Try This: A Valentine’s Day Promotion for Content Marketers

image of paper valentines

So you’re a happy internet marketer, writing awesome relationship-building content to promote your business.

Today I want to suggest a quick, simple promotion you can put together in the next couple of days and fire off next week. The business purpose? To strengthen one of the most important aspects of your business.

Every business needs a steady stream of new prospects, and there’s a lot of information out there to tell you how to attract and nurture those new prospects.

But most businesses — large and small — tend to chase new customers at the expense of their existing customers.

February, as the month of Valentine’s Day and all manner of lovey-dovey messaging, is a fine month to rekindle a spark with the customers you already have, and let them know how very much you appreciate them.

Here’s how.

The primary goal: Express your appreciation

One of the most enjoyable and effective ways to improve a relationship (business, romantic, or otherwise) is to speak up and let the other party know you’re glad they’re there.

Send out a message that lets your existing customers know that you appreciate their business. That you’re honored to be able to serve them. That you wouldn’t have a business if it weren’t for them. And that you appreciate their trust.

Put it into your own voice. You might want to tell a story. Or go on a bit of a rant about why you do what you do. Make it personal, and make it your own. It doesn’t need to be long or complex, but it should be from the heart.

Your customer relationship campaign might begin and end here. Draft your message of appreciation this week, put a little polish on it, and schedule it in your email software (you do have an email marketing program in place, right?) for February 14.

You can decide for yourself if you want to include a call to action. If you do, make sure it comes in the form of a gift rather than as a request. Which brings us to:

Optional add-on: Make something nice

Let’s face it, valentines you make yourself are just nicer than those creepy SpongeBob ones you can get at the grocery store.

Put a free offering together for your customers. Maybe it’s a “Best Of” PDF report, a webinar, a Google Hangout, a Twitter chat. Maybe it’s open “office hours” where they can dial into a conference call number and ask questions for a few hours. If you have a physical storefront, maybe you’d like to throw a little party.

Wrap up your offering as a gift. Generosity, affection, and creativity are your watchwords. One year I sent my list a really good chocolate cream pie recipe.

Yes, you can offer a discount if you want to

We don’t normally recommend doing a lot of discounting in your business — it does bring customers in, but it’s hell on your profit margins, which can threaten your ability to do an amazing job tomorrow and the next day.

It also can put you into the “bargain” category, when where you really want to be is the “valuable” category.

But done occasionally, especially for existing customers only, a discount can make for a nice “thank you.”

Think about how many companies (cable companies are particularly bad about this) offer amazing promotional discounts to brand-new customers, while loyal existing customers get ignored. Does that make sense? No. It’s treating the waitress better than you treat your date. Which is the kind of behavior that will make your date wander off to be someone else’s “new customer.”

Bundles are a good option to discounts — instead of cutting the price, throw a valuable bonus into the cart. Just remember — for this promotion, it’s existing customers only. And approach this with the mentality of a valentine, not a used car blowout sale. Don’t forget that your primary goal is to express your appreciation.

Don’t overthink it

I’m not saying an “Ides of March” promotion wouldn’t be good, but try to take advantage of the upcoming holiday and pull this together quickly. An imperfect gesture is better than an impeccable plan that never gets implemented.

Don’t overcomplicate.

Now go do this…

  1. Schedule time early this week to write a heartfelt message that lets your wonderful customers know just what they mean to you.
  2. Take stock of what you can offer of value to your customers as a thank-you. This is not the time to build a massive new piece of software or a new membership community. Think “a dozen roses,” not the Taj Mahal.
  3. Get any landing pages or other delivery mechanisms you need into place by Friday, so you can spend the first few days of next week proofing your message and making sure the tone is just the way you want it.

How about you?

What are your favorite ways to show some love to your existing customers? Do you ever run special promotions just for them? Or offer them unexpected free stuff as a gesture of appreciation?

Drop us a comment and let us know the best “We love our customers” message that you’ve seen — whether it’s from your own business or someone else’s.

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Reader Comments (49)

  1. says

    Had much fun reading your article! What do you think about all those cute gamification tricks – is it a nice way to reward your customers? Do you have personal experience with this?

