Halloween is the start of the busiest holiday season of the year. Projected Halloween spending reached an all-time high of $8.4 billion in 2016, according to the National Retail Federation. With customers in a festive mood, it’s the perfect time to put a fun, creative spin on your promotions.
Not so sure this spooky holiday is the right time to market your small business? Any type of business can cash in on the Halloween thrills with some clever campaigning. And the momentum you build during the holidays can bring a lot of fresh business for the new year. Cast a spell on customers with these 11 bewitching Halloween marketing ideas.
1. Publish Halloween-themed content
Like clockwork, online search activity increases before a major holiday. Take advantage of the traffic spikes by publishing themed content. Make sure you offer something of value to your customers.
Think about what customers are doing in the weeks leading up to Halloween. An electrician could provide a video guide to creating a spooky Halloween light display. A financial planner could create an infographic about budgeting during the holidays. Think outside the box, and try something your competitors haven’t thought of.
2. Dig into holiday sales data
If your business has a history of doing well around Halloween, look for trends in your sales data. Find out what items were top sellers, and which days were slow or busy. Then, send out surveys to loyal customers well before the season starts. Asking customers about their holiday plans can help you understand seasonal buying behavior. That way, you can stock up on extra inventory and come up with strategic sales packages.
3. Create profitable product bundles
Every business has related products and services that make life easier for clients. Using the data you collect from customers, design bundles that cover a range of needs at once. If you own a salon, cater to party-goers with a bundle on Halloween hair, makeup, and nails for costumes. Many retailers can sell off slow-moving inventory by including less popular products in bundles at a discount.
4. Hold contests on social media
Contests and giveaways are one of the easiest ways to drive social media engagement. The best part is you can tailor contests for casual or conservative businesses. Let’s say you have a career coaching business. You could offer a consultation to the person with the best interview horror story or scariest career wardrobe. Choose Halloween promotional ideas that stress the theme without forgetting the target audience.
5. Sponsor a local event
Sponsoring or attending a local event is a smart way to gain visibility. Does your town have a much-anticipated haunted house? Fall festival? Zombie run? Business trick-or-treating? Have costumed staff on hand, and come up with zany characters for them to play.
If you’re not selling a product onsite, drive guests to your booth with a prize giveaway or treat. For example, create a themed signature drink or snack for people watching the zombie run. Or invite anyone who survives the haunted house to submit an entry in a prize drawing.
6. Host a promotional party
Get customers into your store with a well-planned promotional event. Provide refreshments, and transform your store into a haunted haven. Fun and eerie decorations can keep children entertained while you mingle with customers.
Don’t waste any real estate. Create targeted displays with tips and photo boards showing customers smart ways to use your products. Of course, selling doesn’t have to be the main focus of the event. You can host a costume exchange or offer free face painting to people who sign up for a newsletter.
7. Hand out branded swag
For a small business, Halloween is a chance to distribute branded items far and wide. Consider giving out custom-printed bags or buckets to get your logo in front of a lot of eyes. Another option is to include a goodie bag or Halloween checklist with online orders.
8. Showcase customer contributions
Few strategies are more effective than stroking someone’s ego. Give customers a reason to keep visiting by putting them in the spotlight. Here’s one example. Design a simple branded submission sheet with blank space for children to draw on. Ask them to create their spookiest Halloween scene, and display the artwork in your store windows. Families are motivated to stop by and may even tell their friends about it. The same strategy can work on social media sites, such as Facebook and Instagram.
9. Feature your products in themed projects
Spark ideas for Halloween while keeping your business front and center. If your products directly relate to Halloween, create photos or videos showing clever ways to use them. Maybe you sell clothing or art supplies customers can use to make costumes. While promoting your products, mention any seasonal or storewide discounts you’re running.
10. Promote a seasonal product
Craft a new seasonal product or rebrand an existing one, especially if you sell food or crafts. For instance, you can add seasonal colors or decorations to items you already sell. Brainstorm fun names, or hold a contest to get ideas from frequent customers. Your best-selling menu items could become Boo-Berry Muffins or Witch’s Brew Stew.
11. Add free tips to product packaging
Drive word-of-mouth marketing by adding Halloween tips in strategic locations. What areas of your store, product, or site frequently get views? For physical products, you can have seasonal packaging printed with short tips or trivia. Online, add pop-up tips to related product pages or areas of your site. Customers who have success with one of your ideas are likely to spread the word to others.
After a lot of brainstorming, you might realize most Halloween marketing ideas won’t work for your business. Don’t freak out. Marketing is all about positioning your brand to reach the right people. A general fall theme works just as well, especially if you run a B2B company.
Many corporate clients try to fit in last-minute purchases before budget closures. They make great sales prospects and are likely to move forward if you’ve already made contact. Update your email and direct mail campaigns with fall themes. For a final boost to your sales, remind customers to take advantage of end-of-year deals.