Marketing Love: Cheat Sheet for a Valentine’s Day Strategy

When any holiday approaches, brand marketers up their ante and create a media frenzy to grasp the attention of the audience – Valentine’s Day is no exception.

As a marketer I had to join this buzz and create an article that helps entrepreneurs take advantage of the holiday and increase their sales and revenue. Yet, I was stumped.

What could I say that had not already been said before?

Consider the fact that the day of romance we know as Valentine’s Day dates back to the 5th century. Yes, you read that right – the 5th century. The first Valentine’s Day card was sent in 1415! There were obviously very limited options for creative strategy when marketing began so long ago!

history-valentines-day

Marketing Corny Love

There is no way any human can come up with original material for this day – customized yes, original, no. Sure you may think its original, but somewhere in some long forsaken place, some dude has already done it. The reason we may not know about it until now is because social media has recently become prevalent.

Go anywhere online after January and you will start noticing social media tweet hashtags like #valentine, #bemylove and #Iheartyou. Then there are images of hearts while memes of corny love abound.

Marketing Corny Love

My Valentine Day Marketing Strategy

Valentine’s Day is all about gifts and according to the National Retail Federation, shoppers will spend an average of $130 dollars this year while overall the revenue generated is more than $18.6 billion. This is why you need effective marketing gimmicks for Valentines.

You don’t need to sell chocolates and flowers to get a portion of the revenue, you just need to get creative with your marketing strategy. The synergy of the holiday allows you to take advantage of the consumer trends and help grow your business.

Most consumers are already primed to spend time and money on the holiday. As a marketer, I simply have to utilize this opportunity and tie in my marketing message with the festive occasion. Instead of wasting my time and energy on creating a new strategy (which in most cases is not new or original anyhow) I decided to base my success on the shoulders of a strategy some other marketers have perfected.

I scrounged the Net and found ten excellent marketing tactics that I customized and tweaked to help me build a marketing strategy without having to increase my budget a whole lot. The tactics have been put forward by marketing gurus and thus, already been tried and tested; plus proven to increase engagement and revenue.

Cheat Sheet: Top 5 Marketing Tactics for Valentine Day

 

#1: Take Advantage of Social Media! (From J Campbell Social Marketing)

When reading an article by Julia Campbell of J Campbell Social Marketing @juliacsocial I thought her piece of advice on taking advantage of social media reigned supreme.

She writes in her article, 10 Ways Your Business Can Use Valentine’s Day on Social Media:

“Have your social media community share their best and worst memories of Valentine’s Day!  Host a contest for the most romantic, the most touching, and the most awkward, etc., memory. Pick a winner in each category and give them a special prize.”

Online marketing is an outstanding tactic to reach consumers and every year compelling new campaigns are launched by marketers that become viral and memorable. Campbell suggests love and hate moments but you don’t have to take her words to heart, tweak them to create a campaign that is creative yet, fun. Love and hate moments have been overdone so do what one brand did (making it one of my favorite in 2014) with the hashtag #iloveyoulike.

Evian focused on the tactic of engaging consumers for its goal. It ran social media campaigns on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram. It was a simple tag where they asked consumers to complete the sentence, “I love you like…” It got great results and made the brand ‘stick’ in the minds of consumers.

social-media-advantage

#2 Find Strategic Partners (that have what you don’t). (From Inc.com)

Kay McFadden in her Inc.com article, “7 E-mail Marketing Tips for Valentine’s Day” wrote, “…Suppose your goods or services aren’t Valentine’s Day-oriented? Find a business that is and join forces.”

strategic-partner

Valentine’s Day offers a perfect opportunity to create forces and partnerships that move your business towards different goals. Focus on holiday customers and diversify your audience. As a small local business you can create partnerships that will be lasting and profitable. Say you have a landscaping business: What can you offer on Valentine in the middle of winter?

Think linear. To reward your seasonal consumers pair your services with a local flower store and offer their customers $10 off snow ploughing. Focus on customer retention which will help increase your revenue in the long term.

#3 Prime your PPC Campaign (from ClickZ.com)

An article on ClickZ.com, We Heart Holiday PPC: Valentine’s Day Promotions for Paid Search by Lisa Raehsler suggests that,

“Prepping PPC for this special time of year will take an engaged approach… Plan to create keywords around relationships and segment into separate campaigns.”

