Every year, throughout the year, we celebrate a number of holidays in the U.S. that some businesses are able to use to effectively market and promote their business. I don’t know why, but I still associate President’s Day with mattress sales! Cheesy marketing aside, each holiday may bring unique opportunities and benefits to your business. Some, like Thanksgiving, may be an obvious opportunity to dramatically increase retail sales on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. Others, like Memorial Day, may not have an intrinsic sales value, but may still offer an opportunity for you to tell your business story in a way that relates to the holiday, or simply take a moment to honor the day and wish your readers and customers well.
Throughout the coming year, we will be writing about each holiday as it approaches and working to give you some background and helpful information that you may be able to include in your marketing or blog writing or social media posts. (We will be focusing on U.S. holidays, though many of them are celebrated around the world.)
Valentine’s Day History
Valentine’s Day, also known as Saint Valentine’s Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine, is celebrated on the 14th of February each year. It began as a memorial for the Christian Saint Valentinus who lived during the Roman Empire and was reported to have performed illegal marriages for Roman soldiers who were not allowed to marry, and to have helped other Christians. Part of the legacy states that just before he died, his last letter to someone he’d healed was signed “from your Valentine.” It wasn’t until the 1300’s and the writing of Geoffrey Chaucer that the day took on romantic implications. By the 1500’s lovers were exchanging flowers, notes and confectionery.
Fast forward to today, and the customs have evolved to the point that the U.S. Greeting Card Association estimates that approximately 190 million valentines are sent each year in the US. While that may be great news for florists and greeting card companies, does that mean that other businesses can’t participate in this holiday? Of course not!
Valentine’s Day Communication
If you sell a product or service, think about a way to talk about what you sell in a way that might make it a great Valentine’s gift. Offer a sale or package price, particularly if it can bundled and wrapped. Here’s a great infograph that provides some tips for marketing on Valentine’s Day:
This infograph also has some terrific insights, as well as more recent data:
But what if you provide serious, professional services, as most business to business companies do? Consider having some fun on your social networks by changing your icon, or posting a funny image from someecards.com. Mention the holiday in your newsletter or email communications and include one of the quotes below.
Remember that not everything is about you. You might consider sharing some links to blogs and news articles relating to Valentine’s Day cooking, recipes, attire, decorations, crafts – anything you think your readers and fans will enjoy and share. you might also consider helping a local charity or organization by asking customers to donate $5 and post a paper heart with their name on it.
If there are influencers who do a tremendous job of helping to share your company’s message, show them some love as well! There are fantastic selections available for wine and chocolate sets, particularly if you want to include a piece or two of branded swag as well.
Whatever you plan to do, ensure that the activity gets posted on time. Use a social media management tool like AgoraPulse. You can schedule Facebook Page updates, as well as tweets, LinkedIn and Google+ posts, and even shares to Instagram. Depending on the nature of your business, you might schedule Valentine’s Day posts and activity days, even weeks in advance of the holiday – or maybe just a single, great post the morning of Valentine’s Day to get you, and your audience, in the spirit.
Valentine’s Day Quotes
Oh, if it be to choose and call thee mine, love, thou art every day my Valentine! – Thomas Hood
Valentine’s Day: the holiday that reminds you that if you don’t have a special someone, you’re alone. – Lewis Black
When love is not madness, it is not love. – Pedro Calderon de la Barca
Today is Valentine’s Day. Or, as men like to call it, Extortion day. – Jay Leno
Many are the starrs I see, but in my eye no starr like thee. – English saying used on poesy rings
Loving is not just looking at each other, it’s looking in the same direction. – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Wind, Sand, and Stars, 1939
Gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love. – Albert Einstein
Pay attention to where you are going because without meaning you might get nowhere. – Winnie the Pooh
A life without love is like a year without summer – Swedish proverb
Valentine’s Day money-saving tips:
Break up on February 13th, get back together on the 15th.
In place of bubble bath, use lavender-scented dish-washing liquid.
Forget rose petals. Sprinkle the bed with sliced beets!
– David Letterman
I don’t understand why Cupid was chosen to represent Valentine’s Day. When I think about romance, the last thing on my mind is a short, chubby toddler coming at me with a weapon. – Author Unknown
For you see, each day I love you more
Today more than yesterday and less than tomorrow.
– Rosemonde Gerard
Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. – Winnie the Pooh
Love is a symbol of eternity. It wipes out all sense of time, destroying all memory of a beginning and all fear of an end. – Author Unknown
Love – a wildly misunderstood although highly desirable malfunction of the heart which weakens the brain, causes eyes to sparkle, cheeks to glow, blood pressure to rise and the lips to pucker. – Author Unknown
I claim there ain’t
As great as Valentine.
– Ogden Nash
Trip over love, you can get up. Fall in love and you fall forever. – Author Unknown
We love because he first loved us. – 1 John 4:19
Anyone can catch your eye, but it takes someone special to catch your heart. – Author Unknown
A hundred hearts would be too few
To carry all my love for you.
– Author Unknown
You have to walk carefully in the beginning of love; the running across fields into your lover’s arms can only come later when you’re sure they won’t laugh if you trip. – Jonathan Carroll, “Outside the Dog Museum”
We’re all a little weird. And life is a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutually satisfying weirdness – and call it love – true love. – Robert Fulghum, True Love
Valentine’s Day Images
When looking for images to share, it’s best to either purchase the image from a site like iStockPhoto (because yes, you are using it for commercial purposes), or use Flickr to find images that the owner has stated that the image can be used for commercial purposes. Go to Flickr.com, start a search, and then use the Advanced Settings to filter out the images that you shouldn’t be using (the setting is at the bottom of the page). Note that you still need to pay attention to each image and what the owner states – some require that you attribute the image to the owner, like Image courtesy of Mike Allton, Flickr.
Here are a few other Valentine’s day images you can use, or go to Pixabay to find more like them – all are copyright free and can be used in any manner you wish.
Sprinkle some of these quotes and images into your social media activity and marketing leading up to Valentine’s Day to keep your customers smiling. More importantly, look for ways that you can provide value to your readers and your efforts will be appreciated. For instance, you might offer some alternative ideas to the typical “dinner and a movie” that both husbands AND wives will appreciate. Poll your employees about their best and worst Valentine’s Days and then share those stories in a blog post for our readers to enjoy.
All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt. – Charles Schultz
Valentine’s Day Marketing Sources: