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Links of Love: Heart-Smart Ideas

Tips to get the most out of your promotions around Valentine’s Day

“But will the diamond we give away really be worth $5,000, or is the jeweler inflating the price?” If this rhetorical question sounds familiar, it’s because it’s asked at radio stations around the country every year just before Valentine’s Day.

It’s typically posed by the program director to the general sales manager, who punts it to the account executive, who asks the only sponsor of the contest: the jewelry store owner. The diamond man feigns surprise and the contest goes on.

The correct answer to this quiz is that owner should certify the value of the prize in writing, so you’re then able to supply the contest winner with the correct tax form at the end of the year.

Are you going to go through the same old schtick? Or this year would you like to try something different for the most romantic day of the year on Feb. 14?

Sales hooks

If you’ve got an active Web site, one way to go is by creating a “Links of Love” section.

Your GSM will be enamored of this idea because each page can be sponsored by clients who supply a prize, give you pictures of product and even do audio and video interviews.

Start by creating a listing of all the major florists in your market. Feature only those that purchase the package, which includes an expanded listing, on-air mentions when you give away their prize and a spot schedule. Pick the title sponsor of this section to be interviewed online and perhaps on the air as well.

The next section features lingerie shops, and don’t forget their online counterparts. Use the same model outlined above — and hopefully a few real models who can show off the merchandise, or at least describe it by holding it up and showing it to your video camera.

Restaurants will want to be part of “Links of Love,” as Valentine’s often involves the perfect meal out. Perhaps one of your air personalities can spend a week taste-testing meals out and blogging about the places in this section, while also mentioning them on-air.

Are there enough hotels in your area offering tantalizing Valentine one-nighters for locals? If so, build a section for them.

Other categories to consider for content and subsequent sales include limousine companies, theatre and dinner-theatre venues, beauty salons, gift stores, perfume and make-up counters, dating services, tanning salons, and of course, jewelers.

It’s a date

Here are a few more Valentine’s promotions you can have fun with on-air. Use these now or save them for next year:

Date Lab: Arrange one blind date per day for at least five days in a row. Do this by taking calls on your morning show and by allowing people to enter online. Record calls the morning after a date with each person, getting the details. Pre-record these so that one can’t hear the other’s comments until after they’ve already done their own “date review.” At the end of the run, the couple who seems to have the most potential goes on the ultimate Valentine’s Day date.

iStockphoto/Dmitrii BrighidovMaid for Valentine’s: Nothing says romance better than having someone else clean your house, so you can enjoy a special night out and come home to clean sheets.

Love Songs: Every format has ’em … maybe you should make a big deal about playing them on V-Day, all day and all night.

Instant V-Day Gratification: Prompt your listeners to go totally red on this special day by doing something truly special: donating blood.

Date Night: Take over a local bar and invite singles only. In fact, take over more than one bar and admit only those whose age corresponds to the decade … One place for ages 20–30, another for 30–40, another for 50-plus.

Vasectomies Vanquished for Valentine’s: How about a new twist on the usual, where you have a doctor reverse the treatment for three or four men and then have a race to see who can have the first baby? This one could keep you busy for over nine months.

Valentine’s is all about creating the fantasy of finding the perfect person or having the perfect night out with someone you love.

While everyone knows that trying to do anything “perfectly” is tough, they’re willing to give it a shot, or at least hear or read about others’ attempts to find love. In these times when it’s harder than ever for radio stations to make emotional connections with listeners, don’t be left sitting on the bench while others dance.

The author is president of Lapidus Media. Contact:[email protected].