Based on statistics from the National Retail Federation on Valentine’s Day celebrations, 2019 was a bad year for love. Only 51% of people reported planning to celebrate the heart-filled holiday — the lowest reported percentage in 11 years.
But, looking at 2020 research, it seems consumers have caught the love bug once again.
What’s really interesting about the data from NRF, though, is that — despite an overall downward trend in the number of people celebrating Valentine’s Day — spending is way, way up.
NRF estimates that 2020 Valentine’s Day spending will reach $27.4 billion — up almost $7 billion from last year’s (lack of) love.
According to the data, the most popular types of products purchased as part of Valentine’s Day spending are:
- An evening out,
- Gift cards, and
- Greeting cards.
Even if you don’t have products that fall into these specific categories, it doesn’t mean you can’t branch out and make the most out of Valentine’s Day. Let’s take a look at some Valentine’s Day marketing ideas across verticals and channels.
The Evolution of Valentine’s Day
There is some uncertainty around when Valentine’s Day as we know it really began, but the first recorded reference to it as a day of love was in a 1375 poem by Geoffrey Chaucer:
“For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne’s day / When every foul cometh ther to choose his mate.”
In Middle Ages France and England, it was commonly believed that February 14 marked the beginning of birds’ mating seasons.
Exchanges of hand-made valentines likely hit America in the early 1700s, but in the 1840s, Esther A. Howland — ”Mother of the Valentine” — began selling the first mass-produced Valentine’s Day cards in the U.S.
Traditional celebrations as many of us know them have revolved around flowers, chocolates, and romantic cards and dinners. But today, as the marriage rate declines and people are staying single longer, the celebration has expanded as a day to celebrate friendships (Galentine’s Day) and even being single (Anti-Valentine’s Day or Single Awareness Day).
Consumers’ evolving perspectives of Valentine’s Day mean new opportunities for shops outside the traditional Valentine’s Day verticals.
Let’s dive into how you can maximize your marketing strategy to make the most of this lovely holiday.
Valentine’s Day Marketing Strategies
Any holiday associated with gift giving presents an opportunity for ecommerce business. Valentine’s Day is no exception.
Let’s take a look at some of the Valentine’s Day marketing strategies you can use to tap into the holiday spending and look at examples of how merchants have curated successful campaigns.
Think outside the box (of chocolates).
So you don’t sell candy, flowers, or jewelry. That doesn’t mean you can’t capitalize on Valentine’s Day holiday shopping! With the right messaging, even products not traditionally considered for Valentine’s Day could become part of your loyal customers’ gifting plans.
LARQ, a BigCommerce merchant selling self-cleaning water bottles, is a prime example. “Water bottle” probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a traditional Valentine’s Day gift, but that didn’t stop LARQ from finding a way to make the most of the holiday.
Here’s one Valentine’s Day marketing email — subject line, “*NEW* Gift sets for you and your main squeeze” — that encourages shoppers to buy not just one, but two bottles as a couples gift set.
For shoppers who want a special way to recognize their friend or loved one but don’t need a gift set, LARQ also offers personalization on their water bottles. Here’s the next Valentine’s email they sent, with the subject line: “A personal touch – just for your Valentine.”
LARQ’s Valentine’s Day campaign is then mirrored on their homepage.
Whataburger’s Whatastore added a little love for Valentine’s Day as well, promoting reusable tumblers on their homepage. Whataburger is taking advantage of the opportunity to tap into an incredible base of customer loyalty by nudging shoppers to these cute gifts that could be used for Valentine’s Day or any day.
Start sending Valentine’s Day-themed emails.
Remind your email subscribers of the upcoming holiday with Valentine’s Day-themed email marketing. Make sure your emails have a catchy subject line and copy to keep your customers engaged.
Schedule emails for two weeks before Valentine’s Day to ensure that your products remain at the forefront of the customers’ minds (without being overbearing). And don’t forget about last minute shoppers — especially common on Valentine’s Day.
CBD for Life Example
BigCommerce merchant CBD for Life sent out this email about a week and a half prior to Valentine’s Day, with the subject line, “It’s Back and Just in Time for Valentine’s Day.”
Provide shoppers with gift guides.
Buying gifts for loved ones, whether it’s a best friend or significant other, can be a real challenge, especially if you want to stray from the traditional candy-flowers-teddy bear equation.
Give your customers some help with a gift guide! Holiday-themed gift guides are a great way to provide customers with ideas for what to buy. It is a great opportunity to highlight products that your audience wouldn’t have normally thought of.
Wendell August Forge Example
Wendell August Forge, a BigCommerce merchant featuring a wide array of gifts, provides a Valentine’s Day gift guide linked from their homepage, as shown below:
Source: Wendell August Forge
Share the love on social media.
