Now that you’ve taken down the snowflakes, lights and tinsel, you’re probably looking for Valentine’s Day decorating and marketing ideas for your small business. These Valentine’s Day marketing ideas are more than window dressing, and that’s the point, because people won’t care about your business until they know how much you care about them!
Here are 10 marketing ideas for Valentine’s Day to help you build business, show customers you care and cultivate customer love and loyalty:
1. Use Facebook and Twitter to send 29 messages of affection to your customers.
Every day in February (and it’s a Leap Year, so there will be 29 days in the month) put blog and Facebook posts and Tweets out into the social media universe that conveys some measure of your affection for customers, a customer service promise or another customer care oriented message. And create a special Valentine’s Day email to send to your contacts on February 14th. That’s 30 ways to say “I love you” to your customers!
2. Create your own Valentine’s Day love themed set of coupons.
You know how couples often create Valentines Day IOUs for back rubs and date nights? Create your own Valentine’s Day IOUs in the form of bounce back offers distributed at the point of sale, via email and social media redeemable for a gift with purchase, discount or add on the next time they buy from your business.
3. Hold a 14 Days of Valentines contest or give away.
Every day from February 1-14, hold a contest or drawing to give away an inexpensive but desirable product, service, add on or even a branded coffee, water or travel mug, t-shirt or another branded tchotchke. Put together a grand prize for the February 14th drawing (such as a gift basket, collection with one of each of the items given away previously, larger ticket item, etc.)
4. Don’t forget the singles!
Obviously, everyone doesn’t have a significant other. The singles among your client base may well be sick of all the talk of love and romance. Cater to them by way of a romance-free shopping event or go the other direction and hold singles shopping hour mixers. Include a few love-cynical quotes on Facebook and Twitter. Or celebrate with special offers on February 15th, which is “Call in Single Day.”
5. Take time for introspection and show some love to your employees.
Study after study (not to mention common sense) tells us that engaged employees – employees who see themselves as aligned and connected with the brand and culture of the business where they work – are happier, more likely to deliver exceptional customer service and more likely to proactively resolve customer’s problems (or even go out of their way to prevent them). Your customers are much more likely to feel ‘loved’ by your business when your employees do, too! During February, send Valentines or notes of appreciation to your staff noting personal traits and talents you appreciate. Post customer raves on social media and in employee break and lunch areas. Hold a Valentine’s Day luncheon or send chocolates or flowers to each at home.
6. Put Cupid to work in your business.
Literally, put Cupid to work in your business. Solicit a staff volunteer to dress as Cupid and stand inside or outside of your business, distributing business cards, special offers, branded pens or promotional items, etc. Or hold a Cupid-hosted Valentine’s Day open house, extended shopping hours for VIP or loyalty club customers or another special event.
7. Send Valentines to people who need and deserve them.
Collect or create Valentines to be given to soldiers, seniors, cancer patients or another deserving group. Ask customers to bring signed Valentines or hold a DIY Valentine craft workshop for kids (of all ages). Feature the project in a press release and in stories on your website, social media, email newsletter and blog.
8. Live out the spirit of Valentine’s Day.
Donate a portion of proceeds or proceeds from the sales of specific products or services to a local deserving charity, or hold an a-thon type of event with proceeds and solicited donations going to charity. And don’t forget to tell people about the good works that you do for charity or in your community in communications via your website, blog, in email newsletters and on social media.
9. Get closer to your customers and prospects.
Do a customer service survey. Solicit customer comments, raves, reviews and other feedback. Form a focus group from among your most loyal customers to discuss one or more aspects of the customer experience which could be improved. Use customer or child-created Valentine arts and crafts to decorate within your business and feature them in photos on your website, email newsletter, social media and your blog.
10. Reward your best customers.
Double loyalty points or rewards for all purchases, your most loyal customers, club members or double up rewards or points when customers purchase specific products or services in February. Extend a special offer such as a free or reduced-price add on, gift with purchase or another incentive to your best customers or loyalty reward members. Send a Valentine to your most loyal customers by mail or email.
11. BONUS: Looking for Valentine’s Day decorating ideas for your business?
Last month I found Pinterest and became immediately immersed (or, more accurately, addicted) as it appeals to my own A.D.D. approach to the internet. It’s an especially great resource for finding holiday craft and decorating ideas, including ideas for how to decorate your business for Valentine’s Day. You’ll find some of my favorites here, but I highly recommend that you visit www.pinterest.com and take a look around, yourself. My next email newsletter will include this article about using Pinterest for business.
Merely decorating the windows, walls and displays in your business for Valentine’s Day is not enough. For customers to believe you care, your efforts must come out of authenticity. Remember the Law of Reflection? The principle included in my Top 10 Small Business Marketing Ideas at position #5 was this: No one— not your customers, employees, vendors or investors— no one is going to put more into the relationship they have with your business than you do. Your investment (the extent to which you go to show customers that you really care about them) will be reflected in their ‘love’ for and loyalty to your business. The return is never going to be more than your investment!