13 Halloween Marketing Ideas for Your Business
October 28, 2016
When it comes to holiday marketing strategies, Halloween is not the first holiday that comes to mind.
It may not be Christmas or part of the Cyber Five, but your business can still benefit by getting involved in all the spooky fun.
Here are a few Halloween marketing ideas to get you started:
1. Host a haunted house.
Use a section of your own building or set up a pop-up in the community to run a haunted house and get involved during your community’s trick-or-treat night.
This gives your business a chance to start building relationships with people, and other businesses, in the community. It’s networking in a space you’ve created that’s also attractive to your customers.
How you approach the treats at the end depends on your customer base.
Is your target audience parents who likely have younger children?
Provide a little treat bag with your business card or logo attached. Offer a little something extra for joining your email list or dropping a business card on the way out.
If your target audience leans more towards teenagers, then you’ll likely want to up the ante on your haunted house and provide some swag along with the candy at the end.
Set up a table outside the exit running a giveaway encouraging people to take selfies and use a dedicated branded hashtag for a chance to win. You’ll get the benefit of UGC (user-generated content), increased engagement on social media, a boost in traffic to your site, and if you do it right, a boost in leads.
2. Run a costume contest.
There are a couple of ways you can run a costume contest to benefit your business.
One is to encourage employees to dress up. For those that do, take pictures, promote them on social media, and then ask your fans and followers to vote for the one they like the most by liking, retweeting, etc.
You can also switch the focus to your customers and encourage user-generated content. The contest would run the same way, the picture with the most likes, retweets, etc. wins, but in this one your customers provide the photos.
For both, you can run giveaways where the winner of the costume contest wins a prize and a lucky participant in the voting also wins a prize. You can encourage more engagement by offering extra entries to people who share the contest with their friends.
3. Interactive direct mail promotion.
Direct mail is an effective marketing tactic, especially when it’s promoting something relevant to your audience and is designed well.
92% of young shoppers report they prefer direct mail for making purchasing decisions with the number averaging out at 67% across all ages; however, don’t discount email – 51% of shoppers prefer companies to use a combination of direct mail and email when communicating with them.
Send a spooky postcard with a promotional scratch-off. Take it a step further and integrate your efforts by connecting it to a special Halloween adventure on your website with a custom URL or beacon technology.
4. Spooky email series.
Email, when done right, is an effective marketing strategy, especially during the holidays.
Think about this – an estimated 91% of consumers check email at least once a day on their smartphones and email has a 66% conversion rate for online consumers when it comes to purchases made as a result of receiving a marketing message.
Create a spooky email series to take your subscribers on a Halloween adventure. You can create a “choose your own adventure” autoresponder series that takes them through a haunted house, a graveyard, a zombie apocalypse, etc.
Add an incentive to the experience by rewarding them with coupons or points for participation. Take it a step further and offer a referral bonus to increase leads.
5. Sponsor a local guide.
Get on board with some local marketing by creating a guide to the Halloween attractions and events happening in your town.
If you’re running an event of your own, it’s a great way to advertise it. Plus, you’ll be providing a very valuable piece of content visitors to your site can download and share on social media.
If you play your cards right and plan PR outreach accordingly, you might be able to earn a few quality backlinks too.
6. Offer a limited time bonus.
The scarcity principle describes the idea that we place a higher value on an object that is, or appears to be, scarce. We want what it seems we cannot have – just look at the phenomenon “Black Friday” has become.
There are other principles that feed into the scarcity effect, like social proof, FOMO, and commitment. If a product is available for only a short amount of time, especially because it is sold out or has a low inventory, it is perceived as being a quality product. After all, if everyone else is buying it must be good (and therefore I should get it while I can) – that’s social proof.
FOMO, or the “fear of missing out,” is a more recent phenomenon tied to the rise of social media. In a world that is always connected, we have begun feeling apprehensive when we disconnect – what if we miss something fun or interesting?
That’s exactly what FOMO is – the fear, anxiety, or apprehension that you’re missing out on an exciting or interesting event happening somewhere else. When there is a limited time offer on the table, FOMO will sometimes kick in and give customers a push to take advantage of it while they can so they don’t risk missing out.
