Valentine's Day hacks for small businesses

Published: 20/01/2020

It’s the start of a new year and while we might have only just gotten round to taking our Christmas lights down, this means the marmite of annual celebrations is just around the corner - Valentine’s Day. 

It’s not for everyone, granted, in fact in a recent poll 52% of people asked had no intention of spending money on cards or gifts for February 14th. That being said, a whopping £650 million was spent by Brits on Valentine’s Day in 2018 - so it’s still a goldmine for businesses big and small and definitely something you’ll want to cash in on. 

So, whichever side of the fence you sit on personally, as a small business owner it’s time to start planning ahead to help make Valentine’s Day 2020 lucrative. Here are 10 top tips to help make it the best one yet. 

1. Emails

What better way to build interest and get attention than through a Valentine’s Day-themed email marketing campaign? Widely hailed the most crucial communication method for businesses - in no small part due to the fact that 91% of people check their emails daily, a well thought out email will do wonders for your engagement and can encourage sales. 

Not sure where to start? Here are some pointers:

  • Create an irresistible subject line to draw consumers in. For example ‘Valentine’s Day gifts they’ll love’, ‘We’re in love with our new range of [product]’, or ‘Feeling the love?’.
  • Consider using an emoji where relevant - they’ve been shown to increase open-rates on emails. Just make sure you don’t go overboard though, that can have the opposite effect.
  • When it comes to content make it appealing and informative. If you’re running a campaign or offer, include all the details customers will need to drive them to your site.
  • Don’t be afraid to have fun with your wording. For example, you could change your regular call to action from ‘shop now’ to ‘show me the love’. 

2. Social media

There’s no hiding from the fact that social media has become a juggernaut of the online marketing world, so to really build momentum as well as engagement ahead of Feb 14th you need to be optimising your content. Here are a few ideas on how:

a. Polls

Polls are a fun and cost-effective way of building engagement with consumers, and Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, the three giants, all support them. If you’re running a poll remember to make them relevant to your business, for example, a restaurant could list four meals and ask users to choose which they’d eat on Valentine’s, or a clothes boutique might pair together four outfits and ask which would be best for a Valentine’s date. 

Top tip: Facebook and Instagram allow for imagery in polls, whereas Twitter doesn’t, so if your polls need visuals bear this in mind. 

b. Hashtags

Hashtags are not only great for boosting brand awareness, but they’re also a nifty way of being discovered via common trends. It’s up to you whether you opt to create your own hashtag or go for the more widely used options, #ValentinesDay2020, but if you go for the former be sure to make it memorable and post enough content that it sparks interest in your business. 

c. Images

When it comes to social media, particularly on Instagram, it’s all about the visuals. So, ahead of the big day post appealing, captivating, and irresistible photos of your offerings to put yourself on consumers’ radars. This can be anything relevant to your business, a Valentine’s Day cocktail, gift ideas from your shop, a Valentine’s Day-themed manicure, and so on, but just don’t forget to use the pictures to drive consumers to your business:

  • Want to look your best on Feb 14th? Don’t forget to book in with us!
  • Show her how much you care with our delectable Valentine’s cocktail.
  • Looking for the perfect Valentine’s gift? Shop our new range of candles. 

3. Put an offer on

Since it’s designed as a celebration of love, i.e. couples, Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to offer a 2-for-1 deal or buy one get one free offer. Put some thought into making sure your promotion doesn’t feel like any old BOGOF and market the offer specifically for the day itself. 

Top tip: Select what you’ll include carefully so your efforts attract consumers to your business without leaving a dent in your profit margins. 

4. Gift guide

Valentine’s Day is the ideal event for creating a gift guide to encourage sales. Consider arranging your products by price, by theme or in a more traditional fashion like this:

  • Price - ‘Gorgeous gifts under £10’, ‘Valentine’s treats for £50 or less’, etc. 
  • Theme - ‘Gifts for craft-fans’, ‘Presents for baking-enthusiasts’, etc.
  • Traditional - ‘Gifts for her’, ‘Gifts he’ll love’, ‘Presents to share’, etc. 

Once created, include a link to your gift guide on your website by either creating a dedicated set of pages or including the guide as part of a blog post. Don’t make the mistake of assuming shoppers will stumble across your guide, it’s important you market it across your social channels as well as through email.

