Halloween is fast approaching. That means two things:
- The watershed will be brimming with grisly, gory, grotesquely gruesome movies. (Not my cup of tea; I prefer ‘It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown’.)
- Brands will pepper their stores, websites, emails, and ad campaigns with jack-o’-lanterns, cobwebs, and many other devilish delights.
Halloween is a fun time for revelers. (I for one am glad that we live in a world with Octobers.) But that’s not to say it’s an easy ride. Carving a pumpkin is the last thing you want to do after leaving the office and battling the commute. Plus, who has time to decide on a fancy-dress costume when picking out an outfit for work is a tiresome daily struggle.
In the same vein, the build-up to Halloween is often a challenge for brands. Preparing the campaigns and crafting the right message can leave marketers distracted from their critical day-to-day activities. What’s more, October 31st is slap bang in the middle of crucial holiday planning for Black Friday and Christmas. But it’s worth it: in 2018 175 million Americans celebrated Halloween and collectively spent $9 billion – a record of $86.79 per person.
Success takes tactful planning and a touch of creative flair.
Enter us. To help you get the most out of Halloween, we’ve sourced 11 frightfully good ideas that will add some dark delight to your marketing campaigns.
1. Include a trick or treat in your Halloween emails
You’d be mad not to. This is a classic quick-win that every marketer should employ. Make trick or treat a game and inspire subscribers to play to win. Hide two separate offers behind their respective calls to action: trick or treat. Apple bobbing is another great example of gamifying your message.
2. The devil is in the design
Go kitsch. Do cheesy. It’s Fall, so be cozy too. Adding a seasonal flavor to your design is a great way to bewitch customers – it makes your page or email more visually relevant. An autumnal angle on your shopfront emits warmth and nostalgia. Be loud and clear and informative. Be creative with color – if you need inspiration, just look outside.
3. Build the suspense
The leaves are falling and maybe your prices are too. Or perhaps you’ve developed a special spooky product line for a limited time only. Make some fun, and shout about it before it’s too late. We loved the creativity and urgency in this example from Lush Cosmetics:
4. Spook-ify your subject lines
Great Halloween subject lines should be creative, urgent, and specific. Embrace the cliché, because every other marketer will be. Here are some best-practice examples:
- 🎃 Celebrate Halloween with our terrifyingly good offers
- Spooky Savings – Up to 50% off
- Style so good, it’s spooky.
- Did you hear who won the skeleton race? No BODY!
- Witch better have my candy
- Autumn enchantment just for you
- Send your Boos some love
5. Personalize the trick (or treat)
Personalization is the key to customer engagement and should be used from January to December, not just during the holidays. And that doesn’t just mean using a first name, either. You should include numerous relevancy points such as references to location, preferences, or a loyalty scheme. We loved Starbucks’ spooky ‘Broomates’ rewards email. The Halloween spirit really comes through with the Gothic type and ghoulish treats.
6. Halloween is great storytelling
The history of Halloween is fascinating, so talk about it. Curate a story series on the origins of Halloween that complements any promotional campaigns you’re running. But don’t overdo it on the copy. Simplify your story with iconography and don’t digress from what you’re trying to say.
7. Everyone loves a Halloween freebie
Consumers are like trick-or-treaters – they expect free stuff. It doesn’t have to be anything substantial or super-lux. You can mask an everyday promotion under the guise of a spooky special offer. Over recent years, retailer Home Depot has slashed (no pun intended) 50% off select Halloween tableware. While last year All Bar One offered 2-4-1 on their devilishly fruity ‘Bat Bite’ cocktail during Halloween week, prompting people to download their app.
8. Right message, right time. Spooky, right?
Knowing your audiences is important all year round. But at Halloween you’ll need to work out who your personas are and how you can target them.
- throw/attend a Halloween party
- carve a pumpkin and make pie or soup
- buy candy for trick-or-treaters
- take their kids trick-or-treating
Sick or treat? Don’t forget that not everyone celebrates Halloween; some despise it and avoid it like the plague. Tapping in to their Halloween hatred is a clever way to make sales.
You can use all of the above to send a tailored marketing message that leads to a monster sales boost. According to the Halloween & Costume Association:
- Over 9 in 10 celebrants purchase candies
- 70% spend money on decorations
- Nearly 7 in 10 buy costumes
- ¼ of celebrants get greeting cards
So, give your time-strapped shoppers exactly what they want this October.
9. Don’t just be scary – be enchanting
For some Halloween is a creepy affair. For others it’s a snug time of year. Think foliage, squash, and conkers. Think crisp morning frosts and spiced Pumpkin lattes. So, dilute your fangtastic emails with Fall-inspired campaigns that focus more on the historical and seasonal characteristics of Halloween.
10. Put a spooky spin on retargeting ads
Halloween is your opportunity to turn something inherently negative into something fun. Svedka Vodka’s Halloween curse campaign certainly had the creep factor, haunting and taunting users wherever they went.
The eerie banners made fun of the persistent retargeting ads that follow us today. This time, the onslaught of digital ads wasn’t that vacuum cleaner you viewed 29 days ago but spooky prompts and scrummy Svedka Vodka cocktails.
11. Halloween-ify your products
Anything can be Halloweeny; even a motorcycle. Make sure you bring your products to the forefront. Halloween is a great opportunity to present your offering in a different and more visually creative way.
Witch tactic will it be?
Witchever tactic you adopt, just be fun! Halloween is the perfect opportunity to engage dormant contacts and delight regular customers. It all comes down to giving them a good spook and making them laugh. Remember that embracing the season is competitive: Whether you put a Halloween spin on your products, re-skin your emails with a ghostly template, or tell chilling stories, your brand’s authenticity is what people will remember.