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Jonas · 16 min read · Tips and resources · January 20, 2021

Quick wins for your Valentine’s Day email marketing

Do you remember the feeling of excitement in grade school when all the kids exchanged Valentine’s cards? Why not keep that spirit alive in your emails!

Valentine’s Day is about love, but it doesn’t have to be the kissy-kissy kind of love. It’s also the perfect time for marketers to express their gratitude to their subscribers with a thoughtful Valentine's email that strengthens their relationship.

Any type of business including nonprofits, e-commerce and B2B companies can benefit from the spirit of this loving holiday.

And of course, Valentine’s Day is also a mega retail event with the average US person spending $196 in 2020. It’s the second-largest shopping event after Black Friday.

How do you seize the opportunities of V-day? Here are our favorite Valentine's Day email marketing ideas, tips and examples to kick start your first-holiday email campaign of 2021!

Did you know men outspend women by more than double during this holiday of love? According to the National Retail Federation, men spend on average $229 while women spend $97. This is the kind of insight you can use to segment your email list and tailor your messaging. 

Write a separate email newsletter for men and women so you can speak directly to their unique needs. Create a sense of urgency and stress the benefits of getting things done NOW. Most people want a hassle-free yet personalized shopping experience, so make it easy for them by offering tailored recommendations and quick delivery options.

You can also try sending emails using groups, such as by age, geography and interests, or segment your subscribers by behavior. Whatever will help you target your audience in the smartest way.

The email campaign below from women's clothing store Swank targets men for Valentine's day instead of women with a last-minute special offer and includes a link to a gift guide for more ideas.

swank valentines day email newsletter envelope

In email marketing, one way to catch your readers’ attention is to tell or promote stories. Everyone loves a good love story! You can also craft a story about friendship, gratitude, loved ones or any other uplifting message that fits your brand.

For example, if you sell jewelry, tell the story behind the symbolism of a particular precious stone that’s used, or of how a piece is created. You can even share the meanings behind Valentine’s traditions or fun facts.

This way, you’ll draw your recipient in and will hopefully get them to react. Check out this guide to crafting email content that people care about.

You can also encourage your customers to share their own love story, wedding photos or date ideas. Share the stories on your social media and choose the winner (most likes, shares, comments, etc.) after Valentine’s. It’s a simple, but effective way for you to connect with your audience and get more attention for your business via social media.

We love this email design by Charity: Water. It expresses their gratitude for their fundraisers in the form of a love poem! Each verse tells the story of their fundraising journey; a touching way to say thank you to their supporters. We’re also big fans of the embedded video at the end of the email, with a special message from the team.

Charity: Water Valentine's Day email idea

Have fun with your emails by making them more interactive with an embedded survey, video or game.

Email marketing is no longer a one-way conversation. Give readers an experience to remember. Try creating a love quiz or a custom HTML newsletter to make something truly special.

In the email example below, Email Monks gives readers a solution to the ever-old question (please read in an Al Green voice): “How can you mend a broken heart?”

Emailmonks interactive Valentine's Day email idea

Let’s be honest. If you’re not in a relationship, Valentine’s Day could be a day you’d much rather skip altogether. Instead of beating people over the head with romantic gestures, another approach is to encourage people to treat themselves in your email marketing campaigns.

For e-commerce businesses, you can include special offers to shining singles as well as couples. Offer gift ideas for friends, family members and for people themselves. These quick stats show that Valentine’s isn’t merely a couples-only occasion:

  • 60% of Valentine’s Day shoppers buy something for family members

  • 25% buy gifts for friends

  • 13% buy gifts for coworkers

  • 15% of women send themselves flowers

  • 20% buy something for their pets

Take this newsletter from Toronto Dog Moms, for example. They open their email with the line “We all know it’s dogs before dudes, right?” Their Valentine’s email campaign targets people who want to treat themselves and/or their pet pooch to the perfect gift on February 14th.

Toronto Dog Moms Valentine's Day email idea

If you read our 2021 email marketing trends, you’d know all about how email is becoming a customer acquisition channel. Valentine’s Day is an ideal time to expand your audience.

Email can attract more people when your subscribers share the newsletter with a new person. Create marketing campaigns that encourage people to “share the love”, and see how many new subscribers you get.