PPC-campaign

Consumer spending was estimated at $17.3 billion in 2014 and the spending in 2015 will most likely increase. People will be searching for Valentine related keywords so slant your business PPC campaigns towards love, hearts, relationships, women and other such spheres. It’s easy to integrate synonyms for love, to promote your business.

#4 Nurture your Audience through Multi-Channel Campaigns (from Marketo.com)

Fab Capodicasa, a Hoosh Marketing consultant wrote an article for Marketo.com, “How to Win Valentine’s Day the Marketing Way.”

He writes that marketers have to know their audience and the more specific you get with the consumer the more relevant will be the campaign created. His advice for Valentine’s Day campaigns is:

“Marketers love to talk about multi-channel marketing – campaigns are most effective when they span multiple channels and techniques…”

SEO and SEM gurus have predicted that marketing in 2015 will go personal and if we learn more about our demographics then behavior can be predicted. We can, through demographic data make campaigns more relevant, hence more engaging. Once the buyer persona is created we can impress the ideal buyer (much like Fabodicasa suggests impressing your date).

Segment your audience and then plan your campaigns along the lines of the segmentation. Marketing is not only about increasing sales but also creating brand awareness. So a multi-channel campaign strategy allows a more diverse tactic. A Facebook ad will target your audience by age, gender, location etc. and generate sales. A YouTube video will help create brand awareness and Twitter will obviously do both.

Coca-Cola’s Valentine’s Day campaign was simply delightful.

They had a simple and tasteful YouTube.com video:

Then coinciding with their open happiness theme marketers in Istanbul (C-Section) set up machines in malls where if couples proved they were a ‘couple’ they would get Coca-Cola cans in pairs.

Though the Coca-Cola campaigns were elaborate, you can tone down your tactics by using last year’s data to create this year’s campaigns. As a local business you could make short videos of customers that come in your store (with their permission) and show how couples socialize in your business. These videos can be promoted on social media and a ‘favorite couple’ contest can be set up.

#5 Get Creative on Your Website (from white.net)

Gillian Cook wrote a blog on, “Valentine’s Day Marketing Strategy – Did Your Brand Get it Right?” for White.net, a UK based digital marketing agency, in which she suggests that the brands which get their tactics right on this lovely holiday are those that get creative on their website. She writes,
“Now that you’ve made sure you’re getting the message out to your contacts and social media followers, it’s time to target anyone visiting your site. Make sure your homepage clearly promotes your Valentine’s Day offering … You don’t need to be in the chocolate or flower industry to benefit from this holiday and reap the financial rewards.”

Gillian has got it right. A mistake a lot of entrepreneurs and marketers make is while they have great multi-channel campaigns they fail to integrate the campaign within their own website. Offers, discounts, product sales have to be focused upon especially for the holiday. So you don’t sell flowers, no chocolates either?

The way to make Valentine sales is by thinking outside the box. Do you sell kitchen gadgets? How about putting a product on sale for ‘Valentines’?

Add the color red to the website, get gift cards for the store especially printed for Valentine (think red). The list goes on. Here is a great example of a non-traditional Valentine business marketing on Valentine’s Day!

creative-website

Another great example is by Bed, Bath and Beyond, who sent this great e-mail for their Valentine Day special.

get-creative-website

Last Minute Valentine Cheat List

1. Segment men and women in your audience and plan campaigns around the genders.
2. Gift-cards with taglines for the holiday should be printed. Especially if your business is a non-traditional Valentine’s Day venture e.g. tagline: “For the woman who wants more…”
3. Highlight alternative gift options from your own product line and offer free Valentine gift wrapping.
4. Add gift certificates that are personalized.
5. As per OneUpWeb the most sales are made of February 5th and 6th of the month.
6. Offer some gimmick whether it is free shipping, wrapping or a time limited discount to drive sales.
7. Start a countdown on social media for the first 14 days of February and send customers daily quotes, flash sale alerts or sweepstakes for the cutest couple sort of campaigns.
8. Target the singles. Create gimmicks that help the single stay in the celebratory loop. Target your marketing to include parents, best friends and even siblings!
9. Men will be the biggest buyers and 40% of all purchases will be made on phones. Create mobile ad campaigns to get a bigger share of the market.
10.Try an anti-Valentine Day campaign, there are always haters out there!

I am a digital marketing consultant with a focus on small and mid-sized enterprises. I believe the focus of every business should be on creating a consistent brand identity online and offline.

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