16 Valentine’s Day marketing ideas to make your customers fall in love your brand, including 12 brand examples
Valentine’s Day is about gift-giving. And even though January just started, if you work in ecommerce, Valentine’s Day is already right around the corner. Last year, the holiday saw over half of Americans planning to celebrate, whether it be with their significant other, family, or themselves. Millions even use the romantic date to propose marriage.
Whether your brand is feeling the love or feeling the pressures of the new quarter, and whether you sell jewelry, apparel and accessories, or something else entirely, this is a good opportunity to get your products in front of your people.
Keep reading for:
New research: Valentine’s Day campaign data
Recent Klaviyo data shows high click rates and revenue per recipient for Valentine’s Day email campaigns, with top performing Klaviyo customers earning an average of over $800K.
Your SMS marketing campaigns are nothing to ghost on either. Our research showed click rates of nearly 20% and an average of almost $35K in revenue attributed to SMS campaigns.
By creating highly personalized messages for your customers on your owned marketing channels in the days leading up to February 14, you can help shoppers find the perfect gift for their sweethearts (or themselves) this year. Let lifetime value (LTV) be your love language this year.
16 Valentine’s Day marketing ideas
1. Improve how you communicate with forms
No one wants to endure a date with someone who talks about themselves the entire time. The same principle applies to your website.
While your website communicates information about your brand and products, it’s also an opportunity to learn more about your customers. A multi-step sign-up 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 about the gender of the person they’re shopping for, as well as whether 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 preferred. When they realized most shoppers tended to buy a single metal exclusively, Maison Miru used their customers’ answers to tailor their marketing emails to two different product lines: One set of emails featured gold jewelry, and the other featured 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 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 strategy: Jones Road Beauty uses a quiz to ask browsers about their skin tone. The quiz leads the shopper more quickly to the right shade of makeup, giving both the brand and the shopper a better chance of a love match.
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 strategy: 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. Along with an annual reminder to buy their partner an anniversary present, you can use their purchase history to send personalized product recommendations for Valentine’s Day.
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 strategy: 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 what makes your brand irresistible.
5. Sweeten the deal with an incentive
It doesn’t take much to convince some customers to buy your products—they may fall in love at first sight. But others may need a bit more of a push to convert. The fiancé who’s saving for an expensive engagement ring, for example, will be grateful to save a few bucks when they place an order for a gift this year.
Incentive strategies: Extra shipping costs frequently deter shoppers from completing the check-out process. According to the Baymard Institute, it’s the No. 1 reason why people abandon their online shopping carts.
Try targeting customers with a low average order value (AOV)—customers who may have browsed, but not purchased, products priced lower than your minimum for free shipping. Then, offer these customers a promotional code for free shipping, and be sure to let them know whether there’s enough time for them to place their order and receive it by Valentine’s Day.
On February 12, you might also 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, a virtual painting night, or a wine tasting.
Free shipping isn’t the only incentive that’s likely to convert. Giveaways and free gifts can move the needle as well.
Include a giveaway contest in your Valentine’s Day marketing email, and make sure to announce it in the subject line to boost your open rates.
Bag brand Bee Kin earned a high open rate with this email, offering subscribers the chance to win a luxury backpack.
Their strategy? To make the giveaway the first thing the reader sees in the subject line, in all caps: “GIVEAWAY + Valentine’s Day edit❤️.”
You might also consider including a free gift for a certain purchase, like a bundle or subscription.
With this email, breakfast biscuit brand Olyra takes a similar path to Bee Kin: highlighting the free tote bag they were giving away for their Valentine’s Day promotion in their subject line.
The result? A high open rate.
6. If they can’t take a hint, give one
Some consumers don’t know where to begin when it comes to gift ideas for Valentine’s Day.
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.
Recommendation strategies: Recommend that your customers forward your email to their loved one, or offer an option for your customers to share a registry on your site—the same way people do for weddings and baby showers.
7. Position your brand as an expert advice-giver
No one knows your brand better than your team. Why not crowdsource a gift guide from them, complete with headshots and quotes?
Expert advice strategy: Trade coffee earned a high open rate with a pretty straightforward subject line: “Our Valentine’s Day Gift Guide.”
They sent it a solid week before Valentine’s day, with a clear deadline on the date a shopper would need to order to get the package in time for the holiday.
The rest of the email includes coffee recommendations from staff, all in the theme of Valentine’s Day.
8. Win your ex-customers back with a win-back email
While your ex may have ghosted you, your previous customers might be a little more receptive to your overtures—if the offer is right.
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 win-back series into action.
Win-back email strategies: Target lapsed customers with a win-back 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, customers who purchased for Valentine’s Day last year might appreciate a timely reminder to buy. You can even include a countdown timer to create a sense of urgency. Someone whose significant other 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 is great for 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 than a gold watch.
9. 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, how long it will last, and what collections you will include.
