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Learn to Love Valentine Promotions: Tips for Your Small Business Owners

Last year Americans spent $19.7 billion on Valentine’s Day gifts, and men outspent women by about 2 to 1. Valentine’s Day is a big deal in the retail world, and there’s plenty of opportunity for small businesses to take advantage to boost otherwise sluggish post-Christmas sales. 

Since men are the biggest spenders in February, it’s a good idea for small business to make shopping of the big day as easy as possible. By packaging your products and services into clever, Cupid-inspired promotions, business owners take the work out of designing a romantic Valentine’s Day gift. Provide the creativity as part of the deal, and there's the potential for making a loyal customer for life – especially if she’s impressed!

Try these promotional ideas to get the creative juices flowing in time for V-day celebrations:

Two-for-the-Price-of-One Couples’ Specials

Whether the product is handmade candles or craft beer, it's easy to offer two signature items for the price of one in a special couples’ package. This is simply a classic buy-one-get-one (BOGO) promotion dressed up in red and white for Valentine’s Day – and customers love it. Invest in seasonal packaging and artwork, and make sure your couples’ deals are advertised well in advance for the best results.

Offer a Prix Fixe Meal – or Deal

A prix fixe menu on a busy night like Valentine’s is a restaurant’s best friend. It streamlines the work of busy chefs by offering a fixed menu of courses for a single price – the trick is to make that holiday menu one that wows so that besotted diners never notice that their choices were limited. Add a bottle of champagne or a decadent desert for a memorable promotion that creates buzz.
Small business owners selling unique goods can also riff off of the prix fixe idea by offering a box or collection of favorites. Think heart-shaped boxes that customers can fill with their choice of varied candies, or socks, or hand blown shot glasses or imported olive oils ... the possibilities are endless.

Behind-the-Scenes Experiences 

Recent market research has shown that millennials are increasingly prioritizing experiences over objects, making it challenging for traditional businesses that sell goods to appeal to younger buyers. Capitalize on this trend by offering customers a look at the inner workings of your business. Restaurants and bakeries can offer a couples’ cooking class on an evening near the big day; craftspeople can run a similar program detailing how to build a bouquet or knit a scarf. 

Depending on the business, it may make more sense to offer a demonstration night to show off the skills it takes to make those craft brews or handmade jewelry. Add cocktails and hors d’oeuvres to make it an evening to remember.

Get Local

Shopping small and local is making a comeback, and small businesses can appeal to conscientious buyers by creating a promotion with local flair. Some basic market research can provide insight into what people in a region are looking for when it comes to romantic gifts; turning to Google or a map of Valentine’s Day search terms can also be revealing. Teaming up with other nearby vendors to create a gift basket of local favorites can be a win-win way to approach the season as well.

Just Add Flowers

Florists often have their hands full on Valentine’s Day, and anyone who has forgotten to order a bouquet for their sweetheart could find themselves left empty-handed if they wait until the last minute. Step in to help the stragglers by offering a free bouquet of flowers with the purchase of a featured item. This works especially well with last-minute shoppers, but it can also be a boon for those who work ahead of time and want to pick up a complete package in one spot.
Of course, chocolates, wine and other traditional gifts will work just as well as flowers. Advertise this promotion well on the ground and be prepared for an onslaught of grateful customers who might come in and buy just to get an eleventh-hour Valentine’s Day gift!

Try a Giveaway as a Romantic Prize

To drum up some buzz in February, present customers with a contest to win a Valentine-themed prize of goods or services. It’s easy to simply hold a drawing – and if building a subscriber list is a goal for this year, it’s a great way to boost that contact list.
For a more romantic contest, ask customers to share a story or photo that’s in keeping with the holiday and choose a winner based on the most popular entry. It’s also possible to break the contest down into categories that recognize the humorous as well as the tender-hearted entries.

The Bottom Line

With the potential for big sales around Valentine’s Day, it would be practically criminal to pass over the opportunity to bring in customers with a great new promotion. The only question is what type of promotion to choose, and how creative to get with the Valentine-themed puns. Even small businesses selling relatively unromantic products and services can get into the act with a sense of humor, so there’s no time to waste in launching that great new holiday promotion this month.

 


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