.
Be sure to promote the event like crazy. Hang fliers in your store, advertise on your social pages, create an event on Facebook so customers can RSVP and have cashiers mention it to customers at checkout.
4. Make a quick video with gift ideas
Everyone needs a little gift inspiration, especially on Valentine’s Day when the same-old chocolates or flowers just won’t cut it.
Consider creating a gift guide that’s full of great Valentine’s Day gifts from your store. Add a cool twist by turning the guide into a movie.
Have the store owner stand in front of the camera and show customers three hot Valentine’s Day gifts, or create a musical slideshow that’s full of product pictures.
Remember, creating a video doesn’t require a video production team. All you need is your cell phone, a good staging area and a little help from DIY tools.
For example, consider using Vine, the six-second video app from Twitter to shoot videos. Each video clip can showcase one gift. Share a new video each day leading up to Valentine’s Day.
If the owner wants to showcase products, find a picture-worthy spot in the store to set up a table of gifts. Avoid the windows, and make sure the background isn’t a blank white wall. Pick a wall with a little detail, set up a table that’s covered with a cloth and shoot the video with your cell phone. Use editing tools like WeVideo or Pixorial to add final touches.
Share your video on your social pages, email it to customers and showcase it in your store via a countertop iPad or an in-store TV.
What Valentine’s Day promotion are you planning this year? Have any examples from above of your own? Share your ideas with others in the comment section below.