Here are 2 examples that leverage Valentine’s Day nicely. Ritual sent out a personalized email marketing campaign that reflects on the relationship between them and their subscriber.

Ritual's Valentine's Day email idea

While gas doesn't seem like a Valentine's Day gift, Gasbuddy uses the special day to encourage people to sign up for their referral program.

Gasbuddy Valentine's Day referral newsletter idea

E-commerce businesses can combine the power of abandoned cart emails with the heightened engagement of Valentine’s Day to drive more sales.

Set up a special abandoned cart email message leading up to Valentine’s Day to remind your shoppers that time is running out to buy gifts before the big day.

You can also set up automation triggers in your email campaigns to send Valentine’s Day email series to your best customers.

In the newsletter below, Minted reminds customers that they need to order their gifts by 3PM to get them delivered on time, with a special offer of free expedited shipping for people who spend more than $100.

Minted Valentine's Day email idea

For most people, Valentine’s Day is a last-minute purchase. Therefore, it’s not recommended to start too early. 

Retail and e-commerce companies usually send out 3-4 different emails between February 1 and February 14. Like every big commercial holiday, your subscribers will receive a lot of emails during this period.

See what days and times have worked for you with past campaigns, and use the same strategy to schedule your emails. Here's a helpful article about sending times to help guide you.

The Boston Women’s Market reached out as early as January 21st, to find vendors for their Valentine’s Day Market on February 12th. If in doubt, it’s always worth getting in there early, and then sending regular campaigns throughout the Valentine’s Day season to stay top of mind. 

Boston Women's Market Valentine's Day email idea

We all love a good discount. Email coupons are a great way to ramp up your Valentine’s Day sales and motivate customers to spend more (because, ya know, free delivery is amazing)! 

Whether you have a ‘Buy one, get one free’ offer, or an extra gift when people spend a certain amount, Valentine’s Day coupons can build hype around your brand and increase urgency—especially when it’s available for a limited time only. 

We love this email example from John Masters Organics. They offer 25% off with a special discount code, plus a free product when customers spend more than $35. 

John Masters Organics Valentine's Day email idea

There are no magic words that will get people to open your emails this Valentine’s Day. The competition for your eyeballs will be fierce, so follow these subject line best practices to improve your chances.

Subject lines that work usually contain one or several of the following characteristics:

  • They’re personal

  • They’re relevant (targeted)

  • They solve a problem

  • They heighten urgency

  • They evoke curiosity

We’ve dug up our favorite Valentine’s Day subject lines, using examples from our customers and our own inboxes. They’re categorized by audience, so that you can tailor your approach to your subscribers.

Valentine’s Day subject lines for couples

There's Still Time⏳to Book Your Valentine's Day Getaway!

{$name} how about this for your Valentine? ❤️

Need some help this Valentine’s? 5 perfect gifts for her

Did You Forget It’s Valentine’s Day 😬

3 ways to make Valentine's Day MAGICAL this year! ✨

Skip the flowers and chocolate — give a Valentine's gift that lasts!

💝 Valentine’s Day High Tea is Coming! ❤️ Reserve your table...

Orders close soon for Valentine’s Day!

Chocolates for Valentine’s Day? 👀 You can do better…

Hi {$name}, Whiskey and valentines, who'd have thought??

PSST… Are you ready for Valentine’s Day?

One for you, one for your Valentine

Roses are SO last year... Valentine's Sale ❤️

Celebrate LOVE: Your Guide to Valentine’s Day in Times Square

❤*Free* A HOT Surprise For Valentines Day!❤

Not sure how to surprise your Valentine? 💘

Valentine’s Gift suggestions

Tell me about your perfect Valentine’s Day?

Great News {$name}! You have everything you need for Valentine's Day!!?

Our not-so-secret CRUSH and a Valentine’s dinner 💞

Valentine's Day subject lines for singles

All about (Self) Love

Hey, did you know Valentine’s Day isn’t just for couples?

💗 Is...25% off and a free gift

This year be your own Valentine

Treat yourself to these Valentine’s Day favorites

You've received a love letter! 📩

Valentine’s day is a drag

20-50% OFF ? Wild Wednesday Valentines! Spoil yourself!

