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[Art Marketing Calendar] Valentine’s Day Email Marketing Guide for Artists

Everything you need to run your Valentine’s Day email marketing campaign, including: how many emails to send, when to send the emails, and what to write for subject lines and body copy.

Your Valentine’s Day email marketing campaign doesn’t have to be a difficult or confusing experience.

Just follow the steps in this guide, and you will be running a professional art marketing campaign based on our current data for best results.

In 2016, a consumer survey conducted by the National Retail Federation found that total spending for Valentine’s Day was expected to reach $19.7 billion dollars, which was a billion dollars more than Valentine’s dollars spent in 2015.

Clearly, people have their wallets out, and they’re ready to spend.

Last year, the average spending for Valentine’s Day was around $146 per gift per person, but keep in mind, this is just an average. Your audience might spend much more, especially for an art gift.

As an art seller you have a big advantage.

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Here are the top 5 most purchased items for Valentine’s Day:

  • Greetings cards – 65%
  • Date night – 44%
  • Candy – 38%
  • Flowers – 32%
  • Gift card – 19%

You might look at that list and think, “Well, I don’t sell any of those things; art’s going to be a harder sell as a Valentine’s Day gift.”

I beg to differ. Because many of these gifts will be forgotten two weeks later – art is the gift that keeps on giving, FOREVER, so you have a big advantage!

Just to reiterate the story I told on the recent webinar about Valentine’s Day email campaigns, the best, and most memorable gift I ever received on Valentine’s Day was a gift of art. My boyfriend at the time bought me a piece of pottery I’d been admiring in one of our favorite local galleries.

This was many years ago. I’ve gotten many V-Day gifts since, some good, and some not so good, but that piece of pottery is just about the only Valentine’s Day gift I actually remember, and it’s sitting on the dresser in my bedroom all these many years later. In fact, I’m looking at it right now, and I’m still in love with that piece of art!

The 4-Part Email Campaign

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Email #1: Announce Your Deal is Coming

This is where you announce your offer for the first time.

Let them know/remind them V-Day is coming up so they don’t miss the date. It’s also a good idea to share a gift guide or gift suggestions in this email. You could also offer an e-gift card.

Or you could promote “wish list” ideas in the pre-Valentine’s Day email, so your subscribers can point their significant other to the right gift.

Then share your offer + an element of scarcity/urgency.

General Subject Line Tips

Use the Deal + Scarcity/Urgency framework where possible.

Example → Valentine’s Day sale on select art: 25% off until 2/14

In your subject line, make it clear this is a special Valentine’s Day promotion.

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Experian Marketing Services did a study that found the highest performing V-Day subject lines featured gift and card ideas, personalized greetings, a heart symbol, or the word “sweet.”

You can also use words like “perfect,” “ideal,” “gift,” and other similar words in your subject line to indicate this is a holiday promotion.

Create a sense of urgency to boost open rates, using words like “expires in [time element],” “ends soon,” “only [time element] left,” etc.

If it’s possible in your email program, use a heart symbol to make the subject line stand out among other inbox clutter.

A case study conducted by ESP (email service provider) AWeber Communications found that a clear subject line gets 541% more clicks than a clever one.

ESP MailChimp says:

“When it comes to email marketing, the best subject lines tell what’s inside, and the worst subject lines sell what’s inside.”


Some Subject Line Examples

NOTE: Keep in mind, shorter subject lines tend to work better, but this depends on your audience and how engaged they are, so you may have to edit/shorten some of these:

  • [Heart symbol] 02/14 is Coming! [Heart symbol] 20% off on select art gifts for a limited time!
  • Memorable Valentine’s Day Gifts, 20% off for [time element]
  • Art makes an unforgettable Valentine’s Day gift. 20% for a limited time.
  • Art makes the best Valentine’s Day gift. 20% off through [date here]
  • The Valentine’s gift he/she really wants . . . Free shipping until [time element]
  • Sweet savings on Valentine’s Day art gifts for [time element]
  • Love is… an original art gift [+ add a timeliness/scarcity element]
  • The best way to say “I love you” on Valentine’s Day is with a gift of art [+ add a timeliness/scarcity element]
  • A Valentine’s Day gift for the art lover in your life [+ add a timeliness/scarcity element]
  • 20% off all art gifts for Valentine’s Day [+ add a timeliness/scarcity element]
  • Fall in love with art at 20% off [+ add a timeliness/scarcity element]
  • Need the perfect Valentine’s Day gift? Announcing our 48-hour flash sale. Details inside.

