Every 14 February, lovers across the world (and Card Factory) celebrate the holiday of a 3rd-century Christian martyr.
The legend goes that Saint Valentine defied the Roman emperor’s orders and secretly married couples to spare the husbands from war. He was eventually caught and executed on 14 February, which has been celebrated as a lover’s festival since the 14th century.
(Incidentally, did you know Saint Valentine is also the patron saint of beekeepers?)
As we head into the most romantic day of the year, it’s time to dust off those classic 45s, tune into Steve Wright on a Sunday morning, and celebrate the occasion with some of the world’s greatest love songs.
What you probably don’t know is that these timeless classics also contain hidden messages which can elevate your marketing efforts.
I know. Handy, huh?
Read on to find out exactly what you can learn.
‘I Just Called To Say I Love You’
His best-selling single by some distance, this Stevie Wonder classic topped the charts in 19 countries and spent six weeks at number one in the UK.
Nearly 40 years on and Stevie’s message is clear. When was the last time you proactively, and unprompted, told a client that you appreciated their custom?
Your clients are the lifeblood of your firm, so drop them an email, or send them a card once in a while telling them that you really appreciate them. It costs little – just make sure you mean it from the bottom of your heart.
‘A Million Love Songs’
While he’s a man who has admitted to not always being in control of his finances (ahem), Gary Barlow knows how to knock out a pop tune.
One of his band Take That’s earliest hits, ‘A Million Love Songs’, sees the balladeer spewing out tens of thousands of romantic ditties in the hope of wooing his beloved – “a million words just trying to make the love story of the year”.
What Gary needed to learn was not how to do the same as everyone else, but how to adapt his style and make himself stand out from the competition.
Finding a niche – whether that’s working with people approaching retirement, business owners, or four Northern clowns (in Barlow’s case) – is one of the key ways you can differentiate yourself from your rivals.
Do that today, and this could be the greatest day of your life.
(In the interests of full disclosure, it’s worth remembering here that one of Barlow’s greatest love songs, ‘Babe’, was kept off the top of the Christmas charts by Mr Blobby, so take any and all advice with a pinch of salt.)
Finding any client in a crowded market is tough, but speaking to the ideal demographic for you – whether that’s age, wealth level, or life stage – is even tougher.
So, when that perfect potential client ends up on your website, you want to react as Lionel Richie did on this 1984 megahit.
“Hello, is it me you’re looking for? You’re all I’ve ever wanted, my arms are open wide”.
Your digital presence – your website, Google My Business listing, and social media presence – need to show these perfect clients that you work with people like them, and that you’re the ideal planner to help.
When you see a client pass outside your (virtual) door, make sure it’s you they’re looking for.
‘True’ (and ‘Communication’)
40 years ago, Spandau Ballet’s transformation from strange New Romantics to blue-eyed soul boys was complete. And, when he wrote two of the biggest hits from their album True, Gary Kemp had great marketing in mind.
Keeping in touch with clients and prospects can be tricky and time-consuming. You want to keep in front of your clients, and those you want to work with, by supplying interesting, relevant, and engaging content. It might be blogs on your website or a monthly newsletter.
Great content keeps your brand at the front of a reader’s mind, positions you as a go-to expert, and shows that you empathise with your readers’ problems.
As Spandau found out, though, writing great content is difficult. “Why do I find it hard to write the next line?” pined Tony Hadley, when “I want the truth to be said”.
Even if you do write great content, the secret is distribution. A blog on your website is no good without promotion – getting it in front of the right people on social media or by email.
If “communication let you down”, as Hadley later sang, work with an expert who is indestructible and that you can always believe in.
‘The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face’
As the old saying goes, you only get one chance to make a first impression – whether online when someone visits your website, or in person.
Roberta Flack immediately knew that the first time she saw your face, the sun rose in your eyes.
Do you make the same impression with your clients?
Firstly, is your website packed full of social proof that show potential clients the benefits of working with you? Can prospects watch videos of people speaking passionately about how you helped them achieve their goals?
And, is your office clean and welcoming, with a pot of tea and a pastry for clients who turn up to meet you for the first time?
When clients meet you initially – either in person or virtually – you want it to be the start of a relationship that, as Roberta sang, lasts “til the end of time”.
Remember that scene in Pretty Woman where Julia Roberts is hounded out of a top fashion boutique because the assistants think she is trash – only to return later to rub their noses in their mistake?
Sometimes you have to take a punt on a client you believe in.
At the start of ‘Your Song’, Elton “don’t have much money”, with only the gift of “his song” to offer.
It might be the same with a client you meet at the start of their career, but in who you see potential.
Imagine if you’d taken on Elton as a client when he was plain old Reg singing in little London venues? If you’d been on a percentage fee, chances are your investment in the client would have been pretty lucrative later on.
So, don’t discount potential great clients just because they are a sculptor, or a man who makes potions in a travelling show. You never know what their gift to you might end up being.
‘Your Love Keeps Lifting Me (Higher and Higher)’
One of the very weirdest things about the uneven Ghostbusters sequel was the sight of the Statue of Liberty dancing down a Manhattan street to a cover of this Jackie Wilson classic.
Celebrating the uplifting effects of love, this all-time great also explains the power of working with a trusted partner – particularly if you don’t have the time or expertise to do your marketing yourself.
The second verse of Jackie’s song echoes something many clients tell us after an unsuccessful attempt at marketing – something that isn’t always in their wide skillset.
“Now once I was downhearted, disappointment was my closest friend.”
(Often because their marketing wasn’t working).
“But then you came and he soon departed, and you know he never showed his face again.”
(As they have trusted our skill and expertise).
In many ways, this verse also represents the way your clients feel about you when they soothe their financial concerns and help them to meet their goals. They will echo Jackie’s words: “I’m so glad, I finally found you”.
And that’s how you’ll feel when you work with us.
Find out how we can help you lift your marketing higher and higher this Valentine’s Day. Say ‘hello’ by email to email@example.com or call 0115 8965 300.