    • says

      If you have software in place to do it, go for it. My gamification experience is mainly on the user side, but I do think it pulls people in and gives them a lot of enjoyment.

      • says

        And talking about customer fun experience in general – do you think that businesses should introduce something not-so-serious to outbalance the “serious” topics and entertain the customer a little bit? If yes, is there a level for fun stuff that shouldn’t be exceeded? Especially if it is a B2B company

  2. says

    Personally i will arrange a singles night out and promote my products to all my single customers. This wil be an opportunity for new people to meet each other. How does that sound Sonia?

  3. says

    It can never hurt to let your older customers know you still love and appreciate them. It’s like being in a relationship for 10 years—you can start to take each other for granted and that leads to resentment. You don’t have to go crazy to show your loyal customers a little love. Even small gestures can mean a lot.

  4. says

    What a great idea, Sonia. I typically thank my clients by discounting their monthly bill on occasion. However, what you have suggested sounds like a much better plan. I’ll have to put some serious thought into this and see what I can do for Valentine’s Day. I do believe that thanking your clients by offering them something special is always a fabulous idea!

    Thanks so much. Make it a marvelous Monday!

    Deb 

    • says

      Thanks, Deb! A formalized ritual once or twice a year (Thanksgiving is another nice time to do it) can go a long way to showing your customers that you care about them — and of course that translates into repeat & referral business that do a lot to make your business healthy.

  5. says

    This is a great idea. Really got me to thinking. I’m trying to incorporate more videos in my marketing so maybe I’ll do a thank you video (appreciation). Thanks.

  6. says

    I’m a SendOutCards rep, so I send out personalized greeting card campaigns to my clients a few times each year. Major holidays are great, but it’s easy to come up with a reason to connect any time—you can find all kinds of zany “holidays” online, and it’s a nice surprise for people to get a card at unexpected times. I try to make my cards fun by adding a funny poem, a great quote, a QR code link to a video, or using photos in a creative way. If you can put a photo of your client in a card, it always makes a big impression. I like to attach gifts such as a box of brownies or cookies, too, but generally, I will do that on an individual basis throughout the year, as opposed to a single campaign to all of my clients.

  7. says

    Hi Sonia,

    Thanks for this inspiring post!

    I agree with Amy, I’d like to incorporate more videos into my marketing, but I’m not happy with the quality of my videos, from a technical side. I want crisp and clean and clear videos. Sometimes, the web cam doesn’t cut it. Any recommendations on video equipment or software?

    I have a couple of freebies on my website, but I’ll create one just for subscribers and clients. I also like the idea of sending eCards. I’ve received a couple of those.

    Have a great day! :)

    • says

      That’s brand new, styled by our wonderful designer Rafal Tomal. I love it too. :) I know as a reader, anything that can help me focus on “OK, now what” is helpful to me.

      • says

        It’s amazing, Sonia! I only have half a brain some mornings it seems, so those action points are brilliant! Thanks to you & Rafal!

  8. says

    Just wanted to chime in – I wrote about how grateful for awesome readers, people who have shared my site, awesome comments, etc. on my site a few weeks ago (not tied to any promotion or anything cuz I don’t really sell anything). And I was OVERWHELMED by the response. Over 100 comments gushing about me! When my whole idea was to thank THEM. Those comments are so incredibly awesome whenever I’m having a bad day (and who doesn’t?) I go and re-read them. They totally fill my bucket.

    So expressing gratitude to readers, clients, prospects, etc. can come back to you in wonderfully unexpected ways :)

  9. says

    One method that has worked well in my business is to make a Facebook update telling the followers there how much they are appreciated. At the very least, one or two of them usually comment telling my boss how much they appreciate him, which is always good to read.

  10. says

    I work for an advertising company in Las Vegas (freelance writing) and I actually just came up with this very idea of a Valentine contest for a company, pitched it to my boss, who pitched it to the company and BLAMMO! They are doing it with gusto! I’m excited to know that this would have been Copyblogger’s advice, had I not already thought of it ;0) Lets me know I’m on the right track.

  11. says

    If you aren’t doing something to take advantage of the Holidays you’re making a big mistake.

