Valentine Marketing: The Ultimate Email Marketing Guide

Heart-shaped everything is being produced and shipped as we speak (Hint: *Valentine Marketing*).

The past few weeks, graphic designers have been frantically clicking shades of pink and red, trying to discover the 2018 shade of Valentine’s.

Maybe Pantone’s color of the year, the ultraviolet shade is making headlines, even!

It is clear in this hustle and bustle, that digital managers and graphic designers around the world are gearing up for Valentine’s day.

BONUS: Grab our UNIQUE Valentine subject line cheat sheet!

But what is Valentine’s day in numbers?

In 2017, in the US alone, consumers spent just below $20 billion.

Wow, right?

And this only makes us think:

How can we break through the clutter of a $20-billion-dollar industry?

What marketing ideas are there, which remain largely untapped?

Guess what.

We put together the ultimate guide to Valentine’s day for 2018

Remember to check out our free subject line tester tool Refine, which predicts the open rate success of your emails!

The Ultimate Guide to Valentine’s Email Marketing Ideas

We love statistics. It appears we love Valentine’s as well. And Valentine’s day sale.

The global economy loves Valentine’s Day.

We came across this National Retail Federation survey : it appears that Valentine’s spendings marked a slight drop from 2016 to 2017 in the US.

Back in 2017, the projected spending of $18.2 billion saw the following allocation:

  • $4 billion on jewelry
  • $2 billion on flowers

Here are more stats on consumers’ Valentine’s day spendings:

  • Also, cards, clothes, and a romantic evening out are also a part of Valentine’s landscape. Cards make up 49.7% of consumers’ purchase intention, and the evening out is number three on the list of popular Valentine’s day choices.
  • A staggering 94% was looking forward to receiving candy and chocolate, according to a WalletHub survey last year. Indeed, 49.7% of them would get their wish, as candy was also at almost half of consumers’ purchase intentions.
  • What about flowers? They made number four on the list, followed by clothes, and gift cards!
  • Shopping for their partners’ pets was also selected by a marked 20% of consumers asked.

Retailers are making it easier on consumers to shop for their loved ones, by increasingly offering more and more deals and Valentine’s day offers.

  • Did you know that consumers are also turning to experience gifting? That is, anything from concert tickets to special events, to bird-watching or paragliding!
valentine marketing

This is an example of experience gifting; you can take your significant other to choose their pet at this rehoming pets event! (This appeared on Yplan‘s newsletter.)

Our favorite Valentine’s email designs

Steal Polyvore’s style … in style!

polyvore zodiac

Why we love it: Polyvore is a contemporary fashion/beauty/home etailer.

In 2017, they sent out a Valentine’s day newsletter with a twist.

Instead of displaying the latest fashions, with a zodiac sign overview their click-through rates went through the roof.

Essentially, every time users clicked on a zodiac, they were transferred to a different selection of styles.

Steal this: Look for equivalents of zodiac signs and horoscopes that are also fun and games.

For instance, have subscribers click their favorite color from a color palette. Each color will be leading to the respective webpage, filtered by color.

Another idea is to present your subscribers with a selection of celebrity styles.

By clicking on their favorite icons they will be transferred to the celebrity-inspired outfits on your eshop.

Get Asos aces up your sleeves!valentine zodiacs matched to outfit styles

Why we love it: This asos for Valentine copy is everything.

It promotes V-day across four different audiences, all at once: “recent swipe or long-term love, solo party or squad celebration”.

And we can’t help but notice the “Sale” category in red on the top right of the email.

Steal this: Send out your own invitation to your subscribers, whatever their relationship status!

Here’s an example I wrote:

“Whether you’re still together or he called Becky with the good hair,

better make sure you dress with flair.”

Tease that photoshoot just like Marc Jacobs did!

Marc Jacobs photoshoot

Why we love it:

You don’t need to be paying attention to understand what this is about.

Even if your subscribers read this email not particularly focused, simply browsing through their inbox instead, you can rest assured an image like so would do all the talking.

Steal this:

Before you send that campaign, ask your creative team to add hearts flowing out of the jeans’ pockets or floating over that shoulder bag.

Give it the best copy you can. If you are stuck, send me an email at I’ll be happy to jot down a thing or two for you!

Speaking of copy, language and content are very important.

Here are the main pillars to build your messages on

Get the message right.

Be inclusive

Your copy must read equally well by almost everyone.

Ideally, something that would resonate with most of your subscribers, regardless of their relationship status, sexual orientation, and so on.

Do check with your company’s diversity manager and your employees about how they feel about the different versions of your copy and content.

This is how your brand communication can play a vital role in brand loyalty and social inclusion matters.

The aforementioned copy in the Asos newsletter does a sweet job at it!

Crack the toughest cookies out there

Not everyone is fond of Valentine’s day celebrations. Everybody knows that.

