We’re only a couple months away from the 2nd largest retailing event of the year. Though men are expected to spend the most on Valentine gifts and are stereotypically procrastinators, savvy marketers don’t wait. In fact, Oriental Trading sends its first Valentine’s Day emails the first week after New Year’s. Here are some ways you can leverage the holiday to reach customers.

By the Numbers:

Discovery Card conducted a Valentine’s Day Shopping Survey and found that:

  • Men expected to spend an average of $127 on their ladies, and the ladies $74. Of the women, 53% said they would purchase gadgets for their men.
  • 65% would make their purchase one week before February 14
  • 10% of men would wait until February 14
  • 39% of women planned on spending nothing
  • 22% of men and 15% of women planned to purchase a gift online

Not a florist, jeweler or confectioner? With a little creativity, you can still leverage the holiday hoopla.

  • Help gentlemen craft a romantic message around your products if they aren’t traditional Valentine’s gifts:
    • Home décor: Honey, I am at home when I’m with you
    • Cherry items: Sweetheart, you’re the cherry on my Sundae
    • Slippers: I want to be the one who warms your world
    • Not-so-sexy stuff (practical gifts): I want to make your day a little easier
  • Show off your romantic holiday get-away packages—a little bubbly goes a long way
  • Merchandise anything red, pink or purple in your windows, in your ads and in emails
  • Anything that can be personalized can be a Valentine’s gift
  • Gift certificates are a great way to offer a gift in the “perfect size”

Tips for Advertising Creative

  • Mention shipping cutoff dates or special hours in your ads
  • Can you suggest that your items are “always the perfect fit”
  • Solve their problem in your print headlines and email subject lines (like “Valentine’s Dilemma? 12 Easy Gifts”)
  • If you can, offer extra services like gift wrapping, delivery or later hours for those shopping at the 11th hour

Leveraging Print Advertising

When you advertise in Traverse Magazine, you’re showcasing your products to people who love Up North. You’re going to reach local homeowners, visitors and second homeowners. Overall our subscribers are educated middle-age homeowners who average six-figure incomes. They are a loyal and engaged readership, renewing their subscriptions year after year, consuming the magazine from cover to cover and passing it along to 2, 3 and even 4 or 5 other readers. A third of them report having taken an overnight trip because of something they’ve read in the magazine.

Overall our subscribers are educated middle-age homeowners who average six-figure incomes.

After reading the magazine, 85% of subscribers have visited a store or bought a product or service because they saw it in Traverse Magazine. And here’s a list of things they plan to purchase:

  • 98% Flowers, trees or garden accessories
  • 95% Jewelry/ watches
  • 63% TV, stereo, home theater or DVD player
  • 55% Salon or spa services
  • 50% Car, truck, SUV or RV (which would be an extravagant Valentine’s Day gift, but not unheard of)
  • 50% Furniture
  • 47% Appliances

Over the years, our sales team has developed some tips for businesses considering advertising in Traverse Magazine:

  • Show off a single item that is representative of your store, rather than trying to squeeze in the whole inventory
  • Include your phone, website and the village or town where you’re located
  • Ask your account executive about group pages, billing plans or other options that will help you design an advertising plan that works for you.
  • When developing your budget, consider running a smaller ad several times versus a larger ad once.
  • You don’t have to call an ad agency, let the Traverse Magazine/ MyNorth Media team design your ad for you for a nominal fee
  • Take well-lit, digital photos of your products at the highest possible quality setting and keep the backgrounds simple and clutter free for the best images. Or use the manufacturer’s images, often provided on their websites.

Valentine Email Marketing Tips

  • Even if you don’t have a sophisticated email management system, find some way to communicate by email with your current clients. They are the best audience for repeat business and will also become advocates for you if you arm them with information.
  • Valentine’s Day is a good time to segregate email lists by gender as men and women tend to buy different items. If you can’t segment your list by gender, don’t assume your recipient is male
  • Create urgency and stress the benefits of getting things done now (and remind guys how annoying malls can be!)
  • Include gift finder images or links to your website in your email (if you don’t have a website consider putting a product in the MyNorth Northern Michigan Shopping Guide
  • Slip in some customer reviews for the “don’t take our word for it, take hers” touch
  • Promote gift certificates for last-minute shoppers or hard to shop for partners
  • If your email solution permits, send reminders right up until February 13th to reach those gents who shop on the 14th

Additional online advertising options expand your reach

Research shows that online Valentine’s Day gift shopping is second in volume only to Christmas. And much of the shopping occurs during the workday to take advantage of the company broadband and keep the gift a secret from one’s sweetheart. To reach these folks consider:

  • Banner, box and skyscraper ads on MyNorth.com
  • Text ads in MyNorth e-newsletters
  • MyNorth Northern Michigan Shopping Guide.

On Your Website

As with Christmas, you’ll want to highlight your best offers on the home page, provide clear shipping deadline information on every page, show item stock availability if you can, and cross-sell and upsell if your ecommerce software allows. You might also want to put a Quick Valentine’s Day Gift List together.

Have your website designed by the same team that puts together MyNorth.com.

If you don’t have a website or yours doesn’t allow you enough flexibility to adapt your content seasonally, you can have your website designed by the same team that puts together MyNorth.com. Email us using the Contact Us page and we’ll get your account executive to follow up.

Social Media

If you’ve been blogging on MyNorth.com, put your products and services into context in your blog posts. (If you’d like to know why you should be blogging on MyNorth, our founder/editor-in-chief Deb Wyatt Fellows can tell you in her article.) Here are some blog topics to consider:

  • Romance doesn’t have to be an indoor sport—places in Antrim County to go on Valentine’s Day
  • Six ways to put a little Northern Michigan into your Valentine’s Day plans
  • Our favorite Valentine’s Day gifts for your Charlevoix sweetheart
  • How we can make last minute shopping easy in Petoskey
  • Valentine Gifts for Leelanau Foodies from $10 to $100
  • Celebrate Valentine’s Day Up North, even if you’re somewhere else
  • Sweet Suttons Bay breakfast specials for Valentine’s Day