After rising somewhat steadily in the previous decade, Valentine’s Day sales shot up nearly $7 billion in 2020 to an estimated $27.4 billion. That’s a huge chunk of consumer spending, no matter how you look at it. While the most popular items purchased on Valentine’s Day were the expected evenings out and other traditional sweetheart gifts, you don’t have to be in the flower or chocolate business to take advantage of the most romantic holiday of the year.
To help, we’ve rounded up some of the most effective Valentine’s Day marketing ideas and connected them with creative examples from years past.
1. Play Up Audience Participation
Engaging your audience properly on social media is a wise marketing strategy year-round, but it’s especially important during consumer holidays. Encouraging users on your social platforms (or even within your blog comments) to share pieces of their hearts is a great way to humanize your brand, provide interesting content, and boost your exposure through likes and shares. While the simplest version of this strategy asks your followers to share images or stories of someone—or something—they love, a little creativity can up your game.
A great example is Scribbler, a UK-based service that offers personalized greeting cards. Scribbler asked blog readers to fill out a short form with their interpretation of what love is—along with their social media handle and email address (alternatively, users could tweet their answers directly). The winner received an iPad mini, while Scribbler received plenty of unique content to feature across multiple platforms and an e-book, as well as a steady flow of email leads.
2. Engage in Co-Marketing
Co-marketing—teaming up with another local brand or a brand that fits well with your niche—is another ideal marketing technique to utilize around Valentine’s Day. If you’ve identified another brand ideal for co-marketing, be sure to utilize Valentine’s Day marketing slogans that appeal to couples—announce that you’ve “paired up” and spread the love in all your social media messaging.
For example, in Singapore, KFC and delivery brand Deliveroo have spent the last few Valentine’s Days teaming up to provide consumers with Valentine’s Day specials like the “Will Deliver-oo Be My Valentine” campaign. Couples could order a special, Valentine’s-themed dinner for two, complete with a KFC ring crafted by a local jeweler. Each brand benefited from increased exposure and a boost in revenue on the day itself by promoting a Valentine’s night experience.
3. Craft a Lovey Email Campaign
A good email marketing campaign is a good email marketing campaign, and you should always engage in email marketing best practices. To that end, you should, of course, ensure your Valentine’s Day emails are concise, engaging, well-organized, and lead your potential customers to the most important landing pages on your site.
We like this email campaign from Uncommon Goods because it has done so much more than insert a heart graphic and a Valentine’s Day message into its typical auto-generated emails. The attention to detail extends to nearly every aspect of the email, from changing the HTML request to a sweeter blurb that mentions “sweet nothings” to incorporating Cupid’s arrows instead of bullet points. From top to bottom, Uncommon Goods reminds its users of the holiday and the urgency of making a gift purchase.
4. Spread the Love by Giving Back
Valentine’s day has thrived for so many years because it is based on showing love for one another—and what better way for your business to do that than by giving back to others? Choose a local school or charity, or a well-recognized national organization, and pledge a percentage of your Valentine’s sales to a worthy cause—and boost goodwill for your brand in the process.
A standout example is that of MegaRed, a krill oil health supplement excellent for the heart. The company’s recent Valentine’s Day marketing campaign offered consumers concerned about heart health to request a free sample for “the heart of someone you love.” In return, MegaRed sent samples to both the requester and requestee, doubling the love. At the end of the campaign, the company donated $100,000 to a nationally recognized heart charity. It was able to leverage tweets from several A-list celebrities to bring awareness to the campaign—and the brand.
5. Play Both Sides
Let’s face it—for every person who adores the idea of more romance in the air each Valentine’s Day, there’s likely another who can’t suppress an eye roll at all the hearts and balloons. Developing a tongue-in-cheek humorous hashtag or image-sharing contest based on how happy—or resentful—singletons can utilize your brand is a great way to engage more of your target audience.
For example, the El Paso Zoo found a way to appeal to non-Valentine’s Day lovers with their “Don’t Bug Me” campaign. Social media followers could name a cockroach after an ex or other object of their Valentine’s Day derision and share the campaign on their own pages. At the end of the week, the zoo fed the cockroaches to various zoo animals, capitalizing on the anti-Valentine’s Day spirit and boosting the zoo’s engagement with the other half of its audience.
Sweet on These Ideas?
Of course, cockroaches and buckets of chicken aren’t concepts that are usable for every business—but we feel the gist of the above suggestions applies to a wide range of brands. Develop one or more of these strategies to incorporate the love this Valentine’s Day, and increase your reach and boost engagement in the process.