February is probably the most efficient month of the year.
After the post-holiday marketing doldrums that are January, the year’s shortest month offers three separate holidays you can promote. Because, yes, the Super Bowl is officially a holiday (almost). And with 114 million people watching that game, a $13 billion market for Valentine’s Day, and a day off (hopefully) for Presidents’ Day, you’ve got some serious chances to get your business’ name out there.
But you’re not the only small business owner that realizes that February offers great marketing opportunities. Everyone will be offering Super Bowl drink specials, Valentine’s Day dinners, and Presidents’ Day sales. So what can you do to set yourself apart? Here are a few marketing tips for each holiday in February to keep your business ahead of its competitors.
Though the Super Bowl does attract 114 million viewers in the Unites States, that still leaves 200 million people not watching the game. If you run a spa or beauty salon business , run a promotion for “Super Bowl Widows” and give a discount on game day. For a bar or restaurant, create a “football free zone” and show something else fun on your screens like classic movies to entice people who want to do something social, sans the football.
This is how you tie into the Super Bowl when your business has absolutely nothing to do with watching football. In the weeks leading up to the game, give your best customers branded items to use at their Super Bowl parties, like Ernie’s Lawn Service plastic cups or AAA Auto Care napkins.
Nobody says your corporate blog has to be all about your industry. And statistically, the pieces that get the highest engagement on major websites are often about entertainment and sports. So feel free to riff on why you think Tom Brady is an absolute fraud, or why the Packers got robbed last year. People love a strong sports opinion, and it’s a good way to get people talking about your business without being too controversial.
By now you’ve probably heard of this Animal Planet alternative programming that’s essentially a bunch of puppies playing in a room for 16 hours. And people love it. If your business offers a promotion around the Puppy Bowl – be it lawn fixes for puppies that ruined your lawn or a watch party at a bar with creative drink specials – it’ll at the very least get people to stop and see what it is.
Think outside of the box to promote your small business on Super Bowl Sunday. In 2013, Gardiners Furniture in Baltimore offered a full refund to anyone who bought furniture in the few days before the big game if the Ravens scored a two-point conversion. And, well, they did. Gardiners had an insurance policy taken out just in case, and ramped up a ton of sales leading up to the game. Three years later, we’re still talking about it.
Patriotic holidays all seem to involve grilling of meat and outdoor fun – except poor Presidents’ Day. That’s probably because it falls during a cold-weather month, but that’s what makes your Presidents’ Day barbecue so unique! Set up a grill outside your business and, even on a cold day, it’ll get people to stop by since they haven’t had an outdoor-grilled burger since October.
Even though George Washington didn’t actually cut down a cherry tree, people still seem to believe the story. So if you’re a restaurant or bar, offer a free slice of cherry pie on Presidents’ Day AND Washington’s actual birthday on the 25th. If you’re any other kind of business, offer it anyway. Nobody minds a delicious dessert while they’re waiting for an oil change, right?
This holiday is often associated with crazy sales at department stores, and an almost Black Friday-like chaos around it. Not everybody is into that. For any kind of service business like a spa, salon or gym, promote your business as a retreat from the madness. If you’re a bar or restaurant, maybe offer a free drink or appetizer with a shopping receipt.
Since it is, after all, a joint birthday party for two of your greatest presidents, honor them like you would any 7-year-old with cake, balloons, maybe a pony ride, and definitely a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday. Promote it hard via social media as “George and Abe’s Big Birthday Bash” and get some excitement built among your customer base.
Much like the aforementioned Super Bowl, not everyone is into Valentine’s Day. And there’s a solid chance your customer base is among those people. There’s also a chance they love it. Before you go whole hog into a “Thank Gosh I’m Single” party or a romantic couples’ package, use your social media to gauge your customers’ attitudes, and plan your promotions from there.
It might seem like a lot of guys start planning for Valentine’s Day on February 13. But some actually do crazy stuff like plan ahead for Valentine’s Day, and might be scoping dinner spots already. Well, your small business can prepare for Valentine’s Day as well. Send out an email for a free dessert or round of drinks on Valentine’s Day to your email list a few weeks prior. That small loss leader will get you booked up early, and may even lead to bigger checks.
Is Valentine’s Day supposed to be a holiday where mom and dad can have a romantic dinner away from the kids? Yes. Does that always happen? Of course not. And with a finite amount of babysitters out there, a lot of couples are going to have a full-family Valentine’s. If you promote your restaurant as THE place to go with your little ones, you win two ways: addressing the need for an important niche, and keeping those kids out of restaurants where childless couples might not be so thrilled to see them.
Get creative and give away small Valentine’s Day gifts to show how much your appreciation for your customers. Even if you’re not necessarily a Valentine’s Day destination, you can offer lazy V-Day shoppers a great excuse to come in and get their radiator flushed: Offer up a free box of See’s Candies with the service! Does it make your customer the most thoughtful guy in the world by saying “I got these free from our auto mechanic?” No. But that’s not your problem and it’ll definitely build brand loyalty.
Some guys are great at buying presents. Of course, some guys are also great at picking wallpaper colors, but that doesn’t mean the majority of them don’t need some serious help. If you’ve got a retail business, promote a personal shopping service, where your sales force will help people pick out the right gift for your customers’ significant other. Even if it’s not something the store usually does, this time of year it’ll be extra helpful.
If you didn’t fall in love with any of these ideas, here are a few other ideas for Valentine’s Day promotions for your small business. Most importantly, start thinking about what your small business can do to generate more revenue during these February holidays and events. Develop your plan now and start putting it into action so that your business is ready to reap the rewards when February rolls around.