Spread the love with 4 simple marketing tips

While Valentine's Day may be regarded as over-hyped by some, there's no doubt that women (and men) expect to do or receive something special on 14 February, with a recent US study indicating 60 per cent of people will spend around $18.6 billion.

The study, conducted by the US National Retail Federation, also found that the average person plans to spend $131 on their significant other, up $4 on the previous year. In Australia, spending patterns will likely be the same. With this in mind, how can your small business incorporate Valentine's Day into marketing efforts?

Offer a discount

It may seem strange and maybe even silly to offer a discount at a time when prices of flowers, restaurant meals and anything Valentine's Day related are hitting the roof. However, this can work in your favour, given that many consumers are watching their wallet and have expressed concern about their financial situation. Discounts can range from a simple 10 per cent off all orders, for example, to a free gift offer with purchase, and can act as a strong incentive for cash-strapped consumers to buy from your business.

Digitalise your efforts

Discounts can be an excellent way to capitalise on Valentine's Day, and can be communicated in a variety of ways, either physically in-store or online. Increasingly, businesses are using digital channels such as email marketing, websites and social media to promote their offers as there's generally more exposure than physical advertising.

For example, group buying website Groupon  has added a Valentine's Day section to their homepage highlighted in pink, showcasing their current offers for meals, travel and other gifts. You don't have to reinvent the wheel - simply taking your existing products/services and putting a Valentine's Day twist on it can be extremely effective.

Use social media to communicate

If you're going down the social media route, Facebook and Twitter can be great ways to promote an offer. For instance, online retailer Tarazz is using a combination of Twitter and their website to advertise their Valentine's Day competition - you have to follow their Twitter handle to find out how to enter the competition, while their Twitter page provides the link to enter the competition, which is also a good way to increase your number of followers. If you're using social media to wish your customers a happy Valentine's Day, think about adding a call to action. It can be something as simple as, "Happy Valentine's Day to all our customers! If you still haven't got a gift for your loved one, it's not too late to buy something from us! We also offer free overnight shipping - click here to browse".

Partner with another company

If it's near impossible to 'romanticise' your products or services - particularly for industries such as construction or mining, partner with a company that allows you to do so. For instance, you could partner with a wine or catering company to hold an in-store event for your top customers, or run a contest giving away prizes from a partnered company.

Alternatively, if you're in the health industry, you may want to think about promoting a "healthy Valentine" - even finance/accounting businesses can take advantage of this by playing on being financially healthy this Valentine's Day.

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