VIP customer strategies: 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, and make sure you clean lists and double-check segments so 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 to make them feel like they’re your most important customer.
10. Stay authentic to your brand
When we think of Valentine’s Day, we typically think flowers, chocolates, and jewelry. But just because your brand offers products that aren’t exactly romantic doesn’t mean you have to sit the holiday out.
Content strategies: Athletic apparel might not be a traditional romantic gift. But this loved-up email from Booty by Brabants offers a bottle of rosé along with a pair of the brand’s signature leggings for Valentine’s Day.
Is your brand’s vibe more death metal than daisies? Celebrate Anti-Valentine’s Day with darker email design elements and messaging that sings the praises of 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.
11. Play Cupid by recognizing Galentine’s Day
In several US cities, women earn more than men. Women are increasingly breadwinners, decision-makers, and cultural shapers in our economy. For women with expendable income, Galentine’s Day is an opportunity you don’t want to miss.
Galentine’s Day strategy: Jewelry brand La Kaiser earned a high click rate with this Galentine’s Day sale email, offering:
- A big discount (50% off)
- An cheeky, playful explanation of Galentine’s Day
- High-quality, clear images of their products
- Well-placed CTA buttons, including one above the fold
The emergence of Galentine’s Day offers your brand the chance to double your marketing without being redundant. Remember: people aren’t only buying for their significant others, they’re also buying for friends, children, parents, and even themselves.
Galentine’s Day brings the possibility of doubling your revenue. Don’t hesitate to invest marketing efforts into this add-on—it just may surprise you.
12. Use the right channel for the right message—at the right time
Timing is everything—in love and Valentine’s Day marketing. It’s crucial to understand when to send an email campaign as opposed to a text message. When should you send your campaign via SMS?
If your message is time-sensitive, it’s a good time for SMS.
SMS strategy: Sustainable goods brand Earth Hero earned a high click rate with this Valentine’s Day SMS sent just one day before the holiday.
It’s a smart move: By this point, shoppers are under pressure to deliver a gift in the next 24 hours. The brand is following SMS best practices by choosing this channel for this message.
Learn more about how to make the most of SMS marketing.
13. Keep it short—and to the point—on SMS
The ins and outs of SMS marketing are not necessarily intuitive, but one rule applies across the board: Shorter is always better.
SMS strategy: Keep it short. Very short. Dental Hygiene Nation, an apparel and gift brand for dental professionals, earned a high click rate with this Valentine’s Day text, sent almost a month before the holiday.
The text doesn’t contain a discount code or even offer one. The SMS simply announces that a new collection is available.
The takeaway? Don’t overdo it, especially on SMS. Keep the message direct and to the point. Remember, it’s a big deal that someone has subscribed to your brand via SMS in the first place—the average consumer only opts into SMS marketing from 2-3 brands.
14. Offer your subscribers a challenge—and an incentive
Romantic love. Platonic love. Familial love. Love for nature. They all count—and so does self-love. Brands have been marketing to better self-esteem for years now, with notable results.
Self-love strategy: Buti Yoga earned a high click rate with this email. They started by offering a free challenge in the subject line. The email itself contains clear, succinct descriptions of:
- The free offer
- How to enter the contest
- What the prizes are
The brand also places CTA buttons both above the fold, and also at the bottom of the email—this way, they catch anyone who might not make it to the end.
Self-love can be a vague concept. If you want to market using the idea, take a tip from Buti Yoga and spell out exactly how buying from your brand will help customers express theirs.
15. Surprise and reward them with a big discount
Valentine’s Day is as good as any holiday to offer a larger-than-usual discount. If your brand is in the position to align the timing of a big sale with the holiday, it just may earn you results.
Surprise sale strategy: Luxury clothing brand Twigs earned a high open rate with this email without even announcing the 70% off in the subject line. How did they do it? A little wordplay and a little nudge.
The subject line reads “It’s Valen-time to SAVE! 💖,” and the preview text follows up with a slight nod toward urgency: “start your weekend savings early.”Sent to subscribers a solid 11 days ahead of the holiday, it gives shoppers ample time to put together their favorite date night outfit, snag that Galentine’s Day gift, or just stock up on their favorites.
A huge discount is a great way to show your subscribers how valuable they are.
16. Show them a best case scenario with your products
Some industries, including home goods, benefit from a stylist. That way, your audience doesn’t have to imagine how your couch, or pillow, or area rug will look in their space.
Content strategy: Take advantage of image blocks in your emails to style your products, showing your subscribers how great your products can look IRL.
Dwell Home Shoppe uses the space below the fold to show readers 4 different ways they can make their space more cozy. It makes for an email that’s pleasing on the eyes, but also gives readers who make it past the first CTA button an opportunity to imagine the products in their home.
From fling to the real thing
You may be in an open relationship with your customers, but you can still make interactions feel 1:1.
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 in the marketing channels you already own—email and SMS.
The way you communicate with your customers can make it a long-term relationship. And isn’t that true love?