Valentine’s Day is looming fast and represents one of the key marketing periods for card makers, flower retailers, chocolatiers, weekend break sellers and a host of other industries that boom during the weeks around the romantic festival. Ensure your messages hit the spot with on-point marketing that encourages those little romantic touches.

The stereotypical image of the busy man turning up at his beau’s with garage flowers and a box of cheap chocolates has been dented in recent years thanks to forward-thinking marketing that helps them get things done before the last minute. And your products don’t really need a traditional link to jump on the bandwagon.

1: Love is in the subject line

People will be deluged with similar Valentine-themed marketing messages over the next few weeks, so make yours stand out. Old hat approaches like “make her feel special” can be replaced with key focus words that suggest value and experience, “decadent gifts,” “opulent fragrance,” “luxurious experience” and so on do more to help sell the gift and the idea than generic phrasing.

2: You can “heart” people at Valentines with emoji

Use of emojis is now widely accepted and many email marketing software can send a range of heart-themed cute images, or flags and travel images for getaway ideas, food and drink for dining and so on. Experian marketers estimate that over half (56%) of brands using emojis got higher email open rates.

Use one or two sparingly in the header to help drive the key message home. But note that not all of them will show up on web-based or desktop email tools. Ensure you use common emojis and test your messages on many devices and email clients before sending them.

3: Link the email to social media

An email on its own is just one part of any marketing campaign. Encourage people to share their Valentines Day plans or ideas on social media. Or perhaps, previous Valentine’s Day successes or failures, which will be appreciated by the social audience.

Make use of animated gifs, short videos and viral clips to get recipients sharing your message or hashtag to help remind people about Valentine’s Day in general.

Creating a unique hashtag for your brand or products that links into Valentine’s Day can help make it easier to track growth and impact of your message, and as local or national word spreads, you can react to and engage with a growing audience beyond the original email.

4: Tweak the product or service for Valentine’s Day

Some products don’t lean naturally to the romantic fool in all of us, but you can still encourage sales and interest running up to the big day. Offer free bubbly and flowers with service subscriptions that people can give to their better half. What’s more romantic than a regularly scheduled car service that comes with a big box of chocolates for the driver or their loved one?

Highlight these offers in the most sedate of marketing emails or regular messages sent around that time to encourage interest and help your business benefit from Valentine’s even if it doesn’t really apply to your market. Vouchers are always a good idea too, and can help drive people to your restaurant or eatery ahead of others that aren’t making the effort.

5: Ditch the “his and her” approach

With gender issues being a tricky patch for marketers, don’t focus on the traditional gender roles and who does what for Valentines.

Use gender-neutral marketing in your emails and messaging to maximise your reach, and encourage everyone in all types of relationships to get involved. Growth in diversity creates new opportunities for strong marketing messages, and if you’re struggling for ideas, then plenty of other traditional and non-traditional events already have plenty of ideas for marketing to diverse audiences, and on what they will appreciate.

6: Don’t forget the singletons

And, don’t forget the growing singleton market who like to treat themselves. There’s a growing seasonal backlash called Anti-Valentine’s Day that marketers can use to target confirmed bachelors, long-time singletons or the newly split up.

This allows email messages to have a little fun with people’s emotions, encourage them to not repress their feelings, and to buy that must-have 56-inch 4K TV (or other product) as a reward. From black roses to anti-valentine’s cakes, there’s a growing market and opportunity to celebrate the single life, or encourage singles to party and mingle.

7: Pets win prizes at Valentine’s

Also, a growing number of people increasingly focus on their pets for Valentines. For pet stores and supermarkets, this is a fast-growing concept and one that helps perk up sales. Consider how you can link animals into any marketing proposition. Make heavy use of pets in emails where appropriate, and remember that people love to share pics of their pets. If you tie in a Valentine’s Day pet treat as part of any offer, you can gain wider exposure for your brand and business.

All of these opportunities allow your business to get away from the boring Valentine themes of old and come up with something new and focused that will help sell your products or services and give sales a boost at this special time of year.

About the author

Izaak Crook is the Content Marketing Manager at AppInstitute, a SaaS App Builder platform that allows anyone to create their own iOS and Android app without writing a single line of code.