We can’t help but have a soft spot in our hearts for February 14th. Every Valentine’s Day, it feels like the world gets a little sweeter and this year is no exception. Consumers plan on spending an estimated $18.2 billion on Valentine’s Day in 2017 with 15% planning to shop at a local business.
Appreciation for the uptick in sales aside, there are plenty of affordable, thoughtful ways that small businesses can show love for their customers, employees, and partners throughout V-Day and beyond. In keeping with the holiday, we’ve outlined 14 of our favorites below.
1. Social media customer spotlight
Did one of your customers email you about a particularly excellent experience they had at your store? How about a festive Instagram photo snapped at one of your shop locations that you’d love to regram? Highlight the great stories customers have about your small business by giving them (credited!) shout outs via your social media platforms.
2. Send handwritten thank you notes
The more personalized, the better, both in the card’s content and actually handwriting it.
3. Host a giveaway for fans
Keep it fairly low maintenance and low cost by hosting the giveaway via a social media platform, like Instagram, and giving away a gift certificate or a swag bag filled with promotional goodies.
4. Create a special one-day discount
Make it an extra-special sale for the holiday and offer 14% or $14 off on purchases to show your customers how much you appreciate their business.
5. Treat your top partner referrers
Gift them with Amazon gift cards as a way of saying thank you for everything.
6. Offer customers a surprise upgrade
This will be contingent on the type of business you run, of course, but if you can surprise customers with an upgrade or an extra treat with their purchase on Valentine’s Day, go for it!
7. Host an office party
Treat your team to a catered lunch with plenty of heart-shaped treats. Additionally, consider throwing a party at the office and inviting customers and partners as well as your own employees for an outing filled with food, drinks, and networking.
8. Get involved with the community
Aside from spreading the love to your customers, partners, and employees, find ways to give back to the community. Volunteer with a local soup kitchen, gather your team together to engage in a Habitat for Humanity outing, or look into helping out at an animal shelter.
9. Share news of your partners’ accomplishments and promotions
Working on a monthly newsletter for your business? Add in a section dedicated to your partners and milestones they have recently achieved or talk up some of their upcoming, or existing, business promotions.
10. Invest in good customer service
One great way to show your business (and its customer base) a little love is to hire devoted team members for your customer service department. This allows the customer the ability to talk to the same person on a regular basis and develop a rapport together. Within this relationship, the team member is able to follow-up and quickly help customers resolve any issues they may have, leaving the customer feeling content with all of their needs met.
11. Get some feedback from everyone
Check in with your partners, customers, and even employees to see how everyone is feeling. What else can your business do right now to create an even better experience for them? Encourage everyone to email their commentary to you or meet up where possible for a one-on-one discussion together.
12. Celebrate your own milestones
Did you hit a recent team goal that the entire company worked on for months on end? Celebrate when you hit goals as a team and the milestones of your company too.
13. Listen to everyone
Whether you’re meeting with a partner, reading a comment on Facebook from a customer, or chatting with an intern in the office, one of the best ways to show you care is to listen completely. Keep your phone tucked away (and turned off) and provide each person you encounter with your undivided attention.
14. Two words: free shipping
The sweetest two words in small business, period.