9 Valentine’s Day Marketing Ideas to Make Your Customers Fall in Love With You

valentines day marketing ideas email ecommerce

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on January 7, 2020. It’s been updated to reflect the most current data and insights. 

It may feel like January just started, but if you work in ecommerce, Valentine’s Day is right around the corner—and love is in the air. Whether you’re breathing it all in or digging up your hazmat suit, you can play cupid for shoppers searching for the perfect gift to give their loved ones (or themselves) this year. 

Last year, consumers spent more than $27 billion on Valentine’s Day, which means there are plenty of opportunities to turn hearts into dollar signs in 2021. While I can’t equip you with an archery set or a pair of wings, I can give you a few tips that should have a similarly intoxicating effect on your customers. 

Whether shoppers are brand new, returning from last year, or consistently loyal to your brand, you can take control of the customer experience by leveraging your owned marketing channels such as web, mobile, and email to create highly personalized and relevant interactions leading up to February 14th—and beyond. 

Let lifetime value (LTV) be your love language this year with these nine Valentine’s Day marketing ideas:

1 | Become a master of small talk

No one wants to endure a date with someone who only talks about themselves the entire time. 

Similarly, your website communicates your brand and products, but it’s also a prime location to ask your customers more about themselves. That’s exactly why you should use signup forms on your website. 

Whether you use a pop-up, fly out, or embedded signup form, you can collect information on new customers who are browsing for Valentine’s Day. 

Ask if they’re shopping for a person of a certain gender, or ask if they’re looking for themselves or browsing for a gift. Once you collect this information, you can use email segmentation to target collections or products towards different shoppers. 

For example, for anyone who claims they’re shopping for themselves, you might want to enter them into a “treat yourself” automation with content that doesn’t emphasize Valentine’s Day gifting but still highlights some of your best-selling products. For shoppers browsing for someone else, you could direct them to a gift guide instead. 

You could also ask a question that’s more product-specific if your inventory is split between two categories. For example, once they realized most shoppers tend to exclusively buy either silver or gold jewelry, direct-to-consumer (DTC) jewelry brand Maison Miru started asking their customers which they prefer to inform future product recommendations.

Once customers selected an option, Maison Miru only promoted images of the type of jewelry they selected in future marketing emails.

This just goes to show that the more you ask your customers about themselves, their preferences, and their interests, the more personalized you can make your content.

2 | Adjust your approach if you’re ready for something serious

While small talk is great for getting to know each other, deeper conversations are really the foundation of a meaningful relationship.

To better understand your customers’ true intentions, consider implementing a quiz to gather more in-depth information about your customer or the person they’re shopping for. These properties will be invaluable as you build out automations, allowing you to get even more granular with your segmentation. 

For example, a flower shop might ask browsers about their Valentine’s Day plans and their relationship with the giftee in order to make a suggestion for a bouquet, since an arrangement from your husband will likely look different from the one your mom sends you. 

This is not only a great way to get consumers to engage with your brand, but the added value of these quizzes is that you can also use the data properties you collect to ensure you’re sending targeted messages year-round. 

3 | Make sure you celebrate special occasions

Long-term relationships are all about celebrating important milestones. That’s why many ecommerce marketers use forms to capture additional information about special dates that they can then use for different anniversary emails

One way to do this is by asking shoppers for their wedding date while they browse a bridal collection page. While many brands use a birthday countdown to offer special promotions around a customer’s birthday, you could implement something similar after collecting a customer’s wedding date in order to provide unique content for brides-to-be as their big day approaches. 

Even after tying the knot, this data continues to be relevant if you enroll them into an anniversary email automation with a yearly reminder to buy their partner a gift. Then, use their purchase history to create product recommendations around Valentine’s Day—because “till death do us part” is a great way to increase LTV.

4 | Use cheeky testimonials 

We all get a little jealous sometimes—that’s why using social proof in your messaging is such an effective Valentine’s Day marketing strategy.

Take this email from men’s activewear brand, Rhoback, for example, and notice how they experimented with social proof last February.

valentines day marketing rhoback email

 The review isn’t by the customer who leaves it, but his wife. Describing the polo as “better-half approved,” the email content emphasizes that customers (and their significant others) love their products while showcasing the brand’s sense of humor.

Using social proof like testimonials, reviews, ratings, and user-generated content (UGC) will show your customers that you’re irresistible.

5 |  Sweeten the deal with an incentive

Some customers don’t take much convincing. They came, they saw, they bought—basically they fell in love at first sight. But others may need more of a push to convert into customers. 

Extra shipping costs can frequently deter shoppers from completing the checkout process. In fact, it’s the number one reason people abandon their online shopping carts, according to Baymard Institute

But you can convince customers to come back if they don’t have to meet a minimum, which is good news for the future fiancé who’s saving for an engagement ring and opting for the small box of chocolate truffles this year.  

Target customers with a low average order value (AOV) or shoppers who browsed but didn’t buy products priced lower than your minimum with a promotion code for free shipping, and make sure there’s enough time for them to place an order and receive it by Valentine’s Day. 

On February 12th, consider sending an “It’s Not Too Late” email to engaged customers who still haven’t purchased and offer them free two-day or overnight shipping, if you’re can guarantee shipping timelines. Alternatively, you could suggest items that don’t require shipping, such as a gift card or an experience (like a virtual paint night or wine tasting).

No matter what your customers spend, you can give them the Happily Ever After they deserve.

6 | If they can’t take a hint, give one

Some consumers don’t know where to start when it comes to Valentine’s Day gifting ideas. 

So instead of pushing your customers to buy, you could try recommending that they tell their partners exactly what they would like—while spreading the love for your brand along the way.

 

valentines day marketing urbanstems

 

This email from flower delivery brand UrbanStems does just that with messaging that suggests forwarding to a Galentine or Valentine to provide a few Valentine’s Day gift ideas from their collection, which are included as product recommendations. 

Not only is this a unique way to stand out among the hoards of love letters (a.k.a emails) in your subscribers’ inboxes, it’s also a smart way to encourage word-of-mouth referrals from your customers without cutting into your margins by discounting your product or offering an incentive.

7 | Winback your ex-customers

For customers who may have purchased last February but who haven’t bought since, it’s the perfect time to put a Valentine’s Day winback series into action to re-engage them when they’re likely shopping again. You may not have gotten a response the last time you reached out to your ex, but previous customers may be more receptive if the offer is right. 

Target lapsed customers with a winback email series leading up to Valentine’s Day. Whether they’re last-minute shoppers or they’ve been planning for weeks in advance, you can send timely reminders to customers who purchased last year and even include a countdown timer to create a sense of urgency. Someone’s significant other who always forgets important dates will thank you.

Alternatively, you could segment past purchasers by AOV and suggest products in a similar price range. This method can apply to abandoned cart emails, as well, since you’re more likely to convince a customer who’s browsing men’s dress shirts to buy a pair of pants instead of a gold watch. 

5 | Stay loyal to committed customers

No one wants to be ghosted before Valentine’s Day, so give your VIP customers first access to the best deals and sales if you’re having them. 

Set up a content calendar for VIPs that includes a preview or teaser of the sale before it goes live, as well as an informational email that says when the sale will be, the duration, and what collections you’re including.

Other customers might have more of a wandering eye for other brands, but that doesn’t mean you can’t change their ways. Notify engaged customers once the sale goes live since they’re most likely to check it out.

On that note, it’s equally important to be able to take a hint when a customer just isn’t that into you. Exclude unengaged customers and non-opted-in contacts. Additionally, make sure you clean any lists you’re sending to and double-check segments to ensure the content will be relevant before clicking send.

Creating small, highly-segmented lists isn’t just better for open rates, it also ensures you’re giving people who want to hear from you the best experience by sending them exclusive deals and making them feel like they’re your most important customer.  

9 | Seduce subscribers with seasonality

When you think of Valentine’s Day, you typically think of flowers, chocolates, and jewelry. But if your brand offers products that rarely constitute romantic gifts, that doesn’t mean you have to sit the entire holiday out.

valentine's day marketing booty by brabants email

Athletic apparel might not be the traditional display of affection, but this email from women’s activewear brand Booty by Brabants proves that nothing pairs with a bottle of rose better than a pair of founder Kelly Brabants’ signature leggings—especially when they come in shades of pink.

No matter what your brand sells, you can still find a way to participate in the holiday, whether it’s through a poetic copywriting, wistful imagery, clever product curation, or even just a charming GIF. 

If you would rather keep things platonic, consider centering your marketing around friendship instead instead with a gift guide for your customers’ best friends—and don’t forget to wish them a happy Galentine’s Day on February 14th. Alternatively, if you’re more death metal than daisies, why not celebrate Anti-Valentine’s Day with darker design elements and messaging that celebrates singledom?

From fling to the real thing

Let Valentine’s Day set the tone for the rest of the year by digging into your customer data and using it to power more personalized experiences—you may be in an open relationship with your customers, but you can still make interactions feel one to one. 

Interested in more revenue-generating email automations? Check out the six essential marketing automations you should implement to support your ecommerce store. 

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