You don’t have to do that, of course. But, as a small-business owner, you would be remiss to ignore Feb. 14, especially if you offer a product or service that could make for a sweet, friendly, or romantic gift.
What’s more, regardless of your industry, you can build customer loyalty by showing appreciation for your dedicated patrons on Valentine’s Day. Here are a few ideas for accomplishing that:
- Send branded valentines on social media. Thank your customers for their business with branded Valentine’s Day cards — digital missives that include your company’s logo and website address. As people share your love via social media, more potential customers will become aware of your brand. (This is an especially savvy marketing move if your customers pin or re-pin the card to a Pinterest board.)
- Step up your customer service. People often have high expectations for Valentine’s Day — and tend to psych themselves out when trying to get every little detail perfect. Erin Raese, president and chief operating officer of Loyalty 360, recommends that small businesses focus on customer service when marketing around Valentine’s Day. “Make this challenging holiday easier,” she says. “Then help your customer create a thoughtful gift or experience.” By being helpful and considerate, you will also “create an emotional bond with your customer, [which] should create future returns.”
- Stick to your brand’s ideals. If your business doesn’t mesh well with Valentine’s Day, don’t force the issue and risk coming off as insincere and cheesy. However, you can recognize the holiday without putting candy hearts on everything. For example, let’s say you run a pizzeria. Rather than forcing Valentine’s Day onto the brand, you could team up with a neighborhood flower shop to give its customers a coupon for a free order of bread sticks when a customer makes a purchase there, Raese says. By adding value to a purchase and offering something for free, co-marketing can help drive sales and boost loyalty for both businesses.
- Evoke emotion. Valentine’s Day is an emotional holiday, so it’s appropriate to play off that emotion to some degree. “A restaurant could give each woman a rose,” Raese suggests. It is the act of doing something thoughtful or making a customer feel special that triggers an emotional response. Customers won’t forget that little something extra you did for them, which increases the likelihood they’ll return on another occasion.
Figuring out the right marketing strategy to use this Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be a head-scratcher. Just consider what your customers want and need — and the rest should fall into place.