    Successful entrepreneurs know that sales always spike around the times when people feel good.
    Every holiday it’s a different decoration but basically the same story.

    Thanks for sharing these useful tips.

    • says

      One really nice thing about content as a customer “thank you” is you can usually scale it without additional cost. So a Q&A session for 500 people costs the same as a Q&A for 5 people. Plus it’s personal and if you put care & love into it, you can make something really good. :)

  12. says

    LOVE it…more generosity from the heart. We can never give or get too much love or appreciation. It’s so important to cherish what you have and show it. Thinking Sonia…and yes, I like the new callout too!

  13. says

    Interesting, I never thought of using this occasion in such a way. I am not 100% sure what my clients thoughts would be?

    • says

      You don’t have to go overboard with the mushy stuff. :) Just let them know you’re grateful for their business, that you appreciate their trust in you, and then maybe offer something like a free Q&A if that fits into your model.

  14. says

    Thank you for the wonderful tips. I am very new to blogging and as of yet, not started any business on my site. But what I am going to apply to my blog from this article is the first tip. I am going to move to word press from blogger very soon. I have some followers on my current site through Google Friend Connect and I cannot transfer them over to the new place. so I have decided to individually contact them via email to let them know about my move and how grateful I am for their support for this long. I would also mention to subscribe to my future posts through face book, twitter and RSS feed. I think contacting them individually will make them feel valued and I can still continue getting their support even at the new place. Thank you for saying my thoughts loud :)

    • says

      I like your idea. I am also new to blogging and don’t really have a business yet and am in the process of transferring to WordPress. So I will piggy back your plan to send a personal message to all my current subscribers to appreciate them and ask them to move over with me. I think I will also send out a personal message to all my followers on FB and Twitter. Maybe I will include a valentine’s template for them to download, print and frame for their home.

  15. says

    As a Blogger I will put together a message to my readers on my blogs, Facebook and Twitter as well. I will ask them what I can do to help them this week. I will include some flowers and a Thank you card in the post to send out. Then I will set up a Valentines Giveaway that starts a couple days before so the winner will have the gift in times for Valentines. Plus I will offer one lucky reader a months free advertising on my blog as I know it is hard to be seen.

  16. says

    I love this idea! I just have to sit down and think out what I can offer my readers as a gift. A giveaway comes to mind, but then I am only giving something to one reader. I will definitely think hard on this one.


  17. says

    Thanks for sharing this information – I think that I am going to host a Reader Appreciation giveaway soon on my personal blog site. I’d also like to get to know my readers better, so the entries will involve some of their favorite things. For example, if they are a movie buff – I’ll have them leave a comment on my top movie list blog post. etc. etc.

  18. Janee' says

    I love this idea. Time flies when we are have fun in life. I need to stop smell the roses and appreciate all the people God has placed in my life. So my Goals form reading this are to make hearts for my girls to tell them how amazing they are. One for my husband to for putting up with me. For all my customers, a phone call or a card in the mail for V-Day. My Prayer to God Bless me with the time/organization to get it all done. May you all be Blessed today!

  19. Chacoy says

    I struggle with what to offer as I’m not a business owner-but thinking I know there are new businesses out there who would also like to get some new customers, maybe I could ask them to team up together in an effort to thank existing readers and new ones.
    Thank you for the advice and call to action!

    • says

      Even just an expression of heartfelt appreciation for your audience will go a long way. That’s why I timed the article the way I did — you can use this week to come up with a few ideas, decide on a simple one, and get it done. :)

  20. says

    I have the “advantage” of having both blogs and online shops and am thinking about offering a discount (like 14% off on Valentine’s Day) for my current customers, readers and subscribers.

  21. says

    I don’t yet have products to sell but I will absolutely send much “love” to my readers. And this is definitely going to be a task that I keep for my future offerings.

  22. says

    I have a review and giveaway mom blog. I try to post enticing questions to get participation and it hasnt worked well. I have thanked them for following, told a little story, etc. with little interaction.

  23. says

    I believe in the loyalty of previous customers – i will be adding a thank you blog post to them, and to prospective customers. Sometimes just a simple message – no ad, no buy me buy me, means a lot to customers.

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