Small Business Marketing Tips for Valentine’s Day (& Other Events)
How to promote your small business during Valentine’s Day or any other special event or national holiday
Many restaurants offer special Valentine’s Day menus. Florists often offer promotions to increase sales during the annual lovefest. Even some unlikely businesses — funeral homes, for instance — have been known to run a Valentine’s Day special.
National holidays and annual events, including Valentine’s Day, the Super Bowl, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Boxing Day (in the U.K.,) and everything in-between, are golden opportunities for small businesses to promote themselves. You have to be creative as well as sensitive about how you leverage the event (read on for a few examples of businesses that failed at this.) You should use social media and other channels wisely. And you must be prepared to handle a spike in business.
Here are 9 tips to help your small business promote itself during the next big national event.
- Look for inspiration. Many businesses will compete for attention during major holidays and events. If you want to stand out from the crowd, be original in your marketing or promotion. To get your creative juices flowing, look for examples online, using phrases such as most creative Valentine’s Day marketing campaigns. Examine what other companies have done and why it worked, and then develop something unique to your business.
- Brainstorm. Once you’ve done some research, brainstorm with colleagues or employees. Get everyone into a room with a whiteboard. Toss ideas around. Consider giving a prize to the person who comes up with the best idea.
- Create a calendar of events. Plan ahead for any annual events you want to leverage in your marketing. Build a calendar in Google Calendar or other online tool, so you can share it easily with employees.
- Start small. If you’ve never executed a marketing campaign or promotion tied to an annual event, start with one, such as Valentine’s Day, and then learn from it before you try another. Get feedback from colleagues and employees. What worked well? What could be improved?
- Be sensitive to the emotions tied to the event. Some holidays and events evoke emotions, and woe betide the company that doesn’t take that into account. For example, the Seattle Seahawks used the Martin Luther King holiday in the U.S. to connect the dots between football and civil rights in a Twitter posting. The tweet stirred an angry backlash. The pro football team deleted and apologized for the tweet.
- Make your promotion meaningful and relevant. Your promotion should be relevant to the national holiday or special event that you’re leveraging. If your small business is a funeral home, for instance, do you really want to promote your services as a Valentine’s Day gift?
- Use social media. Facebook and Twitter offer businesses free promotional tools as well as ads that can be highly targeted. Both are particularly well-suited to promoting special events, such as holiday-themed contests, and in general gaining more awareness of your business. For example, you might ask couples to post ideas for a romantic night out on the town on your Facebook page. Award a prize to the couple that receives the most likes for their idea.
- Send paper valentines to your best customers. Let them know how much you appreciate them. You might even offer them a special discount to thank them for their business.
- Be prepared for an increase in business. Creating an effective marketing campaign, advertisement, or promotion is always an achievement. But it’s all for naught if your business isn’t prepared to handle the hoped-for spike you may get on Valentine’s Day or any other special day you’re promoting.
How to Handle the Business Spike
Some things you can do to handle the potential increase in business:
- Make sure your business phone system has a professional-sounding greeting, offers advanced call-handling functions, and provides a phone tree to help callers reach the department or person they want or get the information they need. For example, your phone system’s virtual receptionist might tell callers to press 1 to hear more details about your special Valentine’s Day promotion.
- Your phone system should also be able to scale, with the ability to add new extensions or users quickly and remove them later as needed.
- Your small business phone system should also integrate with other communications channels, such as social media, text messaging and website chat. The idea is to easily monitor and quickly react to communications coming from customers in a variety of channels.
MightyCall’s Virtual Phone System
The MightyCall virtual phone system for small business is easily scalable and offers a wealth of advanced features, including professional greetings; phone trees; find me/follow me; integration of Facebook and Twitter, SMS, and other communications channels; and more.
For more information, check out the following MightyCall blog posts and help articles: