As more and more consumers are turning towards digital means for banking, banks and credit unions need to develop strategies and find creative ways to drive traffic to their branches. Holidays like Valentine’s Day are great opportunities for customer appreciation efforts that will not only benefit your customer satisfaction program but can also help you find ways to drive customers or members to visit your branches.

Brick-and-mortar locations are still a big part of the banking experience, even for the big banks. Even though digital banking experiences are growing in popularity, it’s important to find ways to join your digital and in-person marketing efforts.

We highly recommend taking advantage of any opportunity you have to communicate with your relationships, and Valentine’s Day is a perfect time to show your customers or members that you care about them and to get them to visit your branch.

Ideas for Driving Branch Traffic

There are several ways you can promote Valentine’s Day as a way to visit your branch and to celebrate your relationship with your customers or members. One of the most common scenarios we’ve seen is to give some sort of special Valentine’s treat to anyone that comes into your branches as part of a “We Love Our Customers” event. Here are some of our favorite ideas:

Valentine’s Day Treats – Everyone loves fresh flowers and chocolate, especially on Valentine’s Day. Do a promotion offering anyone who visits your branch on that day either a rose or a box of chocolates. Include a handwritten note from the President or have each banker personalize their own to hand out. Depending on what kind of budget you have for your customer service program, another great idea is to offer a fresh rose or box of chocolates to the first 50 or first 100 customers or members that make it into the branch that day. You could even have cake or other desserts set up in the lobby and extend the opportunity to come hang out with your favorite bankers and enjoy.

Gift Card – Find one of your local restaurants that banks with you and offer anyone who comes into the branch a gift card for them to have lunch on you to show them how much their relationship means to you. Offer a $5 or $10 gift card to the first 50 customers that come in. You may even be able to find a willing restaurant to offer complimentary gift cards or a certain percentage off in exchange for you driving business to their restaurant.

Contest/Giveaway – Purchase a hot ticket item and host a raffle for any customer that comes into the branch on Valentine’s Day. Suggest in honor of “We Love Our Customers Day” they stop by their local branch for a chance to win an iPad or a $100 gift card to a popular local restaurant. You’ll be sure to catch their attention and get a chance for some face time with your valued relationships.

Product Promotion – Not everyone wants to generate deposits through CDs but timing a special/limited time CD rate to a holiday like Valentine’s Day can drive engagement as well as deposits.

How to Get the Word Out

It’s a best practice to extend your customer appreciation efforts to all of your customers and members as it builds loyalty and lasting relationships. So, sending out the word about how you’re planning on treating your customers and members on February 14th should go to everyone you have an email address for.

To get the word out, you can always, of course, post signs around your branch or promote on social media about your Valentine’s Day customer appreciation event. We also highly recommend creating an email campaign instead. If branch traffic is struggling, you’ll reach a wide audience by sending out an email communication, and it’s an easy and cost-efficient way to communicate with your relationships.

Keep it simple – All you need is a one time email to all of your relationships saying:

“We Love Our Customers – Come in on Valentine’s Day and let us show you how much we love you. The first 50 customers to come in and visit will get a complimentary rose, from us to you.”

Add a personal touch by sending it directly from the president or branch manager, or even the banker responsible for helping them set up their accounts.

Any way you choose, you’re sure to boost customer engagement and loyalty and make a fun day that branch employees and customers will enjoy.

Take it one step further – Use this as an opportunity to check in with each relationship that comes into the branch on what their upcoming financial goals are for the next 12 months or so. This will benefit them and you – they’ll get the help and service they need and you’ll be able to create targeted and relevant offers for all your relationships.