Scarcity/Urgency Phrases:

  • Time Sensitive
  • Ends tomorrow at noon EST
  • Last chance
  • Last day
  • Final hours
  • Expiring soon
  • This awesome deal expires tonight
  • This deal ends today
  • 2 hours left
  • Discount ends today/in 24 hours/Friday at 5:00/etc.
  • This goes away today
  • Do you want this? This deal expires at 5:00 pm today
  • Get it before it’s gone
  • 24 hours left for 20% off
  • Open up to get this deal before it’s gone

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General Body Copy Tips

Give Valentine Day gift ideas in the email.

This is one of the BEST ways to add value for your subscribers, many of whom don’t have a clue what to give, which is why they fall back on the standard flowers and candy.

But art is much more memorable and special, so highlight this in your email.

You could offer a Valentine’s Day Gift Guide as the first email, and put together ideas for gifts that are love and romance themed.

Be sure to promise timely delivery.

Add a P.S.  after the sign-off in your email that reiterates your offer and the expiration date – some people ONLY read the P.S., because they’ve been trained from reading so many marketing emails that the important bits will always be repeated there.

Body Copy Examples

The body copy could be some variation of:

Anybody can give flowers and chocolates. But you’re not anybody. So this year, give the gift he/she will never forget – a one-of-a-kind piece of art [or insert kind of art you create here]

Need some ideas? Check out the gift guide I made especially for you at my website here: [link to web page with special Valentine’s Day gift ideas/gift guide] [OMIT THIS PARAGRAPH IF NOT OFFERING A SUGGESTED GIFT LIST OR GIFT GUIDE. OBVIOUSLY. ☺ ]

Add your offer + time/scarcity/urgency element.

Your sign-off here.

Add a P.S.  that reiterates your offer and the expiration date.


Tired of giving the same old boring Valentine’s Day gifts?Art makes a much more memorable gift than flowers and candy. And unlike flowers and chocolates, a piece of art will still be around to be appreciated and enjoyed for years to come.

Need some ideas? Check out the gift guide I made especially for you at my website here: [link to web page with special Valentine’s Day gift ideas/gift guide]

Add your offer + time/scarcity/urgency element.

Your sign-off here.

Add a P.S.  that reiterates your offer and the expiration date.


Special offer just for you! We all know how stressful Valentine’s Day shopping can be. You want to give a memorable gift to your beloved, but you don’t have a clue what it should be.

Well, now through [insert time element], you can get her/him the gift she/he will always remember – a piece of original art [or a print, or whatever your offer is].

Because flowers die. Chocolate gets eaten. But art lasts forever.

Need some ideas? Check out the gift guide I made especially for you at my website here: [link to web page with special Valentine’s Day gift ideas]

Add your offer + time/scarcity/urgency element.

Your sign-off here.

Add a P.S.  that reiterates your offer and the expiration date.

Email #2: Announce Deal

This is the email you send to remind people you have an offer going for Valentine’s Day and to take action.

There are potentially lots of folks who never saw your first email, or saw it and didn’t bother to read it. We’ve all been trained by marketing emails that we will get at least 2-3 emails about the very same offer, so many of us ignore the first email about a deal by default.

Subject Lines

Choose one from those above that you didn’t use the first time around.

Body Copy

Same deal as before – use one of the messages from the examples above, but vary it up.

Your first email will help you get a feel for the interest in your offer. If you make a lot of sales from your first email, you can roll out a similar message for email #2. If purchases are low from email #1, you might want change up the messaging in email #2.

But keep in mind, your Valentine’s Day sale will be competing with hundreds of other deals and sales your subscribers will be receiving at the same time they receive yours, so your first email might not even get opened or read, which is why it’s so important to send more than one little ol’ email if you really want to make sales.

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Email #3: Resend Offer to Un-opens

This email is pretty straightforward. You’re going to resend email #2 to anyone who hasn’t opened it yet. A good amount of time to wait before resending to un-opens is 2 days, but you can adjust it to fit your specific needs.

You’ll resend the same email with the same subject line, adding:

ICYMI: [same subject line]

Email #4: Reminder Email That the Deal is Expiring

This is the final email you send to remind people your offer is ending ASAP.

