In the United States, St. Valentine’s Day ranks as the fifth-largest spending event, trailing only behind the Christmas holidays and Mother’s Day.
In 2023, the National Retail Federation revealed that 53% of adults intended to celebrate, collectively spending an impressive $25.9 billion — averaging $192.80 per household.
Wondering how to capitalize on this lucrative date? Your answer lies in strategically targeting your email list.
This article offers 21 stellar email campaign examples to jumpstart your Valentine’s Day marketing efforts.
We’ve categorized these examples into five groups for your convenience:
- Segmenting buyers for Valentine’s Day
- Valentine’s Day shared experience offers
- Emails featuring diverse gift options
- Valentine’s Day emails beyond romance
- Emails to help you build anticipation
1. Segment subscribers interested in St. Valentine’s Day gifts
Not every subscriber on your list will be keen on Valentine’s Day shopping.
So, ideally, you want to identify those who are interested in this holiday and target them with your offers – separately from the rest of your subscribers.
Here’s how to do it in two easy steps.
Step 1. Send one to three teaser emails
At the beginning of your campaign – say, between January 15th and January 30th – send one to three promo emails to gauge your list’s interest around this holiday.
Note that these emails don’t have to be exclusively about your Valentine’s Day offers. For example, Barnes & Noble sends weekly promo emails in January featuring a small but noticeable Valentine’s Day section.
Alternatively, you can dedicate a larger section of your January emails to the upcoming Valentine’s Day sale or gift ideas – like Amara does in the example below.
Finally, send one email dedicated specifically to your Valentine’s Day offers. For example, Bombas cleverly introduced its campaign by promoting socks as desirable gifts.
Noticed the three buttons at the bottom? If a subscriber clicks on any of these buttons, that will enable Bombas to send them additional emails featuring products from the collection that piqued subscriber’s interest.
Here is how 👇
Step 2. Target those who clicked through your teaser emails
Once you’ve sent your interest-gauging emails, your additional promos should only target those who’ve clicked any email link related to Valentine’s Day.
In these emails, you can go more in-depth about your Valentine’s Day offers. For example, you can feature a list of best-selling gifts or send product recommendations based on the links a person clicked.
If you’ve never done it before, setting up a targeted promo campaign is easier than it sounds. Most email marketing apps allow you to do it when choosing campaign recipients. For example, in Getsitecontrol, you can select specific email link clicks as targeting conditions before sending your promo:
💡 If your list is small, you might opt for targeting those who’ve opened any of your Valentine’s Day emails, however, this approach tends to be less effective because opening an email doesn’t always indicate interest. To counteract this problem, make your subject line and preview text clearly about Valentine’s Day so your opens are more relevant.
2. Highlight the romance in your offer
Most non-religious holidays are based on love. For example, Mother’s Day is about expressing our love to our mothers.
St. Valentine’s Day is similar in this regard, but not quite. More than love, February 14th is a date of romance.
We’re not going to discuss the difference between love and romance. What matters is that the intent of Valentine’s Day differs from a non-romantic holiday like Mother’s Day or Halloween or a religious one like Christmas.
Simply put, romance has a more intimate, private, and even sexual connotation than love.
Many couples have long-standing, happy relationships, but many lose the romance along the way. A Valentine’s Day gift is intended to stir those feelings back.
Sending an email with discounts alone won’t cut it.
Make your St. Valentine’s Day email marketing campaigns about the shared love between your customers and their plus-ones (and the benefits they will experience after the purchase).
How can you do that? To start, highlight anything about your products that could be considered romantic. This will be easier for brands that sell intrinsically romantic products like candles.
You should also make your copy and imagery showcase the way both partners will enjoy the product together.
You can also explain how giving a gift and the love behind it will impact the recipients of such gifts. This is especially important for brands that sell “non-romantic” products.
3. Give options, not just discounts
St. Valentine’s Day is universally popular because anyone can enjoy it. For your business, it means that it doesn’t matter if you target 20-year-old women or 50-year-old men; if they have a romantic partner, you can sell to them.
But how you sell to them is what makes the difference. Because, as we said, neither discounts nor generic promotions will cut it.
To make the most out of your Valentine’s Day marketing campaign, you want to give options.
Don’t just offer gifts, but a variety of them that different customers could use.
One way is by packaging your products around specific use cases. Highlight what makes each option unique and how that benefits the recipient of the gifts.
You can also promote your products based on their categories. A fashion brand can sell knitwear, shoes, t-shirts, and so on — but always focused on the romance of the occasion, as explained before.
Finally, you can target specific demographics, like age groups, genders, and so on.
