Introduction to Halloween Marketing
As the days are getting cooler and shorter, the next seasonal celebration is drawing ever closer (No, not Christmas quite yet…) – Halloween! Halloween means different things to different people. For some, it’s an excuse to get dressed up and party, whilst for others, it’s a great way to welcome in the new autumn season. But how can it help your business? For many businesses, it is the perfect opportunity to launch a new seasonal marketing campaign.
If you’re thinking about kicking off spooky season with some spell-binding marketing, but you’re unsure where to start, have no fear! We’ve pulled together some useful tricks, to ensure your Halloween marketing campaign goes down a treat!
Why is Halloween Marketing Important?
More and more Brits are starting to adopt the Halloween spirit and are spending increasing amounts of money during the ‘spooky season’. In 2022, an estimated £687 million was spent celebrating the holiday, making it an opportunity not to be missed for businesses wanting to boost their bottom line throughout autumn. And with hit shows like Netflix’s Wednesday proving the UK loves the creepy aesthetic Halloween brings, it looks like this trend is set to continue.
Whether your business directly deals with Halloween merchandise or not, there are many ways you can get involved, generate some pre-Christmas profits, and boost your brand awareness.
Things to Consider When Introducing a Halloween Marketing Campaign
For Halloween enthusiasts, 1st September marks the beginning of the season and the beginning of spending, so it is never too early to start preparations. Firstly, you should consider your customer demographic. Though historically Halloween has been thought of as a children’s celebration, in 2021, a survey found that 55% of households without children still planned on marking the occasion.
Whether you tailor your campaign towards the traditional ‘spooky’ side of Halloween, or a more neutral autumnal approach, there are many strategies you can implement to appeal to your ideal customer.
Planning Your Halloween Campaign to Avoid a Marketing Nightmare
A successful marketing campaign, regardless of the theme, relies heavily on thoughtful planning. There’s more to capitalising on this season than just fun decorations and clever puns. By following the steps below, your Halloween marketing campaign will be growing legs in no time!
1. Set clear goals – What is the main focus of your campaign? This could be to boost seasonal sales, branch out and appeal to a new demographic of customers or increase your brand awareness. No matter what your goal is, you need to set clear targets that will enable you to measure the success of your campaign. Make your targets quantifiable, instead of saying ‘increase sales’, set a target for ‘X number of sales per day’. This goal is more specific and time-driven, so you can easily reflect on its success once the campaign is over.
2. Define your target audience – Who is your current customer demographic? Are you trying to continue targeting your current audience, or are you aiming to broaden your reach with new demographics?
What would your ideal customer be looking for when it comes to Halloween? Are they likely to be looking for a spooky day out with the kids? Or do they want to indulge in a Halloween treat? Don’t forget to also consider what your customers want from you in terms of promotions, for example, whether they would react better to discount codes or competitions.
3. Analyse your competition – Take a look at what your competitors are up to; if they ran a Halloween campaign last year, what did their customers react well to? Did they use social media to promote their campaign? And was there anything you think you would do differently?
4. Brainstorm – Pull your team together to brainstorm ideas, the more people you have on board, the more fresh ideas you will generate. You can then give each person involved a specific area to focus on, whether it’s copywriting, graphics, social media etc.
5. Collaborate – You won’t be the only business crafting a Halloween campaign, so try collaborating with other nearby businesses where possible. For example, if you’re planning an in-person event, you could contact a local bakery and invite them to sell seasonal treats at your event. This will not only promote their business but bring more footfall into yours – a win-win situation.
Alternatively, if your campaign will be largely social media based, you could try working with influencers in the same field as you, giving their followers a discount code and paying the influencer a commission on any sales driven by them.
6. Set a timeline – Setting a timeline is crucial to ensuring you reach your targets, even more so when running a seasonal campaign. Giving your team deadlines to work towards will help everyone stay on schedule.
Spooky Schemes: Halloween Marketing Campaign Ideas by Business Type
Online Retail Businesses
Operating online makes it much easier to track your analytics. Rather than trying to count how many people come into your business, many platforms keep track for you. Online shopping is becoming very popular and although you may not be meeting your customers in person, this gives you the perfect opening to welcome new people into your (digital) store.
- If the majority of your sales come from online customers, create a discount code. (Think short, Halloween-related words). This can give your numbers a boost while allowing you to easily monitor the percentage of your seasonal sales that have come from that code, letting you know how well it’s doing.
- Harness the power of social media to drive sales and increase your brand awareness. Something as simple as a hashtag can boost your engagement and spread the word to Halloween-loving potential customers.
- If social media is your thing, you could host a giveaway, with entry conditions including ‘you must be following this page’ and ‘tag up to three friends in the comments for a bonus entry’. This is a sure-fire way to increase your engagement and reach new customers.
- If your business uses email newsletters as a way to communicate with your customers – create a special Halloween edition! You could switch up your visual style for the month, add in games/puzzles and freebies.
- As well as sending out a newsletter, you can also give your website’s landing page a makeover! Even if it’s just some themed colours and ghoulish graphics, shaking up your online look can bring in new customers.
No matter what you specialise in, if you have a business such as a shop, salon or eatery that customers visit in-person, you have the opportunity to use your space to boost your Halloween marketing campaign.