Before you send your email campaign, craft a message that gets the “Valentine’s stinks” subscribers out there!

Do it like greeting card companies: always with a large variety of writing styles, ranging from funny, to romantic, to cynical, to minimal, to you-name-it.

Here are a few of the Valentine cards that prove our point. Draw inspiration from the masters of creativity!

cheers to being single


BONUS tip: Besides setting up a designated area on your website for your Valentine’s day ideas, you could also set up another for anti-Valentine’s. At least, I would. See how that goes and act accordingly next year, too!

Your 2018 Valentine’s email marketing ideas

6 Valentine’s tips you can use today


Color is semantically charged. We get it.

But there’s so many things you can do with colors, and layers, and patterns – it’s a shame not to make the most out of it.

Here’s an example:

Valentine’s Subject line: “Love: Joe’s or Jaws?”

hug me shark


Valentine’s Subject line: “Who’d win a His and Hers contest? Us.”

his and hers posters

What a better way to drive sales than to offer matching items for couples?

Update your Valentine’s page with items for couples!


Valentine’s Subject line: Stick your tongue out at Valentine’s!

lipstick in tongue

Yep, anti-Valentiners out there will appreciate this!

By the way, have you heard of Single Awareness day (SAD)?

Well, the acronym doesn’t quite cut it for all those powerful and absolutely awesome people out there, celebrating their single-hood!

Break the mould of Valentine’s day and give your customers the opportunity to self-indulgence and self-love.

What’s it going to be?


a) This is an offline marketing tip. It won’t cost you an arm and a leg to switch to red or other wrapping paper.

dare card

Feeling adventurous? Look for a wrapping paper hack!

Here’s one of our favorite DIY tool hacks: wripwrapwrop. It is a free online tool; use it to craft your own wrapping paper.

Choose the pattern or text, customize the font and message, download and print it.

It just adds that personal touch to every gift, and requires no prior planning.

It’s the best of both worlds: creative and last-minute.

I mean, why not share it with your subscribers?

i love in repeat

I would. Even if I owned a butcher’s shop. A butcher’s shop doing email marketing. A fancy butcher’s shop.

(Like my favorite butcher’s in Amsterdam, which printed this packaging last Christmas:

prettige feestagen bag

Ok, back to our February matters.)

Also, on Pinterest, you will find free, downloadable, printable wrapping paper choices like this one:

valentines gifts

b) Give a complimentary Valentine card at checkout.

Whether online or offline shopping, your online shoppers can choose between Grumpy Valentine or Lovestruck Valentine. Everyone takes their pick!

will you be my valentine card


touching hands

Here’s some trivia: you can send a Valentine ecard even if the recipient is not in a relationship!

Craft the ideal message for your subscribers’ relationship statuses!


hands in card

There is a galore of artists out there who are taking DIY to a new level.

Using everyday items that you don’t even have to go shopping for, DIYs are a great way to wish your significant other “Happy Valentine’s”.

Especially if you haven’t found any decent gift to buy. Don’t ask how I know.

So, yes, pretty cool to have a Valentine’s DIY in every newsletter.

Provided that your branding allows for it, of course.

(You wouldn’t expect that DIY in a Mercedes Benz newsletter, now would you? Uhm, come to think of it, I would.

I mean, it makes sense for busy people to lack the time to browse shops and buy wrapping paper and gift toppers, right? And a little something is better than nothing, no?)

gummy bear valentines

And online shopping does not usually get that personalized, either way.

So, you can get crafty to get out of buying a random gift for the sake of buying one… until you intentionally buy a gift that looks just like a random gift, because, hey, who really gets that successful with gift shopping, anyway?

47 Valentine’s subject lines are here

  • Guessing game: who’s getting a free sample?
  • Candlelit dinners are 1998.
  • Valentine candy is good. (But this is better.)
  • Cupid would be so proud of you.
  • Oh, you shouldn’t have!
  • Will you accept this rose?

Looking for the rest? Click here to get them!

4 Ideas to use Pinterest photos in emails


Valentine’s Subject line: “You’re the Paul to my Vincent.”

van Gogh paint

I once attended this Vincent Van Gogh exhibition in London and the guide explained how the painter’s take on Gauguin’s chair (left) is indicative of Van Gogh’s admiration for him. Especially when one considers that Van Gogh was rather frugal painting his own chair (right), although they were roommates.

To me, this is a very beautiful example of love. And I would even share it with my subscribers, along with the background information, of course.


Valentine’s Subject line: You’re the ketchup to my fries.

potatoes with ketchup

I couldn’t resist posting this.

And I have this hunch that quite a few people out there will agree that FRIES ARE EVERYTHING.

Honestly, I think this idea is… worth its salt.


Valentine’s Subject line: “I would let you climb onto that plank, tho’.”

titanic romance

Playing the nostalgia marketing card is my favorite thing to do. Second, to having fries, that is.