5. Send a card

From new-age ideas to the more traditional, the humble card. The most old-school aspect of Valentine’s Day is sending a card to the one you love, so why not adopt the idea to benefit your business? Send an e-card to everyone on your marketing email list with the subject line ‘to the one we love’ and keep the content of your email simple, ‘our customers are the heart of our business, Happy Valentine’s Day!’.

By doing something as simple as sending an email you’ll be boosting brand awareness, customer loyalty and encouraging repeat business. If you want to take it one step further, you could include a discount code within the email to be used before Feb 14th, for example, ‘to say thank you we want to offer you 10% off a product of your choice’.

Top tip: If you opt to include a discount code, be sure to make the terms of the offer clear by including the end date within the email. 

6. Run a campaign

Engaged consumers are more likely to convert into customers, so use Valentine’s Day to boost engagement by running a themed campaign. Give your audience an incentive to get involved by offering a prize for the best entry. If you’re not sure where to start, here are a handful of ideas to get your creative juices flowing:

  • Use your social media feeds to ask users to share their most embarrassing date stories, the winner gets a £20 voucher.
  • Run a drawing competition for children, the winner gets a free slice of cake (this one’s a great option for cafes and restaurants).
  • Heading back online, ask your followers to share images of the worst Valentine’s gifts they’ve received, with the winner receiving a hamper full of your goodies for themself or their partner. 

Not only will a light-hearted campaign boost consumer engagement and build brand awareness, but it’ll also be more likely to get shared online which in turn will open the door to new audiences. 

Top tip: Running your own campaign is the perfect time to create your own hashtag!

7. Be charitable

What better time to show your care than during the celebration of love, and demonstrating a bit of social responsibility is always good for business - it’s a big draw to consumers, particularly younger generations. 

There are loads of ways you can go about this and you can go as big or small as you please, but to get you started, here are a few ideas:

  • Select a few items in your store (those that are most likely to be bought as gifts) and let consumers online and in-store know you’ll donate a percentage of profits from those items, bought before Feb 14th, to a local charity.
  • Host a Valentine’s meal for residents of your local care home. 
  • Ask shoppers for a donation to a charity of your choosing at check-out, with the promise that you’ll match every donation. 

If you want to tie your charitable efforts to the theme of love consider a charity that helps those who’re alone such as Silver Line, which helps older people struggling with loneliness and isolation. 

Top tip: Don’t forget to let all your online followers know about your charitable efforts.

8. Encourage impulse buys

With the busy hustle and bustle of everyday life, it’s not surprising Valentine’s Day slips the minds of many, so use this information to your advantage and place some gift ideas next to your till with a nice big sign (or you can even get your shop assistant to ask ‘can I interest you in any of our Valentine’s gifts?’). Inevitably, and especially as the day draws closer, this will elicit some extra last-minute sales. 

9. Advertise cleverly

In the weeks running up to the big day, advertise your products with Valentine’s in mind to promote sales. If you’re smart about this you can tie most things into the theme of love or romance. Greengrocers, for example, could market photos of a couple sharing a romantic picnic full of their products. A fashion retailer could market photos of accessories as ‘perfect for a romantic night out’, and so on and so forth. 

By cleverly highlighting your date night products, you’ll boost your sales in the days and weeks before Feb 14th.

10. Don’t forget the singletons

Last but by no means least, remember that not everyone is (or wants to be) coupled up, and there’s money to be made from acknowledging that. How? By encouraging consumers to buy for themselves. You could offer a pamper package for singletons with the tag line ‘treat yourself this Valentine’s Day’, or if you’re a cafe or a bar put on a ‘singles table’ and encourage consumers to mingle with others in the same boat. 

Now you’re armed with all the ideas to make Valentine’s Day 2020 a success, be sure you’ve got the tools to accept the payments it’ll bring. Whether it’s instore EPOS till systems, card machines or online payments, let us help you keep your customers feeling the love by providing the latest payment options. 

Our team of experts will hold your hand every step of the way, so get in touch today on 08082 393254. 

Bryony Pearce

Bryony Pearce

Copywriter

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