- Get decorating! A shop that is dressed for the occasion is bound to turn heads. Try dressing your windows with pumpkins and autumn leaves or hanging faux cobwebs or sheet ghosts from the ceiling. A window display is the perfect way to entice any passersby and showcase your favourite products and services.
- Why stop at decorating your shop? Encourage staff to dress up or host a costume competition for customers. A great way of doing this is to offer anyone who comes in on the day wearing a costume, a prize or a discount on their shopping. You could also encourage people to share their outfits on social media, tagging you to encourage more people to visit your store and join the fun.
- If you trade in an area with other businesses around, you could get together to host a Halloween scavenger hunt. Leave clues throughout your stores and surrounding areas to generate more foot traffic through the business district. Even if this one is aimed primarily at children, after all that hunting, their parents are bound to want to stop for a quick shopping or coffee break!
Get creative! If it looks good, people are more likely to want to buy it, and if it’s Halloween themed? Even better! Introducing new, seasonal menu items is bound to keep loyal customers coming back to try something new, and appeal to those who haven’t gotten to know and love you yet!
- Create some themed menu items – think witches finger biscuits, pumpkin pie, or spaghetti and meatball eyeballs, but make sure your customers know that they are for a limited time only – scarcity is a key factor in persuading people to make a decision.
- Pumpkin spice remains the undefeated king of spooky season. Every year, people purchase thousands of pumpkin spice products, whether that’s hot drinks, cakes or even candles and merchandise. Take advantage of this by adding pumpkin spice products to your menu.
- Bakeries and confectioners could collaborate with local businesses and sell products on their premises (e.g., other stores, hotels, offices), or even offer terrifying treats as prizes for giveaways or competitions.
- Encourage user-generated content- well-presented Halloween-themed food is very Instagram worthy. Encourage your customers to share their food on social media and tag you to spread the word!
Sports and Leisure Facilities
As a business in the leisure industry, you are a valued resource for the local community; a place for friends to meet and play sports together and an outlet for people to relax during their busy working lives. You are also likely to attract customers from a wide range of demographics, whether that’s children coming in for swimming lessons or football teams training at your facility. This gives you the chance to create a diverse range of Halloween activities to appeal to a varied audience.
- If your premises has a large area such as a sports hall, outdoor astroturf, or field, you could consider renting out your space for community Halloween events. Not only will this encourage footfall and get your business name out there, but you will also be building good working relationships with other local businesses and organisations.Not to mention, it would be a lot of fun!
- Come up with a themed fitness-based challenge. If you have a gym, try introducing a ‘deadlift’ or ‘skull crushers’ challenge, publish the rules on social media and encourage your members to bring their friends and family along to give it a go too!
Schools and Education
Children love Halloween, any excuse to dress up and eat sweets is bound to go down a treat with the little ones, so you have the perfect captive audience for your Halloween campaign.
- An easy way to generate money and Halloween spirit is to host a ‘dress up day’ at school. Allow children to come to school wearing their Halloween costumes for the day and ask them to bring a small donation. This money could then be used to put back into the school, buying new sports equipment or upgrading some of your facilities.
- A great way to get parents involved too, is to host a school fair (with a Halloween theme, of course). Parents and staff can run stalls and competitions (think the classic, ‘guess how many sweets in this jar’ or tombola). And any profits made can be used to feed back into the school and pupils.
- Perhaps one of the most well-known fundraising activities; the great British bake sale. It’s a fan favourite and for good reason – children, parents and staff can flex their baking skills and create Halloween treats to sell at school events to raise money and spread the halloween spirit.
If you run a BnB or hotel, you can make your guests’ October stay unique and memorable by creating themed experiences for them to enjoy.
- If you have a large indoor space suitable for a projector, you can create your own pop-up cinema! Show tamer, child-friendly Halloween films to start with, then, as the sun goes down, creep into the scarier Halloween classics! You can also sell snacks and drinks (themed of course) to accompany the entertainment.
- A themed photo booth is another simple but effective way to embrace the festivities. Provide props such as pumpkins and cobwebs for people to use in their photos and don’t forget to put your company name or even a hashtag on the printouts.
- A seasonal menu change can be as simple as adding pumpkin spice syrup to hot drinks or a complete revamp. You could even elevate your old classics for a short period of time or serve your regular menu items in pumpkin-shaped crockery, making it even more instagrammable!
Get Involved in Community Events
This one is for everyone – no matter what type of business you are. If your local community is hosting any family events for Halloween, getting yourself a stall to promote your business is a great way of reaching new customers. Let people try your products, offer introductory discounts, and join in the fun. You could even sponsor an event to get your company name out there, and show you care about your local community.
Monitoring the Success of your Halloween Marketing Campaign
Be sure to keep monitoring your results both at the end of the campaign and throughout. Did you meet the targets you set out at the beginning of the campaign? Did you manage to branch out into any new customer demographics?
If the answer is yes, could you have aimed even higher? Keep track of the things that worked well for you so you can refer to them during your next Halloween marketing campaign.
By implementing an effective and well-planned campaign, you will be able to build on this year after year. Good luck and happy haunting!