A well-planned Halloween marketing campaign can offer a big boost to your fall sales. The National Retail Foundation (NRF) expects Halloween spending to reach $12.2 billion in 2023, with the average person spending over $100 on the day.
The right tactics can help you capitalize on this spending.
The NRF predicts that during Halloween, most customers will buy things like costumes, candy, decorations and greeting cards. If you’re in any of these niches, you can easily leverage effective marketing strategies to drive sales.
Even if you aren’t in these niches, you can lean into the Halloween buzz to generate interest in your brand. You might be surprised at how much attention you generate from a few simple Halloween-themed social media posts.
The main thing to consider is the timing. According to the NRF’s annual survey, a third of all customers make their Halloween purchases three to four weeks in advance – so make sure to plan ahead and start your Halloween marketing campaign early.
Here are nine powerful Halloween marketing campaign ideas to kick-start your strategy:
1. Launch a spooky email campaign
Email marketing remains one of the most effective ways to drive sales. For every $1 spent on email marketing, you can expect a return on investment (ROI) of $36. However, to boost sales with a Halloween email campaign, you need to stick to the theme.
Here are some ideas to help you get the most out of a Halloween-themed email strategy:
Create engaging content. Each email in your Halloween campaign should be concise and have a clear call to action (CTA). Depending on your audience, you could use puns and other devices to make funny, memorable emails. For example, you could create lines like, “Don’t be haunted by the regret of missing out on our fang-tastic deals!”
Personalize the email content. Adding your customers’ first names to the opening line of the email template makes it more personable and engaging. You could also provide personalized recommendations based on your customer’s previous purchases or browsing history.
Include captivating visuals. Try to include as much Halloween-themed imagery as possible to give your emails a festive design. Beyond static pictures, consider using animated GIFs of fun Halloween animations to catch the reader’s attention.
Segment your audience. Segmentation is still key if you want to run an effective email campaign. You can segment your audience based on their interests, previous purchases or demographics. For example, if a large section of your audience is from Generation Z, you could target them with offers on costumes that are trending on TikTok.
Get the timing right. Work out when you’ll start your campaign and how often you’ll send emails. Don’t overwhelm your audience with too many emails, but make sure to send enough so they don’t forget about your promotions. One or two emails a week is probably perfect, starting a month or so before Halloween.
Invent a great subject line. The subject line is what grabs your readers’ attention. It needs to be interesting, but it also needs to be Halloween-themed. Include themed words like “spooky” or “haunted” and don’t be afraid of puns. For example: “Spooktacular Savings Alert! Halloween Sale Inside.” Take a look at the following email from Glossybox, which uses seasonal language to showcase their special Halloween offer.
To get the most out of your email strategy, use A/B split testing. By analyzing open rates and A/B testing a range of subject lines, you can improve your click-through rate (CTR) and boost sales.
2. Sell Halloween-themed products
In the lead-up to the spooky season, most people look for two things: Halloween-themed products and candy. That means if you already sell these products, it’s time to increase your holiday marketing efforts.
If you stock Halloween items, this is your chance to cross-sell and upsell. Create bundles that combine multiple, complementary Halloween-themed products at a discounted price.
You could also create a sense of urgency with limited-time offers. For example, create a catchy one-liner to display in your sales promotions, like: “Get 30% off all Halloween merchandise for the next 48 hours only!”
However, for companies outside of the typical Halloween niches, there are still plenty of opportunities to make and sell Halloween-themed products. A cafe might sell “Witch’s Brew Lattes,” or a makeup store could offer discounts on “spooky” eye shadow palettes.
Brands could also create Halloween-exclusive products, like limited-edition Halloween versions of something you already sell.
For example, check out McVitie’s Halloween-themed Jaffa Cakes that it released in 2015:
This type of product can create a sense of novelty and encourage customers to try something different.
The trick is to be creative. Provide unique designs and artwork for your new product launches so that they stand out.
You could also consider designing special packaging that complements the Halloween theme, making your products feel even more exclusive.
Decorating your store helps create more of an atmosphere, attracting people and enhancing the customer experience.
Here are some tips and tricks to help decorate your brick-and-mortar store:
Have a themed entrance. Make sure customers can see that your store has a festive atmosphere by incorporating a themed entrance. For example, you could add spiderwebs to the entrance or use a motion detector to play a scary sound as people walk past.
Create an eye-catching window display. If you have a window display, make sure it’s decorated well to attract customers who pass by. For example, a clothing store could dress mannequins in Halloween costumes.
