It may take more than the lure of candy to convince people to celebrate Valentine’s Day with abandon this year. A recent article in The New York Times paints a rather grim picture of consumer spending, describing how a Minnesota couple plans to skip dinner out on Feb. 14 and instead dine at home on crab legs they bought and froze last summer.
To attract frugal and free-spending lovebirds, here are five creative ways to connect with Valentine’s Day customers.
- Target your promotions. Men are the biggest spenders on Valentine’s Day gifts. Think about how you might target them. For example, AT&T’s “Shout Your Love from the Mountaintop” campaign invites men to send a boisterous message to loved ones. Women appreciate sincerity and typically buy accessories and gadgets for their sweethearts.
- Deliver email marketing messages on weekends. People typically have more time on Saturdays and Sundays to plan their Valentine’s celebrations. Also, despite warnings against gender stereotypes in Valentine’s Day marketing, a message such as “12 No-Brainer Gifts and Guaranteed Delivery” may appeal to a last-minute male shopper. For more tips, check out Inc.‘s article “Seven Email Marketing Tips for Valentine’s Day.“
- Pursue strategic partnerships. There are few things more romantic than a pair of lovebirds, and happy couplings can apply to merchandising, too. Why not team up with a complementary company for a Valentine’s Day promotion? For example, pair a bottle of your wine with a partner’s box of delectable handmade gourmet chocolates — and build your customer lists through cooperative marketing. Or consider a joint promotion with a group of businesses nearby, asking consumers to “buy local.” According to Independent We Stand, a buy-local advocacy group, the average consumer spends $116 on Valentine’s Day; if the purchases are made locally, $79 of that money stays in the community, benefitting local businesses.
- Tweet sweet. Make your business stand out the week or two before the holiday: Add Valentine’s Day flair to your company’s avatars (i.e., profile pictures) on Twitter and Facebook. Upload a photo or graphic that features hearts, red ribbons, or other Valentine’s-themed elements. Share links through social media, spotlighting your favorite businesses and service providers, which may foster good will and yield referrals back to you year-round.
- Be compassionate. Support a local charity. Last year, a Richmond, Va.-based candy shop, Sweet Spot, sponsored a poetry contest in which participants donated $1 each to a local affiliate of the American Heart Association and submitted a poem about their favorite candy. Sweet Spot matched the donations, and the proceeds went to Mended Little Hearts of Central Virginia. The grand-prize: the world’s largest Gummi bear, a one-of-a-kind Valentine.