It may take more than the lure of candy to convince people to celebrate Valentine-s Day with abandon this year. A recent article in The New York Times paints a rather grim picture of consumer spending, describing how a Minnesota couple plans to skip dinner out on Feb. 14 and instead dine at home on crab legs they bought and froze last summer.
To attract frugal and free-spending lovebirds, here are five creative ways to connect with Valentine’s Day customers.
- Target your promotions. Men are the biggest spenders on Valentine-s Day gifts. Think about how you might target them. For example, AT&T-s -Shout Your Love from the Mountaintop- campaign invites men to send a boisterous message to loved ones. Women appreciate sincerity and typically buy accessories and gadgets for their sweethearts.Deliver email marketing messages on weekends. People typically have more time on Saturdays and Sundays to plan their Valentine-s celebrations. Also, despite warnings against gender stereotypes in Valentine-s Day marketing, a message such as -12 No-Brainer Gifts and Guaranteed Delivery- may appeal to a last-minute male shopper. For more tips, check out Inc.-s article -Seven Email Marketing Tips for Valentine-s Day.-Pursue strategic partnerships. There are few things more romantic than a pair of lovebirds, and happy couplings can apply to merchandising, too. Why not team up with a complementary company for a Valentine-s Day promotion? For example, pair a bottle of your wine with a partner’s box of delectable handmade gourmet chocolates — and build your customer lists through cooperative marketing. Or consider a joint promotion with a group of businesses nearby, asking consumers to -buy local.- According to Independent We Stand, a buy-local advocacy group, the average consumer spends $116 on Valentine-s Day; if the purchases are made locally, $79 of that money stays in the community, benefitting local businesses.Tweet sweet. Make your business stand out the week or two before the holiday: Add Valentine-s Day flair to your company-s avatars (i. e., profile pictures) on Twitter and Facebook. Upload a photo or graphic that features hearts, red ribbons, or other Valentine-s-themed elements. Share links through social media, spotlighting your favorite businesses and service providers, which may foster good will and yield referrals back to you year-round.Be compassionate. Support a local charity. Last year, a Richmond, Va.-based candy shop, Sweet Spot, sponsored a poetry contest in which participants donated $1 each to a local affiliate of the American Heart Association and submitted a poem about their favorite candy. Sweet Spot matched the donations, and the proceeds went to Mended Little Hearts of Central Virginia. The grand-prize: the world-s largest Gummi bear, a one-of-a-kind Valentine.