Selling to singletons in February

What happens in February? "Valentine's Day!" Yes, OK - what else? "Er..."

February 14th is a nightmare for 88% of single people and about 18% of couples (and that's not including the stress of finding the right card or present, for couples who choose to celebrate the occasion).

And while it's a key event in the annual 'buy cycle' for certain categories of retailer, it's also a major risk factor if you blanket your non-loved-up customers with mail shots full of hearts and roses.

So what else can you promote in February? Well, consider pushing Valentine's Day as part of a month-long calendar of events:

Groundhog Day

February 2nd has been and gone this year, but it's worth keeping it in mind as a fun way of recognising the impending end of winter in future years.

Clearly, for an event that happens so early in the month, you'll need to be thinking about Groundhog Day in January, if not even before New Year's Eve.

It's an undeniably American tradition, so be careful with it, but it's also almost universally recognised thanks to the Bill Murray movie of the same name, so don't be afraid to incorporate it into your sequence of special offers for February.

The Superbowl

Another American tradition, so be careful with this one if you're UK-based, but it's one of the few American sporting events that large numbers of Brits have an interest in, so worth considering whether you can tie in your promotional efforts somehow.

Pancake Day

Pancake Day, or Shrove Tuesday, falls on February 12th in 2013, but is a worthy addition to your February events list even when it jumps to a different date in the month.

Shrove Tuesday is a day of indulgence, allowing you to push any luxury items or self-indulgent treats, while Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of a period of abstinence - giving you an equally good excuse to push products and services that help people to live more healthily, lose weight, or give up a bad habit.

This is one event that has historically been used for little more than to sell lemon juice, and I personally believe there are big marketing opportunities to be found with fairly little competition.

Half Term

English schools have a half-term holiday in mid-February; precise dates vary from school to school, but it's a good chance to cash in on pester power, if you're in the right industry.

In particular, it's not wise to totally neglect half term, simply because you're focusing on Valentine's Day - make sure your marketing activities are not missing either opportunity, and your total revenues should rise as a result.

National Wear Red Day

This might sound like a Comic Relief event, but National Wear Red Day, on February 26th in the UK, is a British Heart Foundation initiative to raise awareness of heart disease.

If you're a retailer in the clothing and accessories space, it's a good chance to flog a few red (or reddish) garments to people whose wardrobes lack the necessary items to join in this trend.

Remember as well that these are the kinds of initiatives that get taken up in the workplace quite often, so even fairly formal red clothing is likely to see a subtle boost in sales in early to mid-February.

Leap Years

Every four years, there's a February 29th. And while that in itself might feel like nothing special to those of us who have lived through a few leap years, it's still a chance to sell some stuff.

Consider describing February 29th as a truly 'extra' day, and encourage people to indulge themselves by splashing out on some treats - after all, it will be four more years before they have the chance to do so again.