Build themed product displays. Create dedicated displays for your Halloween-related products so that they stand out. You could use themed backdrops or additional props to draw your customers’ eyes.
Invest in employee costumes. Encourage your in-store employees to dress up in Halloween costumes and engage customers. These could be characters from horror movies or classic costumes like ghosts, witches and ghouls.
Have spooky music and lighting. To really create a Halloween atmosphere, you could use dim lighting or colored lights throughout the store. You could also play Halloween-themed music or spooky soundtracks to immerse your customers.
Greet visitors with a Halloween gift bag. Halloween is all about trick-or-treating, so why not give customers a mystery gift bag on their way into your store? Fill them with Halloween treats, merchandise or in-store discounts. Customers won’t know exactly what they’ll get until they open it, adding an element of surprise and fun.
Incorporate Halloween colors and elements. Use traditional Halloween colors like orange, black and purple to decorate your store. Decor like spiderwebs, bats, pumpkins and skeletons can help create a spooky atmosphere, like in this Halloween display from Merchant Square:
4. Add Halloween elements to your website or landing page
Decorating your website is just as important as decorating your physical store. If it’s too hard to add elements to your home page, consider creating a dedicated Halloween landing page that showcases your Halloween promos.
The obvious thing to include on your website is Halloween-themed banners or graphics that clearly show your promotion. That way, when web visitors reach your site, they’ll know straight away that you have a Halloween sale on and they’ll be more interested in browsing your store.
Create a header image or banner with Halloween color schemes and spooky elements at the very least. Consider Halloween-themed fonts and customized product or background images to give your website the complete look.
You could also create a sense of urgency for your sale with a countdown timer that counts down to Halloween. Paired with a great CTA, this can be a powerful way to increase sales.
Likewise, consider displaying Halloween-themed pop-ups. These are a great way to grow your email list and convert website visitors – when they’re done right. Use spooky, engaging graphics to grab your visitor’s attention, then hit them with a witty one-liner and great offer to seal the deal.
5. Implement a social media marketing strategy
Social media is a great place to engage your followers with regular posts. The NRF has found that a large proportion of people use social media to find Halloween costume inspiration. You can make the most of trending hashtags and topics with a Halloween-focused social media campaign.
Here are some ideas to get started:
Create engaging posts. To attract customers to your website, you need to produce engaging and shareable Halloween content. You could showcase costume ideas, provide DIY decoration tutorials or post Halloween recipes. No matter what niche you’re in, it’s worth making the most of increased interest in Halloween content.
Run a hashtag campaign. Hashtags are as important as ever for increasing your social media reach. Create your own unique Halloween hashtag that’s relevant to your brand or offerings and encourage your audience to use this hashtag when they participate in your contests or interact with your brand.
Encourage user-generated content. User-generated content is a great way to drum up views and engage your audience. It also gives your followers a chance to interact with your brand in a fun way. For example, you could design a challenge related to your products and then encourage your viewers to create and post submissions with your unique hashtag. After a certain time limit, you could showcase the best submissions on your profile and offer a reward to the winner.
Collaborate with influencers. Partner up with popular influencers in your niche to promote your products. They could create sponsored content, share discount codes or showcase their Halloween creations using your products.
Share Halloween-themed videos. Video marketing is becoming increasingly popular, especially on video-based social media platforms like TikTok and YouTube. Creating fun social media content can drive users to your website without you having to pay for ads. The best part is that making short reels is inexpensive, you just need to be creative.
Run a Halloween-themed contest or giveaway. Contests and giveaways are a great way to engage your social media followers. Encourage your audience to share costume pictures or pumpkin carvings and offer prizes, discounts or freebies to the winners. HomeGoods opted for a free shopping spree in this fun Halloween photo competition.
6. Develop a Halloween content marketing plan
Creative content marketing during the Halloween season can help you attract and engage your audience before Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas.
One idea is to create a short series of Halloween-themed blog posts on topics that align with your niche and brand. For example, a childcare center could share a blog post for young parents explaining how to trick-or-treat safely. Likewise, a photography store could write a post explaining their top 10 Halloween photography tips.
Once you have your blog topics, it’s time to get writing. Keep your language simple and engaging and use search engine optimization (SEO) tactics to generate more traffic. Do some keyword research and make sure to incorporate relevant phrases like “Halloween costumes” or “trick-or-treating tips”.
Another idea is to create an email newsletter series. You could develop a 4-week, Halloween-themed email newsletter that provides valuable content, exclusive discounts or early access to your Halloween promotions.