Possible Subject Lines

  • Last day for free shipping on select Valentine’s Day gifts
  • Last day for 20% off on select Valentine’s Day gifts
  • This deal goes away at 11:59 pm tonight!
  • V-Day Sale! Use code LOVE20 at checkout for 20% off. Ends TONIGHT at midnight.
  • You still have one more chance to be the hero this Valentine’s Day! But only through midnight EST.
  • Or choose one of the scarcity/urgency phrases from above.

Body Copy

The body copy in the final email can be short and to the point. This is the third email, so they’ve likely at least glanced at one of the two previous emails, or at the very least noticed them in their inbox even if they didn’t read them.  

At this point, time is of the essence, they need a gift and they need it fast, so you can get right to the point in your email.

Body Copy Example

This might be the entire email:

Ends Today! [or any of the other scarcity/urgency phrases from above]Special Valentine’s Day Sale: [+ what you’re offering here]

Call-to-action [Examples: “Shop the sale,” “Click to buy,” “Buy now,” etc.]

Ends 02/12 at midnight [or whatever scarcity/urgency element you’re using]

Your sign-off.

Your final email could be longer than that, but basically you simply need to reiterate your deal, when it expires, and how to get it.

*And make sure the web page your call to action takes visitors to on your website is crystal clear about what your special offer is, when it expires and how to get it. The path to buy needs to super clear and easy to navigate, easy enough for a monkey to figure out.*

Timing and Schedule Considerations

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As we look at creating an email marketing timeline, it all revolves around one date:

The last possible day your art can arrive in time for Valentine’s Day.

We spoke to our print partners to find out what the average fulfillment date is.

It’s 7 days.

That makes our target for the deal’s expiration February 7th.

That means you’re probably going to be launching this promotion a little bit earlier than you expected! Here’s what we recommend:

Email #1: The Warm-Up

When: The Week of January 23rd
What: Ramp up interest in your Valentine’s Day offer with this teaser email.

This is a great opportunity to plant the seeds for the eventual sale. Sell your audience on the unique and powerful nature of art as gifts, and warm them up for your upcoming offer.

Don’t tell them what it is quite yet, just make sure everyone is eagerly watching their inboxes and checking out your site, pre-selecting which piece they’re interested in.

Email #2: The Offer

When: The Week of January 30th
What: Time to run your offer. Restate some of the earlier information on art as a special kind of gift, but make sure there is a strong focus on your offer.

Offer, coupon code (if relevant), and urgency, urgency, urgency.

Make sure it is very clear when the deal will be cut off, and the reason it will be ending at that point (to guarantee shipping in time for the big day).

Email #3: The Resend

When: Two days after Email #2
What: A couple of days later, resend that same exact email to those who did not open it with a new subject line.

It only takes a couple of seconds of your time, and gets more eyes on your promotion, so it’s a no-brainer.

Email #4: The 24-Hour Warning

When: February 6
What: This is it. Their last chance to take advantage of your great offer.

Ramp up the language, paint a picture of the guy checking the boxes on roses and chocolate for another year, versus the guy who blows their significant other away with an unexpected piece of art.

Then, hit them with the full details of the offer again. Don’t forget to include the new urgency in your subject line — Just 24 hours left!

Conclusion and Other Tasks

That’s your timeline! Now, get the work done.

Set up these emails, make them personable and to-the-point, and schedule them ahead of time if possible to free you up for other tasks during the upcoming weeks.

The other cherries on top that we recommend you use in cooperation with your Valentine’s Day email marketing campaign?

Run an Announcement Bar at the top of your site to ensure everyone hitting your site is aware you are running a promotion.

Run a Facebook Ads campaign if you have the chops to do so. Just copy over the most important elements of your email into the Ad — a quick sentence about art as gifts, your offer, your code, and your expiration. Don’t forget a CTA! ie: Shop Now: [link]

We wish you luck and a ton of art sales over the holiday. In a future email, we’ll be rounding up the success stories from artists that implement this advice, so feel free to reach out with the details of how you capitalized on Valentine’s Day art sales.


Kimberly Houston is an AWAI (American Writers & Artists, Inc.) trained copywriter who specializes in helping creative pros rise above the online fray with personality-driven web copy and web marketing.

For more on her services, check out her website.

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