Valentine's Day is a great holiday for small businesses and freelancers to connect with clients and prospects. It's the perfect excuse to reach out to people in person, via social media, e-mail or mail with a special message or promotion.
Below I'll share a roundup of three new Valentine's Day marketing ideas to test in 2011 plus four ideas from 2010's Valentine's marketing blog posts.
3 New Valentine's Marketing Ideas To Test in 2011
1. Be a love bird
If you are active on Twitter, then use Valentine's Day as a way to show some Twitter love. For example, try a couple of tweets that say "Happy V-Day, I LOVE @handlecompany." The company you mention will likely see and appreciate the love. When you recommend another Twitter user to all of your followers you can expect some kind of positive reciprocation from that Twitter user (hopefully some RTs and follows). Schedule several "Love" tweets throughout the day and encourage others to spread the love by tweeting questions such as, "This Valentine's Day who do you LOVE on Twitter?" Twitter users like to interact, recommend other users and just be heard. This kind of Valentine's-focused messaging should be a big hit.
2. Send a sticky Sharpie note
Print a rectangular or heart-shaped magnet with the text, "I LOVE ______." Get creative with the design or leave the background white and use an all-caps black font. Remember to include a tiny URL or reference to your company on the edge of the heart-shaped magnet. Then purchase a bunch of mini Sharpie markers in red. These mini markers are really handy and a fun giveaway even on their own. My suggestion is to pair the mini Sharpies with the magnets and give this as free Valentine's gift to clients at your retail location or through the mail. It's a fun interactive way for clients to participate with your business and something they'll likely hold on to, thus keeping you top-of-mind.
3. Create print-at-home Valentine's
Graphic designers can post a series of PDFs on their website of printable Valentine's Day greeting cards. Promote these free cards using Twitter, Facebook or e-mail, and let your friends and clients know the cards are available for download and easy to print at home. The possibilities are endless. You can create cards for people to color-in themselves, a fill-in-the-blanks love poem or fully designed cards. Do try to post both black-and-white and full-color options to accommodate all types of printing equipment. It's also a good idea to create an e-mailable version that people can simply attach and send. Add perforation and cutting guidelines for folding and trimming the cards, and remember to mention your company and contact information on the back.
4 Great Marketing Tips from Valentine's Day 2010
1. Send a loyalty mailing
When’s the last time that you told your customers you loved them? Use Valentine’s Day to design a postcard or greeting card mailing that simply says, “We appreciate your business.” This message will make your customers feel valued and keep your business or services fresh in their mind.
2. Create a "Someone You Love" referral sale
For freelancers and small business owners, networking and landing new clients can greatly affect your earning potential. Around Valentine’s Day, try sending a Valentine’s Day card offering current clients a discount on your services if they refer a new client. You can extend the discount to the current client and the new referral, too, to really incentivize the “Someone You Love” referral sale.
3. Look for love
One of the greatest marketing tools out there is the customer testimonial. You can post testimonials on a website, use them in a direct-mail campaign or just have a file of testimonials ready for interested customers. On Valentine’s Day you can build up your testimonials. Just send a “Looking for Love” greeting card or postcard that asks current clients for their feedback. Happy clients will provide testimonials that you can use to further market your business, and they’ll be reminded about how great your services were.
4. Show how much you REALLY care
Valentine’s Day is becoming another over-saturated consumer holiday. It seems as though every kind of business has found a way to make a “sweetheart” special or sell some Valentine’s Day-related junk. Try something different and meaningful this year. Donate to a local charity or favorite cause and then send your friends or your top clients a greeting card saying you’ve made a donation in their honor. If you donated to an education fund, your card could show an “I LOVE EDUCATION” image on the front and contain a personal message inside.