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Last-Minute Valentine’s Day Marketing Ideas that Drive In-Store Foot Traffic

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and whether you’re a fan of it or not, there’s no denying that it’s a great opportunity to market your business, especially during the winter slump. Some added motivation: People spend a ton on the holiday. The National Retail Federation expected Valentine’s Day spending to reach a whopping $18.9 billion last year.

When brainstorming Valentine’s Day marketing ideas, don’t narrow your focus to just your ecommerce presence. Data shows that people who shop with you both online and in-store are more valuable customers from a sales perspective. According to a 2015 study by IDC, these shoppers have a 30% higher lifetime value than those who shop using only one channel.

Here are a few strategies to drive foot traffic into your brick-and-mortar store around Valentine’s Day.

Timing is Everything: Know When to Target Customers

Valentine’s Day is notorious for being a last-minute holiday. So when you plan your marketing blitz, take that into account. You should do some advance social media and email marketing lead-ups, yes, but be sure to also schedule in some last-minute initiatives. An hour or two right before the evening commute may be the best timing for all those people snatching something up on their way home.

You should also take a good look back at last year’s data around your Valentine’s Day marketing campaigns. Which social posts (promoted or organic) had the best engagement and return on investment (ROI), and when were they posted? Which days did your email marketing campaigns have the highest open and clickthrough rates? Having a sense of this can help inform your timing strategy for messaging this year.

It’s also a good idea to look at your historic sales data from this time last year. If you sell with Square, you can look back to your busiest sales days by week, day, and even hour in your Square Dashboard.

Valentine’s-ize Your Store

If you sell flowers or chocolate, it’s likely you’re already top of mind for the holiday. But it’s still worth doing some sidewalk signage about what you’ll have on tap (discount on roses? special-made chocolates?). You should also make an effort to snazz up your store and windows with some Valentine’s Day decorations — and put your items for the holiday front and center.

But even if you don’t sell traditional Valentine’s Day goods, you can use the holiday as an excuse to market your business. It doesn’t have to be extravagant. Get this: people actually spent $700 million on Valentine’s Day dog gifts in 2014. Not extravagant, just relevant.

Put Together a Valentine’s Day Gift Guide

The easier you make it for people to shop, the better your chances are that they will. Gift guides highlighting a handful of standout items from your store are relatively easy to put together. Pull items from various price points and themes (gifts for girlfriends, boyfriends, even pets). Tout best-sellers and particularly trendy goods. Then spread the word. Include this gift guide in email newsletters, on your blog, and all over your social media channels — especially through Pinterest boards.

READ MORE: How to Use Visual Marketing to Drive Sales

Bundle Items Together in the Store

Packaging a few products together and wrapping them in a beautiful way saves potential buyers time and energy. It’s a great chance to pair a popular item with one from your store that may not be selling as well. Remember, this idea is just as easy to execute online as it is in the store. Dedicate a special section of your website to Valentine’s Day gift packages and include a styled photo on the homepage as a visual hook for customers.

Pick the Low-Hanging Fruit: Gift Cards

Gift cards make for great practical gifts, especially for picky recipients. They’re also good for people who aren’t your significant others — if you’re being extra-nice and giving coworkers a Valentine’s Day treat, for example. If you’re new to the gift card game, check out this guide on how to sell (a lot) more gift cards. One key tip? Display your gift cards prominently on your countertop to encourage those last-minute and impulse buys.

Create a Sense of FOMO

Limited-time offers or last-minute flash sales could be particularly effective for driving in-store traffic. Try posting a Valentine’s Day “password” that’s only good for the day on your social media accounts or through your email marketing. You could also foster a sense of urgency with messaging along the lines of “Roses going quick!” or “Only 15 packages of our salted caramel chocolates left!” Also, check out the app aptly named Fomo to show what other people are buying in realtime (add it to your BigCommerce store here).

Like any major holiday, Valentine’s Day is a great excuse to deploy some marketing that keeps your business top of mind. Plus, it doesn’t require too much planning. Execute on one or two of these ideas this week, before Valentine’s Day sneaks up.

Jen Pollock avatar

Jen is the online content manager at Square. She is an editor and writer with a proven track record in growing brands using targeted content strategies. She has written for Yahoo!, Fast Company, SELF Magazine and more.