Business information written specifically for newspaper advertising departments

Will You Be My Valentine?

The Business of Being in Love
What does Valentine's Day mean for local businesses? Traditional markets will be slammed. Capitalize on this by thinking about ways each industry customize a marketing campaign.

As the season of love approaches, lovers everywhere are searching for the perfect gift or gesture to make their sweetie swoon. What does that mean for local businesses? Traditional Valentines Day markets will be slammed. Restaurants, florists, candy shops, jewelry stores and card suppliers will all have their hands full during this niche market shopping spree. To capitalize on this rush, think about ways that each industry can customize a marketing campaign that will boost their sales even more, and put their business at the “top of the mind” for future purchases.

Restaurants: Getting a reservation the day of or even a few days out is difficult for Valentines Day. Tell restaurants to advertise early, and maybe offer an incentive to customers who make their reservations ahead of time. For example, if a restaurant were to offer a free appetizer for reservations made before the February 10, people would reserve tables early and the restaurant would know exactly the number of staff that would be necessary to accommodate the influx.

Candy Stores: In 2011, 47.5 percent of Valentines Day sales were candy according to a survey by the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association in 2011, found on wizzley.com. Communicate with candy shops to find out if they do anything special, and if it’s worth mentioning in an ad. For example, if a local candy store makes special candies for Valentines Day it would set them apart from other larger distributors of treats.

Jewelry:Although jewelry only accounts for 17.3 percent of Valentines Day sales, it equals about 3.5 billion dollars for jewelers nationwide. Because jewelry is expensive, not everyone can afford to treat his or her sweetie to such luxury. Encourage local jewelry stores to advertise some of their less expensive items as well as high priced baubles in Valentines Day-themed packaging to help drive lower income-shoppers as well as those who can splurge.

Florists: Florists, like restaurants, will have their hands full with orders before Valentines Day and the day of. To encourage customers to put their orders in early and avoid having to settle with buying the least attractive bouquet in the store, ask florists to offer a free card with purchase, or, run a “baker’s dozen” special and offer 13 roses for the price of 12 when you order ahead of time. Also, let business owners know to advertise early, if customers see the ad ahead of time, they might think of you first when the day arrives.

Movies:Since Valentines Day is such a popular date night, many couples will want to follow their dinner with a romantic movie. If you can, offer coupons or promotions to movies that follow the tone of Valentines Day. If possible, partner up with the firm or agency that makes the ads before the previews. If you can get your client seen at the movie, their paper ad will be an added bonus.

If you’re really in the mood for a big event, contact a local theatre and see if they would be willing to host a Valentines Day-themed movie festival. Local businesses could hold raffles for tickets and set up vendor booths and sell their product.

Because Valentines Day is such a consumer holiday, most businesses in the business of love are already swamped. Show them how using your paper to advertise helps them not only acquire more customers, but will help them get organized and so they’re already lucrative holiday can be even better in 2012. Also encourage business owners to think about what added business from their busy holiday can bring for the rest of the year. If a customer is satisfied with their Valentines Day experience, they are sure to return and recommend your client’s business.