12 Last-Minute Valentine’s Day Promotion Ideas to Try

No one can blame you for getting behind on Valentine’s Day promotions. Most people are still clearing away Christmas decorations and comparing New Year’s resolutions when February rolls around. The next thing you know, everyone is scrambling for ways to impress a sweetheart.

In a 2018 Offers.com survey, 32 percent of consumers said they wait until the week of Valentine’s Day to shop, and 9 percent put it off until the big day. With some quick planning, you can take advantage of this last-minute buying spree to attract procrastinators. Check out these simple Valentine’s Day promotion ideas to reel in extra holiday business.

1. Create a Valentine’s gift guide

One perk of running a small business is that you often know what products your loyal customers love most. Make it easy for shoppers to navigate the gift craze by publishing a guide.

Try grouping your recommendations into popular categories targeted to different customer segments. Below are some examples to get you started.

  • Gifts for him and her
  • Gifts for foodies or dessert lovers
  • Gifts for teens and budget shoppers
  • Gifts for DIYers
  • Gifts for gamers
  • Gifts for a date night at home

2. Offer a freebie with a minimum purchase

Give customers a reason to choose your store over a competitor. Offering a promotional freebie is a great way to attract people who are already planning to shop. You can hand out free candy, stuffed animals, or mini bouquets, so last-minute shoppers have one less thing to worry about.

3. Display couples’ photos in your store

Everyone loves a little time in the spotlight. Build an emotional connection with your community by asking couples or friends to submit photos for a store display. Picture a store filled with real “conversation hearts.” You can attach each photo on a heart cutout and ask couples to write a few words, such as:

  • Relationship status (ex. engaged, just married, newlywed)
  • Years of marriage (ex. “Going strong for a decade,” “happily married five years”)
  • Sweet or funny sayings (ex. “Soulmate… for the weekend”)

To get more submissions, accept photos through your social media pages. You can easily adapt this Valentine’s Day promotion idea for other customer scenarios and provide template phrases. “Perfect Pooch” or “Wicked Cool Cat” are great for pets and owners. A home improvement store could use fun themed sayings, such as “Mad 4 My Handyman.”

4. Raffle off a Valentine’s Day dinner

Run a local business? Why not attract shoppers with a chance to win a dinner for two at a local upscale eatery? If you have a week or more to plan, hold a raffle to get more foot traffic and social media engagement.

Be sure to set clear terms for what the meal includes, such as a maximum price value or entrees and desserts. You can give away raffle ticket based on the size of a purchase to offer customers more incentive to stop by.

5. Design a themed infographic

Not every business has an obvious tie to love and romance, but that doesn’t mean you can’t join in the fun. Try your hand at designing an offbeat infographic with tips or facts that get your customers talking.

Let’s say you have a language tutoring, copywriting, or printing business. A lighthearted infographic about the “language of love” could share stats and historical facts on common phrases. In many cases, you can simply tweak your word choices to create a clever connection between your business and Valentine’s Day.

6. Shoot a homemade video

Grab your smartphone and shoot a quick video of yourself performing a fun DIY project for Valentine’s Day. A lot of people are working with small budgets or just enjoy the challenge of making something special from scratch.

Customers love brands that are down-to-earth and helpful, so share advice they can put to good use. For example:

  • Create a Romantic Table Setting in 5 Easy Steps
  • Build the Ultimate Gift Basket for Under $10/$20
  • 3 Tips for a Perfect Shave on Date Night
  • How to Print Awesome Valentine’s Day Cards That Look Store-Bought

Whatever your expertise, get a friend to film you giving short tips and post your video on social media.

7. Set up a card-making station

If you run a brick-and-mortar business, you can increase sales just by keeping people in your store longer. Set up a card-making station where kids can decorate with stickers, markers, glitter glue, and other low-maintenance crafts. Use that time to talk to parents or offer assistance with their shopping needs.

As an added bonus, you can arrange popular Valentine’s Day items and impulse buys around your card station. That way, adults have more reason to browse and grab last-minute items while their children are entertained.

8. Have a sweetheart sale

Who doesn’t appreciate an opportunity to save a few bucks? Offer a buy-one, get-one-free or percentage discount on key product categories. Pay attention to products your customers frequently buy at the beginning of the year, and promote them throughout February.

You can structure your sale however you like and frame it for the holiday. “Savings are sweet! Buy one [product], and get the second one 50 percent off for your sweetheart.”

9. Partner with a nonprofit

Show your love for helping the community by raising money for a charity. Social responsibility is a reminder that kind, caring people are the building blocks of your business. Not to mention, you boost brand awareness while making customers feel good about their contributions.

Choose a charity that aligns with your industry and brand message. Donating money to education programs or sending gifts to service people are smart options for a family-oriented business.

10. Hold a best/worst story contest

While some people eagerly await Valentine’s Day all year, others can’t wait until it’s over. Appeal to either or both factions with a social media contest celebrating the best and worst stories. Let your followers vote, so they have a reason to stay interested. Engaging with customers online keeps your social media content trending, drawing more people to your business.

Ask customers to share heartwarming stories about how they met or the most romantic thing their partners have ever done for them. You can also encourage people to contribute family stories about other relatives, such as grandparents. Stories about enduring love put people in a positive mood and make them feel connected to your brand.

If you’re going with the worst stories, share tales of awful dates or Valentine’s Day gifts. In both cases, make sure you publish clear guidelines and regularly review submissions to avoid inappropriate content.

11. Include Valentine’s Day checklists with receipts

Whenever you make a sale, add a small checklist card with customer purchases. Sample checklist items could include:

  • Make a dinner reservation
  • Get a haircut/trim your beard
  • Plan your Valentine’s Day outfit
  • Buy gift cards
  • Pick out a floral bouquet
  • Get a box of your sweetheart’s favorite candy
  • Find a babysitter and clear your schedule

General suggestions are great, but you should also look for opportunities to brand your checklist. Customers are likely to remember items that stand out, such as “Satisfy your sweet tooth with a backup stash of chocolates.” If you can find natural ways to market your products, don’t hesitate to do so.

12. Celebrate the singles

Singles deserve a little love too, whether or not they’re celebrating Valentine’s Day. Offer general discounts to loyal shoppers and customers who haven’t made purchases in a while. Send email coupons to customers with clever copy.

  • Loyalty: We love seeing your face. Bring us a Valentine’s Day card to save 30 percent on in-store purchases.
  • Retention: Looking for the perfect power tool or home appliance to complete your collection? Shop now to save 20 percent and find your true love from our selection of swoon-worthy homegoods.

Depending on your customer base, you can go anti-holiday or encourage people to pamper themselves. Either approach earns you more sales.

Valentine’s Day promotion ideas aren’t just about spreading the love. Whenever possible, use your promotions to grow your email list and stay in contact with customers. Even if time is limited, choose ideas that include a call to action and a way to collect customer information.

Support your Valentine’s Day promotion ideas with customized marketing products for your business.

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