9 Valentine’s Day marketing ideas to make your customers fall in love your brand
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. Whether you’re feeling the love—or are busy climbing into a Hazmat suit—you can help shoppers find the perfect gift for their sweethearts (or themselves) this year.
Consumers spent more than $21B on Valentine’s Day in 2021, which means there are plenty of opportunities to turn hearts into dollar signs this year.
Create highly personalized messages for your customers on your owned marketing channels in the days leading up to February 14. When you tailor your message for Valentine’s Day on your website, mobile devices and through email, you’ll intoxicate your customers—much like the effect of being hit by Cupid’s arrow.
Let lifetime value (LTV) be your love language this year with these nine Valentine’s Day marketing ideas:
1 | Improve how you communicate with forms
No one wants to endure a date with someone who only talks about themselves the entire time. The same principle applies with your website.
While your website communicates information about your brand and products, there’s also an opportunity to learn more about your customers. A multi-step signup form allows you to collect valuable information on new customers who are browsing your site to shop for Valentine’s Day.
On the form, you can ask customers if they’re shopping for either a man or a woman, if they’re looking to buy something for themselves, or just browsing for a gift. Once you collect this information, you can use segments to target collections or products towards different shoppers.
Form strategies: If a customer indicates that they’re shopping for themselves on the form, enter them into a “treat yourself” automation with content that isn’t related to Valentine’s day. If a shopper checks “just browsing,” direct them to a gift guide. And if your inventory is split between two categories, ask a question that’s product-specific.
Maison Miru, a direct-to-consumer (DTC) jewelry brand, used forms to ask which precious metals their customers prefer. Realizing that most shoppers tend to buy a single metal exclusively, Maison Miru used their customers’ answers to tailor their marketing emails. The team at Maison Miru sent two different emails to their customers—one that featured gold jewelry, and another with just silver. The more questions you ask your customers about themselves, their preferences, and their interests, the more personalized you can make your content.
2 | Create opportunities for interactive engagement with site visitors
While small talk is great for couples who are getting to know one another, deeper conversations are really the foundation of a meaningful relationship.
Consider offering a quiz to gather more in-depth information about your customers or the people they’re shopping for. Their answers will be invaluable as you build out automations, allowing you to get even more granular with your segmentation.
Engagement strategies: A flower shop uses a quiz to ask browsers about their Valentine’s Day plans. One question may ask the browser about the nature of the relationship of the person they’re shopping for. This helps the store offer an appropriate bouquet—as a floral arrangement for a romantic partner may look very different from one that you send to your grandmother. Quizzes are a great way to get consumers to engage with your brand, and you can use the data properties you collect to send targeted messages year-round.
3 | Use special celebrations to personalize experiences
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.
Personalization Strategies: While many brands use a countdown to offer a special promotion for a customer’s birthday, you can use a similar strategy by collecting a customer’s wedding date while they’re browsing a bridal collection page. Then, you can 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 newlyweds in an email automation. Then, along with an annual reminder to buy their partner an anniversary present, you can use their purchase history to create product recommendations for Valentine’s Day—because “until death do us part” is a great way to increase LTV.
4 | Use cheeky testimonials
Positive word-of-mouth is one of the best advertisements for your business—and that’s why using social proof in your messaging is such an effective Valentine’s Day marketing strategy.
Social proof strategies: Rhoback, a men’s activewear brand, experimented with using social proof in an email they sent to customers last February.
The review isn’t written by the customer—instead, the customer’s wife wrote the review. In the email, the polo shirt is humorously described as “better-half approved,” emphasizing that Rhoback’s customers—and their significant others—love their products.
Testimonials, reviews, ratings, and other user-generated content (UGC) will show your customers that you’re irresistible.
5 | Sweeten the deal with an incentive
It doesn’t take much to convince some customers to buy your products—they fall in love at first sight. But others may need a bit more of a push to convert.
Extra shipping costs can frequently deter shoppers from completing the checkout process. According to the Baymard Institute, it’s the number one reason why people abandon their online shopping carts.
But if you let customers know that there’s no minimum for free shipping, you can convince them to return and complete their purchase. The fiancé who’s saving for an expensive engagement ring will be grateful to save a few bucks when they place an order for a gift this year.
Incentive strategies: Target customers with a low average order value (AOV). These are customers who may have browsed—but not purchased—products priced lower than your minimum for free shipping. Try offering these customers a promotional code for free shipping. And be sure to let your customers know if there’s enough time for them to place their 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 made a purchase. Offer them free two-day or overnight shipping, if you can guarantee shipping timelines. If you can’t guarantee shipping in time for the holiday, suggest items that don’t require shipping—like a gift card or an experience, like a virtual painting night or wine tasting.
6 | If they can’t take a hint, give one
Some consumers don’t know where to begin when it comes to shopping for Valentine’s Day gifts.
Instead of pushing your customers to make a purchase, try recommending that they tell their partners exactly what they want—and make it easy for them to share the love they have for your brand.
Hint strategies: UrbanStems, a flower delivery brand, suggests that customers forward their email to a loved one in order to drop a hint about what gift they’d like to receive on Valentine’s Day. The email includes product recommendations from UrbanStems’ gift collection.
This is a unique way to stand out among the hoards of love letters in your subscribers’ inboxes. It’s also a smart way to encourage word-of-mouth referrals from your customers without cutting into your margins—and no discounts or incentives are necessary.
7 | Win your ex-customers back with a winback email
For customers who may have purchased from you last February, but who haven’t bought from you since—it’s the perfect time to put a Valentine’s Day winback series into action. While your ex may have ghosted you, your previous customers might be a little more receptive to your overtures—if the offer is right.
Winback email strategies: Target lapsed customers with a winback email series leading up to Valentine’s Day. Whether they’re last-minute shoppers or if they’ve been planning for the holiday weeks in advance—you can send timely reminders to customers who purchased for Valentine’s Day last year. You can even include a countdown timer to create a sense of urgency. Someone’s significant other who always forgets important dates will thank you.
You can also segment past purchasers by AOV and suggest products in a similar price range. This method can apply to abandoned cart emails, 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.
8 | Stay loyal to committed customers
No one wants to be slighted on Valentine’s Day, so be sure to give your VIP customers access to your best deals and sales before anyone else.
Set up a content calendar for VIPs that includes a preview or teaser of the sale before it goes live. You can also send an informational email that announces when the sale will be, the duration, and what collections you will include.
VIP customer strategy: Some customers might have 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 the ones who are more likely to check it out.
It’s just as important to take a hint when a customer just isn’t that into you. Exclude unengaged customers and non-opted-in contacts. Also make sure that you clean lists and double-check segments to make sure that the content you’re sending is relevant.
Creating small, highly-segmented lists isn’t just better for engagement, it also ensures you’re giving people who want to hear from you the best possible experience. Send them exclusive deals and make 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 aren’t exactly romantic, that doesn’t mean you have to sit the holiday out.
Content strategy: Athletic apparel might not be thought of as a traditional romantic gift. But Booty by Brabants’ loved-up email offers a bottle of rose along with a pair of the brand’s signature leggings for Valentine’s Day.
If you would rather keep things platonic, consider focusing your marketing on friendship instead. Offer a gift guide for your customers’ BFFs. For women without romantic partners, try wishing them a happy Galentine’s Day. Alternatively, if your vibe is more death metal than daisies, why not celebrate Anti-Valentine’s Day with darker design elements and messaging that celebrates singledom?
No matter what your brand sells, you can still find a way to participate in the holiday with poetic copywriting, wistful imagery, clever product curation, or even just a charming GIF.
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-on-one.
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