What would a small business be without its customers? Well, it wouldn’t be a business for long; that’s for sure. “Thank you for your business” and “Have a nice day” are politely said at checkout counters and sales booths across the country. But when was the last time you heard a business owner or staff member shout “I love you!” as a customer swipes their credit card? Likely not recently, and that may be for the best. There are, however, less creepy ways for business owners to show their love to their customers. As Valentine’s Day approaches, small business owners may want to consider actively showing their customers just how much they love them! Use this collection of tips for inspiration as to how you can best show love to those customers and clients who help to keep your business…in business!
A great way to spread the love this Valentine’s season is to get your customers involved. Host a Valentine-themed contest at your business with a genuine reward for the winner; a gift certificate is usually a good start. Ask your customers to write sonnets or haikus where your business is the beloved. Or maybe ask customers to mail Valentine’s Day cards to your business where each card mailed is dropped in a random drawing lottery. No matter what promotion you choose to run for your business, be sure that customers both know how to enter and what they could get if they win. Be sure also to post winners or any honorable mentions on social media or in marketing emails.
Put a “Lovely” Spin on Popular Products
Consider putting a Valentine’s Day touch on one of your most popular products. While the most common examples of this come in the form of food, i.e., the heart-shaped pizza or the heart-shaped cake, don’t think that Valentine’s Day promotions are limited to the food industry! If a stationary company knew that a certain style or ream of paper sold especially well or poorly, putting a simple Valentine ribbon, card, adornment, and often a small discount, is enough to get customers in the loving spirit at your business.
Get Creative with Your Email Marketing
Valentine’s Day allows your business to get goofy and gushy, so do it! Galvanize your marketing emails to turn heads. Considering the average consumer is already inundated with more marketing emails than they likely have time to read, make your email pop this Valentine’s Day with professions of love and grace that would make Walt Whitman blush. This is a great way to get staff involved as well; consider asking staff members to contribute little poems or blurbs to each email during the season.
If you don’t have a design savvy employee as well, consider enlisting a freelance designer to make you a snappy email banner or even graphics for your website. This may sound like a big expense with little to show for it. But customers won’t see it that way – if you can turn even one more head than you would have without well-designed graphics, it is worth it. The spirit of Valentine’s Day, after all, is showing your love to those who matter most.
Your Customers are Your Valentine
Don’t forget the most important piece of Valentine’s Day celebrations: cards! Take advantage of traditional mailing lists to mail actual Valentine’s Day cards to your customers. No, this doesn’t mean a Valentine-themed circular; make your marketing stand out with real cards and real words. Writing cards by hand will obviously take more time, and your customers are bound to notice. Getting a genuine Valentine’s Day card in the mail is miles more touching and personal than a heart-themed circular or any other standard mail slip.
If you don’t have access to a traditional mailing list for your customers, there are a few other routes you can try: consider giving mini–Valentine’s Day “Thank You” cards in the bags of every customer or to every client you interact with. It is essential, however, that at least the phrase “Thank You” be written by hand. Handwritten notes make a much grander statement than their laser-printed cousins. Another idea is taking out advertisement space in your local newspaper. Consider buying a space for more than just a traditional advertisement; get creative! Get an especially literary staff member to write a goofy, gushy customers or anything that may surprise or get a laugh out of a bored Sunday reader.
Consider putting together a staff video, or simply a compilation of “Thank You-s” to post on social media or in your marketing emails. A great way to kick off candid responses is giving an open-ended prompt and asking each staff member (who would like to participate) to respond. Questions like “How much do you love our customers,” or “What do you want to say to our customers this Valentine’s Day?” If you’re not comfortable using your phone to create a video, this may be another project where enlisting a freelancer can make a big difference.
Empty Gestures Breed Empty Storefronts
No matter how you choose to celebrate Valentine’s Day for your customers, be certain that those customers can feel the effort you put in. Just about every business throws the marketing basics at Valentine’s Day, so make your business known by going above the basics and into genuinely engaging. This, of course, will cost you more time and often a touch of capital. But then what use is a half-baked Valentine’s Day initiative? Customers are the lifeblood and vitality of small businesses across the country; their choice to do business with you can flip out of favor in an instant and forming an emotional bond is the finest way to keep customers loyal to your brand. So splurge for your customers this Valentine’s Day; open your heart to your customers and they may just open their wallets a bit wider to thank you.