Commitment, in the world of social psychology, is when someone has committed themselves to something, like purchasing a product, finds out they cannot have it, and then wants the item even more.
A limited time offer engages these principles, encouraging your customers to grab their chance before it’s gone.
If you have a rewards or loyalty program, double the points your customers can accumulate for actions they take during a specific time.
A Limited Time Offer in Action
Pokémon GO’s Halloween event did just that. To boost engagement, users received big bonuses throughout the game from October 26th through November 1st.
For Pokémon trainers, this meant double candy for capturing and transferring Pokémon, and even double candy for hatching eggs. They also decreased the distance you needed to walk with the Pokémon assigned as your buddy in order to get candy by four. Additionally, they boosted the rate at which ghost- and psychic-type Pokémon appeared to meet the Halloween theme.
All of this worked together to boost engagement with the app and reward players for their interaction. Niantic, the development company behind the game, benefitted quickly – within the first day of the event, Pokémon GO catapulted back to the top of the “highest grossing” app charts.
You don’t need to have an app or a rewards program to make this tactic work for you.
Offer a special BOGO (buy one, get one), 50% off, or other valuable promotion to customers who stop by your store, join your email list, refer a friend, make a purchase, etc. during the Halloween event.
7. Create themed product bundles.
Bundle your products into various fall and Halloween themes.
Depending on the products you have available, you can group them into spooky segments, like vampire, zombie, pirate, etc.
Though this tactic works especially well for fashion & apparel brands, it can also apply to food suppliers and other industry verticals.
8. Use social media to host a scavenger hunt.
Post a series of clues on social media. Once a customer has all the pieces and solves the puzzle, they’ll end up with a promotional code to use in-store or on your website.
You can also place physical clues around town for customers to collect. Post pictures of the clues on social media so customers know where to go. Then, bring them into your store for a gift card or coupon to complete the hunt.
Get customers to explore your store by creating a treasure map for them to follow. They’ll get a little something special at each station and a gift card or another prize for completing the journey. Promote the activity on social media to increase foot traffic to your store and participation.
Whether it’s a rhyme, a riddle, or a scavenger hunt, online, offline, or both, this one creatively ties social media and a fun activity together to benefit your business.
9. Team up for a good cause.
Team up with a local charity to host a zombie walk/run, a fall festival, a Halloween concert with local bands, or another event to raise funds for a good cause.
Get involved and have a table at the event with some giveaways, like branded water bottles, reusable cups with your logo on them full of hot apple cider, t-shirts, bumper stickers, etc.
This is a great way to get your business involved in your community, increase brand awareness, and promote a good brand reputation.
Do some outreach to increase participation in your event and include journalists. You might end up with some good PR and perhaps a few backlinks to your website as well.
10. Don’t forget to decorate your store.
Decorate your storefront and inside your store to help customers get in the spirit of Halloween. Basic decorations like window clings and fake cobwebs can go a long way towards creating a spooky atmosphere that’s fun to shop in.
Offer small branded goodie bags or a branded reusable trick-or-treat bag with every purchase to complete the theme.
11. Open your doors during trick-or-treat night.
If trick-or-treaters are likely to pass by your business, find out when your local trick-or-treat night is and stay open a little longer that night to participate.
Give out candy taped to your business card, little baggies of candy with your logo on them, or branded candy bars. If something more creative fits with your business, like toys or stickers, give out those (but make sure you include some candy too, just to ensure you meet trick-or-treaters’ expectations).
12. Face painting is popular with kids and adults.
Get your local artists involved by offering a face painting station. Kids will have a blast and their parents may shop while they wait, or they might join in and get their face painted as well.
If you can get a makeup artist and a hair stylist on hand, you can offer a Halloween transformation, free with purchase.
13. Host a movie night.
Team up with other local businesses and caterers to host a Halloween movie night in the park, at a local theater, or another venue. Make it an event your community will never forget with food, games, and contests.
Whether you take it on alone or team up, there are plenty of opportunities for your business to get a little spooky for Halloween.
Is your marketing engaging your customers or scaring them away?
Get in touch with VIG for a plan to improve.