Valentine’s Day was made for live experiences. But if you think some heart decorations, dim lights, and a romantic playlist is all it takes to attract a large crowd — think again.

Couples — and even single people looking for a night out — expect more from their special Valentine’s Day experiences. If you aren’t working hard to woo them, you can expect every other venue and event creator will.

Turn your event into the hottest night in town by following these steps.

Step #1: Create a Valentine’s event worth attending

The first and most important step to success is to put together an event that’s different from every other one in your area. Add a fun spin to the usual Valentine’s Day offerings (no one wants another overpriced dinner or tired themed bar night). Use these ideas to mix things up your Valentine’s experience.

For foodies: Unexpected food and drink pairings

Foodies are all about making special memories on Valentine’s Day. Help them give their beloved the best outing ever with a unique food and drink event. Consider unusual pairings for the menu (like beer and chocolate), or a workshop like a craft cocktail or chocolate making session.

Tip: Want to get even more immersive? Help couples get out of their routine with a half-day event, such as a guided farm tour where you collect ingredients, followed by a true farm-to-table lunch.

For cinephiles: Romantic movie screenings

Take dinner and a movie up a notch. Set the mood for some cozy cuddling by choosing a romantic classic to show. Turn down the lights and hand out gourmet popcorn tubs for sharing. Stand out with a unique venue (like a cathedral after dark) or a unique spin (like a live orchestra accompanying the show).

Tip: Don’t forget to test your audio/visual equipment before playing your movie for a large crowd. Technical difficulties could spoil the mood for everyone in the room.

For the DIY crowd: Craft workshops

Lovebirds like to give the object of their affection a gift on Valentine’s Day, and it will mean so much more if they’ve made it themselves. Host a craft session (like a make-your-own terrarium night) in advance of the big day to help people select gifts. Or, host a couple’s night on Valentine’s, like a couple’s essential oil making workshop.

Some more ideas for inspiration:

  • Valentine’s Day card making workshop
  • Paint and wine night
  • Chocolate making class

For the proudly single: Singles’ events

No one wants to be alone on the most romantic day of the year, so it’s a particularly popular time for singles’ events. From speed dating to board games, there are lots of fun ways to get singles together and mingling. Simply take any of the ideas above and add a Valentine’s spin with a playlist that starts with “Single Ladies.”

Tip: Want to stand out from all the romantic-focused events on Valentine’s Day? Tune into the anti-Valentine’s Day movement and celebrate people who make the decision to stay single.

Step #2: Promote your Valentine’s Day event

You can have the most amazing event ever, but if people can’t find it online, you won’t be able to grow attendance. Here are a few quick tips for successfully promoting your Valentine’s Day event — and making it easier for people to buy tickets.

Local SEO: Rank higher in local search results

You’re probably familiar with general search engine optimisation (SEO), which focuses on getting a website to rank in search results. But since your event is local, you need to focus especially on local  SEO, which emphasises an immediate suburb, city, or region.

Here are some tips to get the most from your on-page SEO.

  • Do your research on keywords related to Valentine’s Day
  • Include your top two or three keywords in your Title Tag, H1, H2, and URL
  • Don’t forget to include your location information on your site so you show up in results for searches like “Valentine’s Day events in Melbourne”

Facebook events and advertising: Leverage the leading social network

Each month, 41% of Facebook users engage with events, making it a powerful channel for event discovery. To help people find your Valentine’s Day celebration on Facebook, be sure to create an official Facebook Event. Doing so increases your organic reach on the platform.

Want to take your promotion even further on Facebook? Here are a few tips:

  • Cross-promote with your partners, like the spa across the street offering free couples massages
  • Create Facebook event ads that target people “In a Relationship”
  • Make it easy to buy tickets right on Facebook with a “Buy Tickets” button

Event discovery sites: Guide couples to your event

From city guides to local street press, there are more ways to find out about events these days than there are events themselves. Thankfully,  most of them are free to list your event on. So which event discovery sites are the best for driving the most sales?

Here are four promotion sites that will help you widen your reach and sell more tickets:

  • Eventful, where 15 million users find events
  • TimeOut and Bandsintown
  • And, of course, Facebook Events (as covered above)

Step #3: Start selling tickets to your Valentine’s Day event

Ready to turn your romantic vision into a sold-out reality? Start promoting your Valentine’s Day celebration in minutes.