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Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and your communication strategy is key!

Avatar photo by Casey Woods, Executive Director | January 25, 2023
IWS-0763 2016 Valentines Graphics_FBCover-2

Last year we were still dealing with some COVID related impacts during the Valentine’s planning season. This is really the first Valentine’s in a couple of years where we can plan out and execute holiday sales. So, let’s delve into some best practices:

  1. Identify your market and reach out NOW!- Women make the majority of all retail buying decisions in the United States, but Valentine’s Day may flip your gender focus for marketing activities. If your primary market is men, you might reach out to women (or have a ladies night) to facilitate buying for guys. If your primary market is women, you might communicate with men to make them comfortable with their purchase options. We are saturated with media messaging, so outreach through traditional media, social media, interior decorations, and direct (in-store) communication needs to start now.
  2. Presales are the focus.- Your market may be of the “last minute” variety, and that can stress out even the most seasoned entrepreneur. Finding ways to get people to advance purchase (reservations for restaurants, set-asides for retail, etc.) can speed up customer service for the big day.
  3. What can people love about your business?- If you don’t sell flowers, jewelry, or candy the temptation is to bow out of the Valentines market. Businesses need to recognize the people that are passionate about their businesses and conduct some targeted outreach. Valentines is one of the holidays where a message from a business stating “your (significant other) has really had their eye on X; do you want me to just ring that up for you?” is REALLY appreciated. Take a look at your customer list and make time to conduct some outreach.
  4. Experiences provide premium sales opportunities.- Valentines Day sales often require a more detailed experience description than “we have some stuff and you should come buy it”. Describe your products and/or services in a way that makes them sync up specifically with Valentines. Helpful tip: if you took out the word “Valentines” and any red/pink/heart decorations, would your product/service description fit all other times of the year? If so, you aren’t being descriptive enough.
  5. Don’t be a one-off!- Join with other local businesses to highlight a night!- Coordinating activities with partnering businesses can help you make a full night or day of Valentines Day events. A slate of activities can pull people in from a larger geographic area due to the “rule of four” (for every hour people travel, they expect four hours of stuff to do). If you market partnerships as part of a Valentine’s Day push, you could draw larger crowds from a bigger geographic area.
  6. Contests can drive awareness.- Businesses want to extend their traditional advertising efforts with word-of-mouth conversations. Contests that encourage people to share their love for a significant other, a pet, their favorite cheese, house plants, bike trail, disc golf driver… whatever; they get people talking about your brand. What types of contests can you run to get people talking about your business this Valentines season?
  7. Does your décor match the vibe?- If your business doesn’t look like it’s doing anything special for the holiday, people will assume that you aren’t doing anything special for the holiday. Take some time to decorate your windows (and light them), incorporate Valentine’s Day signage, and push specific Valentines products (or product images) to your dominate wall (to the right as people walk through your front door.

Does your business have something special you want to communicate for Valentine’s Day? Send your products, services, events and more to Emporia Main Street for inclusion in upcoming communication efforts!

About the Author

Casey Woods, Executive Director

Before accepting the director position in March of 2009, Casey worked in both retail and agricultural jobs in the family businesses. A lifelong resident of the Emporia Area, Casey was a ten year volunteer for Emporia Main Street prior to his appointment as director. During that time he served as the board president and chair of the Economic Vitality Committee.

Casey also serves as a partner in PlaceMakers, LLC, a consulting firm that routinely works with both large and small communities, and their businesses, to promote sustainable economic growth through community and economic development practices. Casey consults with businesses, organizations and communities to understand their market capacity and fill vacant spaces. He has been involved in two projects that included crowdfunding as a part of their overall business funding strategies, Radius Brewing and Twin Rivers Winery & Gourmet Shoppe.