Self-Love Valentine’s Day Party

Valentine’s Day - Make your own Gift this Year!

{$name}, Some Amazing Reads For VALENTINE'S Day!?

Valentine's Day subject lines for families

Best Valentine's Day Activities for Kids ❤️

⏰ Last Minute Valentine's Day Ideas for the Classroom

DIY Valentines for Kids

Valentine's Day & Family Day SALE! Save 10%

💕💕 Valentine’s Day Math FREEBIE! 💕💕

5 Valentine Ideas for Children

Valentine’s Day Worksheets ❤️

Free Valentine Cards Crafts

Um, did you see this Valentine’s Day hack?

Valentine's Day subject lines that work for everyone

Coffee for Valentine's day? ❤️ ☕

*Freebies* Valentine's Day Printables

❤️ Happy Valentine's Day ... plus a freebie ❤️

Heart it? Cart it!

Hey, valentine! It’s all on sale (but not for long)

Valentine’s Day donation drive ends tomorrow!

❤️ Valentines Day Promo - 10% Off Everything ❤️

Shop in the name of love 💗

{$name} - Valentine's Day Savings

Send Love to a Lonely Orangutan

This is Not a Valentine’s Day Gift

Do You Celebrate Valentine's Day???

😎 21 Free Valentines Designs for Silhouette

Share the love. Gift inside.

Not your Typical Valentine’s Day Letter

A quick note about emojis 👉

You may have noticed that some of these subject lines use emojis, whilst others don’t 🤷 . Before using them in your Valentine’s Day newsletter, ask yourself:

  • Will this emoji resonate with my audience?

  • Does it match my brand?

  • Does it complement the subject line?

When it comes to emojis, it really depends on the image you want to portray. But if in doubt, you can A/B test your subject lines with and without emoticons, to find out which one gets the best open rates. Check out this article to read our complete guide to using emojis in subject lines

We've found that the best way to create winning newsletters is to first see what others are doing. Not to copy their ideas (no one likes a copycat!), but just to get you inspired to make your own. Here are 5 different Valentine's Day newsletters that do a great job of both design and messaging.

#1 MeUndies

Underpants subscription, anyone? We’re big fans of this email marketing campaign by MeUndies, where people can buy a Valentine’s Day gift card for a new pair of undies every month! The color scheme is clean and coherent, and the email copy is fun, and clearly explains what MeUndies is all about. 

MeUndies Valentine's Day email idea

#2 American Apparel

Anyone who is stuck on what to buy for their loved one will have instant inspiration, looking at this email newsletter. It relies more on images rather than words to tell the story—which is just perfect for our short attention spans!

American Apparel newsletter Valentine's Day gift guide idea

#3 Goat Story

This coffee company (named after the myth that goats discovered coffee 🐐 ) has a great Valentine’s Day email, using an eye-catching animated GIF to stand out from the crowd. The copy is minimal and straight to the point—confirming the saying that less is indeed more!

Goat Story Valentine's Day email idea

#4 Tony Robbins

Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to promote coaching and training programs for couples. This newsletter from Tony Robbins opens with a testimonial, adding instant social proof to his marketing message. The copy is personal, listing benefits rather than features, and there’s a special discount as an extra sweetener!

Tony Robbins Valentine's Day email idea

#5 This Savory Vegan

This Valentine’s Day newsletter will appeal to anyone who needs some last-minute meal inspiration. The photos speak for themselves, with mouth-watering vegan recipes on display. I’ll definitely be clicking on that CTA to learn all the culinary secrets!

This Savory Vegan Valentine's Day recipes email idea

Whether you love it or you hate it, Valentine’s Day is a golden opportunity for your email marketing campaign. Say thank you to your customers or create a coupon for the season. It’s a great time to build brand awareness—and sell the perfect Valentine’s Day gift. 

Will you send Valentine's emails? We'd love to see your ideas!

Jonas Fischer

I'm Jonas, Content Manager at MailerLite. I’m not the 4th Jonas Brother, but I do write content (which is similar to being a teen heartthrob). After writing for a bunch of companies over the years, I discovered my professional passion—helping add some humanity to B2B marketing. Email is the perfect place to start!