You can’t plan for love — but you CAN plan your Valentine’s Day email marketing campaigns.
Valentine’s day has changed a lot over the last couple of years. While it’s always been (and still remains) a time of romantic gift-giving for couples, traditions have also shifted to include the celebration of non-romantic relationships as well.
This is great news for marketers looking for new ways to boost their winter sales after the big holidays.
But, despite the great potential of the holiday, Valentine’s Day can also be an emotional minefield. It’s very important that you strike the right tone, provide real value, and avoid disappointing or upsetting your audience.
So, before you hit send on that Valentine’s Day email campaign, make sure you plan out exactly what you want to say. To give you some inspiration, here are 5 Valentine’s Day email marketing tips that will help you get the most out of the holiday shopping season:
1. Start your promotions early
As the saying goes, “the early bird gets the worm.” This rings true in the world of marketing as well.
If you’re just reading this now and haven’t started… what are you waiting for?! It might be a bit late for 2018, but this is an important note to remember for any holiday promotion.
Getting the word out early gives shoppers more time to choose something from your store and have it arrive in time to celebrate.
The key to finding the right time to send is balancing between the distance you need from previous holidays (in this case, New Year’s Day), and still giving your customers enough time to make a purchase decision. Ideally, this means starting about 3 weeks in advance — or the last full week in January.
2. Inspire readers with great gift ideas
The hardest thing about holiday shopping is that most people are shopping for loved ones as opposed to themselves (treat yo’self!).
Take the guessing out of the equation and make it easier for your readers by suggesting good gift ideas that they can wow their significant others or friends with. Paired with a sale or promotional offer, this can be an extremely effective way to boost Valentine’s Day sales.
As you can see in the example, Barnes and Noble does a nice job of suggesting gift ideas that are relevant for anyone (significant others, bookworm friends, and even children).
The only change I would suggest is to make this season promotion the main call-to-action of the email, putting it front and center, rather than burying it below the normal promotional offer they have at the top.
3. Create unique offers for the holiday
The best gifts are always those that have extra meaning behind them or some unique characteristic that makes them special.
This is especially true when dealing with the romantic labyrinth that is Valentine’s Day gift-giving. People are constantly looking for unique gifts that will make that ultimate humble-brag Instagram post all the more satisfying.
So, where do you come in?
As a retailer, you should try to think of ways that you can offer something unique and special to your customers. This could be a limited-time-offer or giving customers the ability to do customizations on their order (e.g. engravings, special embroidery, etc.).
3rd Eye Pinecones have an awesome example of this tactic in action. They have a special promotion that enables customers to create a unique and customized piece of jewelry by selecting the different stones and designs.
This is a super unique gift idea that customers are sure to love.
4. Use irony to your advantage
If you’re not into the whole lovey-dovey Valentine’s Day mushiness (I can’t be the only one), you can also take a more ironic approach to the holiday and do a totally unrelated sale or promotion to your regular subscribers.
This approach can be a really great way to stand out from the crowd if a lot of your competitors are doing Valentine’s Day themed promotions. After all, even the most romantic people can get tired of seeing Valentine’s Day emails from online retailers in their inbox.
While this tactic can work for pretty much any business, it can be especially effective for stores that sell products that are in no way romantic or related to Valentine’s Day (I don’t think Home Depot will be holding a V-day sale).
Here is a great example of J. Crew sending out a February sale promotional email with the subject line “Not a Valentine’s Day Sale.” I’m sure this came as a relief to a number of subscribers who were ready for deluge of Valentine’s Day emails to end.
5. Make your brand part of the Valentine’s Day experience
A recent survey by the National Retail Federation showed that millennials are increasingly more interested in celebrating Valentine’s Day with “experiences” rather than just giving material gifts.
Whether it’s because millennials truly like spending more time with their significant others or it just boils down to that #instagramlife, the best way to address this trend is to make your brand a part of the experience.
Here you can see that Forever 21 knows their customers are going to be having a “date night” for Valentine’s Day, so they’re helping customers prepare with a special free shipping offer on all orders.
Hopefully, these tips have inspired you to take a different approach to Valentine’s Day email marketing this year. As always, make sure that you’re thinking of your customer audience first and send them something that will make them happy.
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