Here are some steps and examples to help you create an effective Halloween ad campaign:
Define your goals. Do you want to increase brand awareness, drive sales or promote a specific Halloween product? Be clear and specific so that you can track your progress toward the goal.
Identify your target audience. Define your target audience based on their demographics, interests or past purchase behavior. For example, if you sell costumes, you might want to target adults aged 18–25 who attend Halloween parties.
Craft compelling ad copy. Write Halloween-themed ad copy that grabs attention and highlights the unique features of your offering. Include a clear CTA that encourages viewers to take a specific action, like “Shop now!”
Utilize ad platforms and targeting options. Choose the best ad platforms based on where your target is most active. This might be Facebook, Instagram, Google Ads or YouTube. Take advantage of the targeting options available on that platform to reach the people most likely to convert.
Use retargeting strategies. Retargeting techniques enable you to reach people who have previously shown interest in your brand. For example, you can use retargeting to send follow-up emails and display ads to people who visited your website.
Create customized landing pages. Give those who click on your ad a destination that aligns with it and with Halloween. For example, this visually stunning landing page from software company Wpmet showcases its sale. It also includes a countdown timer to increase the feeling of urgency.
8. Sponsor a Halloween charity event
Halloween events are a great way for big and small businesses to give back to their community and build brand awareness at the same time.
Do some research and see if any charities plan to host an event in your area this Halloween. Look for events like fundraisers, costume contests, pumpkin carving contests and Halloween fun runs.
Try to find an event that aligns with your brand positioning and target audience. The ideal event will attract a large audience (preferably in your target demographic), support a good cause and be hosted by a reputable organization.
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Once you’ve found a suitable event, reach out to the organizers. Many charity events offer different sponsorship levels, with distinct benefits and opportunities in each. Choose a level that fits your budget and provides good visibility for your brand, then collaborate with the event organizers to see how you can both benefit on the day.
Next, promote your involvement with the event on your marketing channels. Post on social media, update your website and send out email newsletters that highlight your partnership and attract your core audience to the event.
At the event itself, engage with attendees as much as possible with a booth related to your brand. You could also provide branded merchandise or giveaways to leave a positive impression.
Note: Make sure to capture content during the event that you can use to promote your brand afterward. For example, there may be an opportunity to take photos or encourage attendees to share their experience at the event on your social media channels.
9. Use unique Halloween marketing tactics
Most of the ideas we’ve covered so far give traditional marketing strategies a Halloween twist. Now, we’ll cover a series of unique Halloween marketing ideas that you can add to the above strategies to create a truly spooky experience for different types of customers.
Host a haunted house experience. Transform a section of your store into a haunted house to capture the attention of shoppers who walk by. You could include special Halloween-themed displays and interactive experiences. If you’re an online company, create a horror point-and-click microsite where visitors have to face some jump-scares to get their hands on deals.
Hold a pumpkin carving or recipe contest. Host a contest either in-store or virtually. Encourage customers to take part and share photos of their carved pumpkins or recipes on your social media. Choose winners and showcase them in-store or on your website.
Halloween photo booth. Set up a Halloween-themed photo booth in-store or at a community event. Customers can take pictures with props like costumes, fake spiders or witches’ hats and receive printed or digital copies as keepsakes. For a digital version, you could create your own spooky social media filter.
Pet costume contest. Host a pet costume contest where customers share photos of their pets dressed up for Halloween. Allow people to vote for their favorite costume, and give the winner a discount or gift card as a prize.
Host an after-hours event. Host an exclusive after-hours shopping event with Halloween-themed activities. For example, you could have a tarot card reader or Halloween face painter present. Offer special discounts or exclusive merchandise during the event to incentivize customers to attend. On your website, you could do a trick-or-treat-themed treasure hunt, where visitors have to find hidden pumpkins and each one offers them a different discount or free gift.
Host a trick-or-treating event with other local businesses. Parents are looking for convenient and family-friendly things to do on Halloween. To provide a great experience, you could partner up with other local businesses. Each shop might offer gift cards or coupons or hide candy throughout their store and share clues over social media to attract customers. Online, you could team up with other businesses or influencers for a spooky live stream.
Halloween is an exciting time of year, and with a record number of people expected to participate in Halloween-related activities, it’s the perfect time to start marketing your brand. Use the spooky Halloween marketing strategies we’ve provided to build brand awareness, attract more customers and drive more sales.
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