What’s your subscribers’ hit love story? If you can guess, go ahead and use it.

If not, why not ping them to find out? Engage and gain!


candy heart gif

Mac cosmetics sent out his gif in their Valentine’s newsletter.

I guess this is what they call eye candy.

7 extra tips

1. Add name personalization to your Valentine’s subject lines

You want to own this Valentine’s email marketing campaign.

Adding name personalization has the subscribers use that tiny little voice in their heads to read your email.

You want that.

Example: “This one’s for you, Jane!  ”

2. Choose the right emoji

We’re giving you a few more subject line ideas, sprinkled with love-ly emojis!

  • Lovestruck? Here’s what to gift your crush!
  • A box of chocolates would never get you this far. Shop today!
  • On Valentine’s, don’t get your   with the wrong  . Here’s our gift guide.
  • → Buy the wrong gift and this could be your Valentine. Or shop our  guide.
  • On V-day, buy a  . Or anything from THIS list.

3. Set up a Valentine email sequence

Last year, Liberty London sent out this email sequence:

The first email of the series featured both “His” and “Hers” gifts, along with separate product categories.

liberty newsletter

It was then followed by the “Hers” special, along with the top picks:

liberty newsletter 2

… and then, the “Gifts for Him” special.

liberty newsletter 3

Set up your own email sequence on Moosend: Sign up for a free account here and get unlimited campaigns for up to 1.000 unique subscribers forever!

4. Include a Valentimer: a countdown timer in your Valentine email sequence

It’s as easy as drag-and-drop. Increase engagement and sales across your audiences with an awesome countdown to:

countdown to valentine

5. Spruce up your unsubscribe links

Instead of “If you no longer wish to receive our emails, click here to unsubscribe“, go for:

  • “Wanna break up? Click here to unsubscribe.”
  • “Do you need a break? Click here to unsubscribe.”
  • “You need some space?! Click here to unsubscribe.”

You can follow their unsubscribe up with a landing page reading a Taylor Swift lyric:

“We’re never ever ever getting back together?”

6. Throw a Valentine event

Throw a Valentine event

Hold an offline event a few days before Valentine’s.

Send a newsletter and integrate this event in your social media schedule for the month of February.

On Valentine’s eve, send a second newsletter with Valentine day event sneak peeks, and a special offer.

Kick back and watch it bear fruit.

7. Get your brand a hashtag for Valentine’s day

Are you going for a major Valentine’s day event or dashes of Valentin-ism throughout your branding and communication?

Whichever it is, we suggest you go for a unique hashtag. Here’s a few:

  • #LoveYouMoreThanValentine
  • #ValentineMatters
  • #WhereIsValentine
  • #ValentiNOT

This way, your newsletters and social media posts will stand out in your customers’ perception.

And a (fail) case study on Valentine’s

Straight outta my very own vault of professional experiences (it being a euphemism), here’s what happened when I first started working at an agency, back in the day. I’ll send you an email when you click.

Let’s recap

1- In the US alone, just below $20 billion is about to be spent on Valentine’s. Claim a piece of that pie for your business.

2- According to 2017 US stats, Valentine gifts are all about candy and chocolate, cards, gift cards, flowers, gifts for pets, experience gifting!

3- Increase your Valentine newsletter CTR: have them pick out their favorite color of 3!

4- For your Valentine’s newsletter, target all relationship statuses with the minimum copy possible. Here’s how!

5- Art-attack your latest product photoshoot with hearts, arrows and little Cupid!

6- Two more Valen-tips: Write your messages considering diversity matters. Address your anti-Valentine fans in your database!

7- This Valentine’s newsletters don’t have to be pink or crimson; choose iridescent.

8- Sell more on Valentine’s: Pair items from your product categories for a His & Hers special.

9- Don’t make your Valentine email campaigns all about couples; Hooray for singles!

10- Update your packaging for Valentine’s! SMEs, you can look for free downloadable printables online!

11- Offer complimentary Valentine and Anti-Valentine cards at checkout (offline or online).

10 to go!

12- Would you send a Valentine ecard to your subscribers on February 14!

13- Send a nice and quick Valentine’s day DIY in your next newsletter! Get crafty!

14- Use Pinterest photos in your email campaign: be it art, be it nostalgic marketing, be it a gif!

15- Add name personalization to your Valentine’s subject lines to increase engagement!

16- Spruce up your  Valentine’s subject lines with emojis!

17- Set up a Valentine email sequence to roll out in the days leading to V-day!

18- Throw in a drag-and-drop countdown timer to V-day to increase engagement and drive sales on your eshop!

19- Spice up your email unsubscribe links. Go for “Wanna break up? Click here to unsubscribe.”

20-  Throw an offline Valentine event.

21- Get your brand a unique hashtag for Valentine’s day!

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