Valentine’s Day may be all about love, but for hardworking solopreneurs, it’s a holiday like any other—which means, you guessed it, a not-to-be-missed opportunity for email marketing.
With a little help from our favorite cherub plus the tips below, you’ll definitely have a reason to celebrate this February! Learn how to create a Valentine’s Day email that drives businesses your way, starting with the campaign strategy and ending with step-by-step instructions in Shutterstock Create.
Step 1: Map Out Your Valentine’s Day Email Campaign
Although much cheaper and easier to send out, emails are similar to traditional direct mail marketing (e.g. physical postcards you’d send through the post office). Just like direct mail, a holiday email is an investment of time and money, and you need to start with a solid plan in order to see results.
Keep these five core concepts in mind to plan your Valentine’s Day email strategy.
Every marketing campaign should begin at the end. In other words, what is the ultimate goal? Sure, your main purpose is probably to drive business . . . but what kind specifically?
Are you looking to . . .
- Get immediate product sales?
- Raise brand awareness?
- Bring joy to customers and establish good rapport?
- Grow your email list?
- Get more recurring subscribers or members?
- Re-engage a list of customers who have gone cold?
- Retain satisfied customers?
- Share free content (such as an announcement, blog post, or resource)?
All of these are valid reasons to send a marketing email for Valentine’s Day, but they’ll change how you approach the copy and design.
Next up, ask yourself, “Who am I sending this email to?” An email that’s going to your most loyal fans can make a different offer than an email being sent to cold leads who barely remember your name.
If possible, sort your target audience into different buckets—current customers, new customers, previous customers, warm leads, cold leads, etc. Then send multiple versions of your Valentine’s Day email to each list. (Don’t worry, Create makes it easy to duplicate and customize any design.)
Tying into the previous point is the offer you’re making to customers. Why should they open your email? Why will they be glad they did?
Common offers might be:
- Buy one, get one (BOGO)
- X% off
- $X off a minimum purchase
- Free Valentine’s Day surprise with any purchase
- Free gift wrapping
- Exclusive holiday-themed products
By choosing the right offer for each audience, you’ll get a better return from your email send.
To be able to calculate the benefits of your Valentine’s Day email campaign, consider which key performance indicators (KPIs) you plan to monitor.
The right KPIs will depend on the purpose of your email (see point #1 above), but may include:
- Email click-through rate
- Number of products sold
- Number of new customers gained
- Number of repeat sales made
- Number of email shares or social media follows
- Number of customer referrals
Grab more tips on creating engaging email campaigns here.
5. Creative Assets
Last but not least is the brainstorming phase. Think about what you’ll need in terms of creative assets and start generating some ideas for each.
- A punchy, engaging, or surprising subject line
- Some bold headlines with a few sentences of explanatory text
- Beautiful imagery to represent your products or services
- Your brand assets (like a logo), sometimes with a seasonal twist
- A clear call-to-action, usually styled as a link or button
For inspiration, do some googling around, search your inbox for previous Valentine’s Day emails from other businesses, and explore Create’s Valentine’s Day email templates.
Step 2: Design Your Valentine’s Day Email
Now that the planning is done, it’s time to walk you through the design process. Even with no experience, it’s easy.
1. Get Started
Depending on how much creative input you want to provide, there are two ways to start your Valentine’s Day email project:
- Pick a template: Browse our Valentine’s Day templates and choose one that fits the overall vibe you want, keeping in mind that everything is customizable. Click Edit to open any template in the editor.
- Start with a blank canvas: From the top of the Create homepage, start with a blank canvas set to any dimensions you prefer (1200 x 2400 px is a great size for emails!).
For this walk-through, we’ll be using this Valentine’s Day email template.
2. Find the Perfect Photo
If you love the photo in your template, feel free to use it as is! But, we also have millions and millions of professional images available in the Shutterstock library, so why not take a look and see what else fits your brand, offer, and audience?
In this example, we wanted to replace the floral bouquet with a photo of a person, which we found by searching the Stock Photos tab for “Valentine’s Day candy.”
3. Choose Colors
With a new photo in place, your template’s original colors may or may not be a great fit. If they aren’t, no worries! Use Create’s color palette generator to pull colors directly from the photo and apply them to other elements in the design.
- Select any element for which you’d like to change the color.
- Click Change color from the top menu.
- From the Color sub-menu at the left, click the Eyedropper tool.
- Hover over the photo with the Eyedropper and click to capture the color of any specific pixel.
- Play around with it until you find the perfect hues!
The color picker tool is great for building out a whole brand palette, too.
4. Customize the Content & Look
With colors picked, you’re ready to customize all of the elements of your Valentine’s Day email template. Click into any textbox to type new text, apply a new font or size, or change text colors.
You’ve got so many creative options beyond text, too. You can insert new shapes, add free graphics, use photo filters, change colors in photos, paint in some glitter. . . . There’s truly no limit to the ideas you can try.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by choice, here’s a go-to tool that’s sure to get you a pro-looking result: Background Remover. Just select your image and then click Remove bkgnd from the top menu. Then replace the background with a cool color, interesting pattern, or some hand-drawn details!
In the example above, we removed the background and replaced it with a cool rose gold glitter texture.
Here’s some more inspo for removing backgrounds:
Click Download from the top menu and choose your file type. Note that if you’ve used any stock photos that require licensing, you’ll receive an alert here.
For most email platforms, you’ll want to download a PNG or JPEG because PDFs cannot be sent in an email body and attachments aren’t allowed. Choose JPEG if you want a smaller file size that loads quickly.
6. Optional: Resize Your Email Design
As a busy solopreneur, you jump at the chance to save money and time, right? Then we’d recommend repurposing your Valentine’s Day email into other forms of content, too! Post it on social, put it on your website, or print it on a coupon.
To do this in the quickest manner possible, click Smart Resize from the left menu. Then select any number of layouts for different social media platforms or set a custom size. Click Resize and—voilà!—Create will magically adjust your email design to fit.