Social media is a great place to get creative with your campaigns. Connect with your customers on Valentine’s Day by sharing anything special your shop is doing for the holiday.
Bottle Breacher Example
Check out this adorable example from Bottle Breacher.
To broaden your reach, consider engaging with common Valentine’s Day hashtags, or use a unique campaign hashtag and encourage your customers to share their own love stories or photos — then make use of all the great user-generated content.
Create daily deals and time-sensitive offers.
Create a promotion with a countdown timer. Shoppers are urged to make an instant purchase if they have limited time to qualify for a sale or special offer. Here’s another example from Bottle Breacher showing how they added a sense of urgency to their special holiday offer.
Bottle Breacher Example
Source: Bottle Breacher
Source: Bottle Breacher’s Valentine’s Day Landing Page
You could also consider keeping customers engaged with a special holiday giveaway.
Tailor your paid search messaging.
Let’s face it — shoppers are going to be searching for gift ideas. Why not make sure your store shows up high in their search results?
Create a marketing campaign with related keywords and tailored Valentine’s Day ad copy, like this La Perla example below (which also does a great job of creating a sense of urgency by including the latest order date for on-time delivery).
La Perla Example
Drop a new product.
Cleaning supplies are not everyone’s idea of a good time, but Mrs. Meyer’s makes cleaning cute by dropping their limited edition rose scent around Valentine’s Day. The design and copy of this tweet tie the two together in a super creative way.
Mrs. Meyer’s Example
Keep your promotions going until the last minute.
If you’ve ever been in the grocery store or pharmacy on Valentine’s Day, you already know this — it’s a holiday notorious for last-minute shopping.
So, while you can start peppering in your promotions early, don’t stop short.
If you’re selling in a brick-and-mortar, be ready for an uptick in sales in the days and hours leading up to Valentine’s Day. And on the ecommerce side, reinforce your shipping deadlines to prompt shoppers to pull the trigger.
Here’s how La Perla did that with a last chance email, subject line “Your last chance to make it unforgettable” with preview text “Order today for Valentine’s delivery.”
La Perla Example
Capitalize on anti-Valentine’s Day sentiment.
Not everyone is in love with love. Of the 44% of men and 46% of women who say they’re not planning to celebrate Valentine’s Day, 28% and 30%, respectively, say they still plan to mark the occasion somehow.
Plans include getting together with friends, treating themselves to something they want, or purchasing an “anti-Valentine’s Day” gift. Just like LARQ found a way to put a Valentine’s Day spin on their water bottle, think about ways you can market your products to all your anti-valentines.
High Beauty Example
High Beauty used this image on their homepage to nudge self-care shoppers toward an eye cream product by visually tying it to Valentine’s Day.
High Beauty homepage
Valentine’s Day Marketing Examples
We’ve already looked at some specific Valentine’s Day marketing examples, but we’ve got more! Here are a few more looks at the ways various merchants are gearing up with tailored Valentine’s Day marketing campaigns across channels.
Austin-based candy business Lammes Candies is an obvious choice for Valentine’s Day gifts. That means doubling down on the pre-holiday promotions — and Lammes are super sweet!
Lammes Candies makes the Valentine’s Day connection immediately with a splash on the homepage.
The homepage’s Valentine’s Day call to action leads customers to this tailored landing page.
Bon Bon Bon goes all out for Valentine’s Day, and the vibrant photography makes for a very visually engaging campaign. Here’s their homepage, with a featured call to action for their Valentine’s Day pre-sale.
Source: Bon Bon Bon
But they didn’t stop at their website. Bon Bon Bon does a great job of building excitement and promoting their Valentine’s Day gifts through their social media channels.
To get people engaged, Bon Bon Bon used Instagram Stories to share delicious videos of the candy prep. Don’t forget that not all your marketing needs to be highly produced — this simple video is a great way to stoke excitement without a lot of effort in production.
La Perla put Valentine’s Day gift ideas front and center by adding a Valentine’s Gifts collection to the main navigation of their ecommerce shop.
Source: La Perla
They also use email and organic social to extend their reach. Here’s an Valentine’s Day-themed Instagram post from the shop:
Source: La Perla on Instagram
And here’s how they sent this out in email:
Throughout all their messaging and visuals, they tie the products into Valentine’s Day in a subtle but effective way, with references to love and by highlighting soft pink colors and including roses in the imagery.
Women’s clothing brand Natori also taps into the Valentine’s Day spirit by promoting a Valentine’s Day collection on their homepage.
They continue the connection throughout their social media accounts. Here’s an example of a Facebook post promoting the collection:
Valentine’s Day isn’t the niche opportunity it used to be. Brands and merchants well outside of the typically popular gift categories can, with the right messaging, take advantage of the uptick in holiday shopping. Take these marketing tips and turn them into a love-filled campaign full of goodness for your business.