Valentine’s Day is, once again, upon us. It’s the perfect time for a romantic stroll, a fancy dinner or, for around one million people in the UK every year, getting engaged. In 2022, an estimated £1.37 billion will be spent on Valentine’s gifts and treats in the UK, so it’s a big day for consumers and retailers alike. It’s a day when hearts can be won and profits can be made. For marketers, it can be a difficult time to stand out, so it’s vital to embrace the right approach and strategy to not only draw the eye of loved-up shoppers, but to keep them coming back long after February 14. There’s a need to create content that strikes a chord, is emotionally engaging, and is as personalised as possible.
So, when it comes to marketing for the big day, what works? When should the campaigning begin and what should it consist of? Simply put, what should you be doing to win Valentine’s Day? We caught up with Danielle Auebach, Regional Vice President, Customer Success EMEA at Wunderkind, to find out.
Making your move: When to start marketing for Valentine’s Day
Preparing a marketing campaign of any kind should happen way before it’s finally unleashed. There is, of course, no set start date that’ll work definitively for every brand—it depends on what’s being sold, how much it costs, how long it’ll take to arrive etc—but one thing’s for certain – your Valentine’s campaign shouldn’t kick off on February 13. When it comes to figuring out your marketing timeline, it’s best to get it done very early in the year (if not before Christmas). Consider your own logistics, what you hope to get out of your Valentine’s campaign(s), as well as the needs of the consumer, and you’ll be in a good position to start sorting out content and deciding when to disseminate it.
Campaigns should probably launch a minimum of two weeks before the big day, but getting in there a little earlier is generally a good idea.
Ultimately, it depends on your overarching campaign objectives and what you’re trying to sell or promote, but this is a solid rule of thumb.
Wunderkind data has found that the first notable uptick in Valentine’s-related conversions starts about three weeks ahead of the big day. With specific reference to the word ‘flowers’, the week of Valentine’s Day dominates in terms of conversions, which makes sense, but remember that getting people to hit ‘buy’ is the end of the process – the first pushes along the marketing funnel should (and likely will) take place weeks prior. In this piece we’ll focus on email and text message marketing, but it’s also worth highlighting that social channels can play a major role, especially in terms of raising brand awareness.
TikTok data has revealed that Valentine’s chatter on its platform ‘spikes between February 12-15’, and all but disappears by February 17. If you want to appeal to a younger demographic, or you’re more focused on exposure than sales, then this is something to keep front of mind.
But, when it comes to sorting your Valentine’s Day email and text campaign(s), what’s the best approach to take?
Valentine’s day powerplays – email marketing
There are any number of email campaigns you could deploy in the lead up to Valentine’s. Maybe it’s worth creating a gift guide (similar to the one we produced this past Christmas), sending personalised recommendations (gifts that someone looked at before Christmas but subsequently abandoned), or crafting something altogether different — a campaign dedicated to buying presents for a beloved pet, maybe.
Valentine’s Day doesn’t just have to be about the love an individual has for a significant other, either – it could also be you, as a brand, demonstrating love for your customers. This could be something as simple as an email thanking them for their loyalty, but could also incorporate discounts, exclusive offers or points that can be redeemed at a later date.
Using Valentine’s as an opportunity to enhance the brand-customer relationship is undoubtedly a good idea.
- The opening gambit: Get people interested and aware of your Valentine’s offers early. Let them know all about the deals and why they should buy from you. Maybe provide offers or discounts, or let them know when an exclusive sale is going to take place. If you’re sending out emails early, it might also be worth including an option for your audience to opt-out of future Valentine’s comms – some people might not be a fan of the day, so it wouldn’t be a great idea to bombard them with content they’ll actively dislike.
- The confirmation follow-up: Once someone’s made a purchase, you could always use the confirmation email to go for the upsell. Maybe the bracelet they’ve just purchased has a matching necklace, or that bunch of roses would look better accompanied by a box of Belgian chocolates. You’ll be sending a confirmation email anyway, so using it to drive additional (appropriate) sales is a no-brainer.
- The appeal to singletons: Not everyone is in a relationship, and single people shouldn’t be left out. 30% of the UK population is thought to be single, so why not buck the Valentine’s trend and provide singletons with an excuse to treat themselves.
- The appreciation post: As mentioned earlier, Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to tell your customers that you love them. A thank you email, perhaps containing a complementary discount code or bespoke offer, is something that most people would appreciate and remembe
- The last-minute reminder: Even with the best of intentions, some shoppers are bound to leave things to the last minute. This gives retailers an opportunity to act as the savior of love. By giving consumers options, offers and quick delivery, you can save the day. This could also be a great time to sell experiences—gift cards or vouchers/tickets, for example—that don’t need to be delivered physically.
Valentine’s Day text marketing – a new channel to build relationships
Text messages have an open rate of around 98%, so it makes sense for retailers to make use of this channel when it comes to pushing out Valentine’s campaigns.
Texts campaigns are all about keeping things short and sweet. Provide the key information, highlight your best attributes, and give the consumer a reason to add to basket. It’s a simple enough premise, but one that’s easier to explain than to design, so here are a few ideas to get your Valentine’s text campaigns up and running.
- The deal for two: Valentine’s Day is (usually) about couples, so why not craft a campaign that promotes experiences to be enjoyed by two people? Whether it be a romantic night out or a buy one item get another half price offer, this is something that will appeal to many
- The one-stop shop: Convenience is something that everyone appreciates. If your campaign promises to do everything, from providing the ideal gift to ensuring it arrives at the right time, and all at a great price, you’ll win the hearts of your customers. Just ensure that if you promise it, you can deliver it
- The subversive approach: Love comes in all shapes and sizes, so why not use that to your advantage? Maybe you could encourage your audience to get a gift for their best friend, pet, or just someone that they appreciate in the office. This wouldn’t necessarily even have to mention Valentine’s, but could still promote similar products/offers.
Begin early, personalise the approach, think outside the box, and provide a lifeline for the stragglers. Appeal to as many people as possible and do as much of the buyer’s legwork for them as possible. Provide gifts or experiences that are thoughtful and romantic, but can be purchased with just the click of a button.
Both email and text messaging can make an impact, and brands shouldn’t think about using one or other – they can (and do) work in harmony. What’s crucial is creating campaigns that appeal directly to your consumers, encourage them to move down the marketing funnel, and get them to convert.
Create an emotional connection with your consumers, provide them with offers they can’t turn down, and go above and beyond to deliver on promises.