Spas, floral shops and jewelry stores aren't the only businesses that should benefit from a boost in sales on Valentine’s Day. Here's how any small business can entice customers to spend in the name of love.
Hold a contest
Think up a fun contest and entice your social media followers to participate, suggests Wendy Kenney, founder of 23 Kazoos, a marketing company in Phoenix, and author of How to Build Buzz for Your Biz. Contest ideas include asking Facebook followers to post a photo and have people vote on it. The winner gets a discount to your product or service.
“Theme it for fun, maybe ask people to dress up like celebrity couples and post the photo on your page,” she offers. “In-person drawings are another great way to get new clients.”
Before launching your contest, be sure to research rules associated with your state and social media platform. According to Kenney, Facebook has restrictions about contests and prefers businesses use third party applications such as Wildfire. (Here are some ideas for successful Facebook contests.)
Offer a workshop
Natalie Napoleon Wi is banking on Valentine’s Day to land her a slew of new clients. As co-founder of Allure West Studios, a boutique photography studio in Doylestown, Pa., she is offering discounts on her photography workshops.
“Workshops are great ways to spend time together and make a good gift for a loved one,” she says.
Not a photographer? Fear not; any business can offer workshops. Wine stores can offer wine pairing workshops. Accountants can offer workshops on write-off tips (maybe slightly less romantic, but you get the idea). Publicize your Valentine’s Day workshop specials on your social media page for maximum exposure.
Include the family
Valentine’s Day isn’t only for lovebirds. Joe Aurelio, president and CEO of Aurelio’s Pizza in Chicago, includes his clients’ families in the celebration.
“We offer heart-shaped pasta for Valentine’s Day and encourage everyone to bring their families into the restaurants for the holiday,” he says.
Consider packaging your goods or services for the holiday, recommends Kenney. Restaurant owners: Host a Valentine’s Day dinner. Auto shops: Offer a "love your car" special.
“You want to make it easy for consumers to buy,” she says.
Land a TV spot
This is easier than you may think. Television stations (especially ones in small markets) are always looking for feel-good stories around holidays.
Kenney has a few ideas: Photographers can offer a segment on how to take perfect Valentine’s photos, chefs can offer a segment on how to cook the perfect Valentine’s Day meal and clothing boutiques can showcase new date night styles. The opportunities are endless; just make sure to call TV assignment desks a few days ahead to give studios time to consider your idea.
This strategy worked for Rachel Bloom, founder and president of Happy Cup Coffee Company in Portland, Ore.—a company that employs people with mental and physical disabilities. Over the winter holiday season, she and her employees sold ‘Christmas boxes,’ which included coffee, a T-shirt and chocolates. They were a huge hit, so Bloom extended the box idea to Valentine’s Day.
“They are super popular, and we managed to get on television,” she says. “The morning the show went out to 120,000 people we got a lot of calls. A supermarket even ended up sampling our coffee.”
What are your promotional plans for Valentine’s Day?
Photo credit: iStock