February 6, 2023 By Suzanne Robertson

February 14th gives business owners the opportunity to quickly put promotions in place that can increase sales and highlight your brand. This year, Valentine's Day spending in the US is expected to reach approximately 26 billion dollars, an increase of about two billion dollars from 2022.

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There are lots of low-cost and creative ways to capitalize on Valentine's Day. Even if you don’t sell flowers, candy, or teddy bears, you can launch creative promotions to increase profits, engage current customers, and attract new shoppers.

Make Valentine’s Day customer appreciation day

A whopping 68% of customers leave because of what they perceive as indifference from a business. The definition of indifference is “unimportance” and “unresponsiveness”. These are not words you want associated with your small business. Use February 14th as a day to show love for your customers.

One easy and thrifty way to show appreciation is to send a personalized note or email letting them know you appreciate their business. Be sure to add a few personalized details so your note doesn’t read like a form letter. You can also feature photos of customers (with their permission) on your website, in an email or in your store along with a big “we love our customers” message.

Run a contest

Shoppers love an opportunity to get discounts or free stuff. To run a Valentine’s Day contest in-store, you can go old school and use entry forms and a ballot box. Go digital and promote via email or newsletter. If you have a healthy social media following, running a contest on Facebook®, Instagram® or Twitter® is easy and low-cost.

Prizes can be a discount on your products or services. You can also put together a gift basket filled with Valentine’s Day goodies – from chocolate to bubble bath to a restaurant gift certificate, this is the time to get creative. If you have a brick-and-mortar store, display the basket prominently.

Create product bundle specials

In bundle pricing, businesses sell a package or set of goods or services for a lower price than they would charge if bought separately. A bundle pricing strategy may help to increase your profit by giving customers a discount. It’s a win-win!

Social media promotions

These days, you can spend a small amount of money and get your social media content in front of a targeted audience. Promote special products, discounts, and giveaways with a creative post featuring a colorful Valentine’s Day theme. If you don’t have the bandwidth or know-how, consider using a service like Thumbtack® to hire a professional to temporarily help you out.

Set the mood

You can decorate for Valentine’s Day whether you run a storefront or an online business. Discount or dollar stores can be a great resource for signage, balloons, and other themed decorations. Go beyond hearts and flowers – visit Pinterest® for lots of decorating inspiration. If you have a brick-and-mortar store, consider helping another small business – hire a window painter to celebrate this holiday of love. Don’t forget about music! Choose a love themed playlist to get customers in the mood. Check out this list of the Top 50 Love Songs of All Time from Billboard Magazine® for inspiration.

Remember the procrastinators

If you’ve been in a grocery store early on February 14th, you’ve probably seen flowers, chocolate and cards being snatched up by last minute shoppers. Not all your customers plan early for this holiday. Email last-minute messages and Valentine’s Day ideas or offer extra-special discounts the day of.

Celebrate the singles

Of course, not everyone is paired up like Noah’s Ark. Add a twist to the usual Valentine’s Day celebration and launch a “celebrate yourself” promotion just for singles. You can do this through social media promotion, an in-store singles event, or a special single-themed giveaway basket.

In 2010, the second season of Parks and Rec® included an episode called “Galentine’s Day,” in which Leslie gathers a group of her closest gal pals for a brunch full of waffles and love. “Every February 13, my lady friends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home, and we just come and kick it, breakfast-style,” Leslie says in the episode. “Ladies celebrating ladies.” And thus, Galentine’s Day was unofficially added to everyone’s calendar. Use the day before Valentine’s Day to attract an alternative audience.

Singles Awareness Day is celebrated on February 15th each year. It is an unofficial holiday celebrated by single people. It serves as a complement to Valentine's Day for people who are single, and not married or in a romantic relationship.

Additional resources

These are just a few Valentine’s Day themed ideas. For more information about how to promote your business all year, visit the SmartBiz Small Business Blog. For a comprehensive calendar of unique observations to use, read: Marketing Calendar: When to Promote Your Business.

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