If you sell to multiple demographics and have the data to back it up, segment your campaigns around them so you send emails to them alone. This will make your emails more effective and profitable.
Alternatively, you can apply the tactic mentioned in the previous best practice and tag your initial emails based on your subscribers’ clicks and send personalized campaigns accordingly.
4. Make your campaign beyond romance alone
Unfortunately, not everybody has a romantic partner to celebrate Valentine’s with. But fortunately for you, this fact won’t stop you from selling to these people.
It may sound contradictory, but you can make your St. Valentine’s Day email campaigns beyond romance alone.
Some people may simply want to shop to express their love to a friend or relative. Even if this doesn’t fall within our previous definition of romance, it doesn’t mean you can’t sell to them.
Even if you think most of your audience won’t be interested in Valentine’s Day — let’s say because you sell kids' clothes — you can position your campaign around the love towards their loved ones, much like Mother’s Day.
This is how Little Planet, a kid’s clothing brand, does it in their email campaign:
What’s more, consider targeting people who’re not in a relationship. This falls within our previous point of giving options — in this case, to single or non-romantic people.
It’d be perfect if you could segment your audiences between those you think could be interested in romantic gifts and those who won’t.
For example, suppose you sell a category of “romantic” products and one that’s not. In that case, you can promote the former towards Valentine’s Day and leave the latter aside (or send it to your segmented, non-romantic group).
However, to simplify things, consider promoting your products to different audiences — one for couples, one for friends, and so on.
5. Build momentum in advance
Like most holiday email marketing campaigns, you want to start planning some time in advance. Two to four weeks would be ideal, but if you’re caught in a rush, you can simplify your campaigns, as you’re about to see.
Ideally, you want to send one email daily or every two days a week before Valentine’s Day.
You can even prime your audience by letting them know you’ll be messaging them with promotions during this period, like in the example below.
If you plan on running a special discount campaign on February 14th, email them announcing it. You want them to be prepared for your emails on the day of the event.
If you expect to offer site-wide discounts for this date, tell them when they can expect to see the discounts and how large they will be.
Also, it’s crucial you stress the urgency behind their order. Since shipping and fulfillment can take anywhere from one to seven days or more, your audience should order before it’s too late.
Tell them when they can expect to receive the package, at least if you offer free shipping, and whether they will receive it before the date.
Better yet, use that fact to your advantage by emailing the last day before it’s too late to receive it without paying for express shipping.
Use a countdown timer in every email to magnify the urgency even more.
But no matter what you do, many people may not be able to purchase in time. For those people, it’s better to offer digital gift cards, like a money discount the gift’s recipient can use when they please.
Finally, if you have a loyalty program, send a special email to your VIPs. Whether you allow them to take advantage of your temporary discounts or buy unique products just for Valentine’s Day, you want to reward your best customers accordingly.
How to use these 5 St. Valentine email campaign ideas
Without a doubt, St. Valentine’s Day is an incredible date for ecommerce stores to increase sales and boost revenue.
If you plan your campaign with enough time and consideration, we’re sure you’ll be able to reap the benefits.
To quickly implement everything you learned today, here’s a summary of what we covered:
- Position your email marketing campaign around gifts. Your buyers will purchase for their partners, so position your products accordingly.
- Start building your campaign two to four weeks in advance. If you’re short in time, send at least three emails a few days before and during the day itself.
- Highlight the romance that your products will create with your customers and their partners with your copy and imagery. Make it about the shared moment they will experience after they buy.
- If you sell “unromantic” products or if your audience doesn’t use your products in any romantic way (think kids' clothes), frame the purchase as a way for the buyer to express their love to their loved one.
- Incentivize sales by using time-sensitive discounts for this date. Although it’s unnecessary, notify your list before you send the discounts, so they feel motivated to buy.
- Segment your list based on past behavior or data you’ve acquired. If you lack this data, send one to three emails and tag those who open and/or click your emails. Message this segment exclusively.
- Package your products around specific use cases, categories, or demographics
- If you plan to send unsegmented emails, offer options so romantic and non-romantic buyers can shop.
- Use countdown timers to make the urgency clearer.
- If you have a loyalty program, remember to message your VIPs first and send them unique discounts or products.
Ivan Kreimer is a freelance content writer for hire who creates educational content for SaaS businesses like Leadfeeder and Campaign Monitor. In his pastime, he likes to help people become freelance writers. Besides writing for smart people who read sites like Getsitecontrol, Ivan has also written in sites like Entrepreneur, MarketingProfs, TheNextWeb, and many other influential websites.
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