How Businesses Can Make the Most of Halloween (Without Selling Costumes)
October 9, 2018
Halloween is just around the corner. Although it’s sometimes viewed as the celebration of juvenile fun (after all, it’s the one day of the year when it’s OK for grown-ups to dress up in silly costumes and eat candy all day), Halloween is serious business.
According to the National Retail Federation, Americans plan to spend around $9 billion this year on Halloween. That’s an average of $87 per person, up from $86 last year. Most people spend money on candy (95%), decoration (74%), costumes (68%), and greeting cards (35%).
Businesses that are lucky enough to sell those products won’t have a hard time making the most of the season with spooky Halloween advertising ideas. But what about the rest of us?
Luckily, there are countless Halloween business ideas you can use for virtually any small business, even if you don’t sell any of the top four Halloween promotional items.
Halloween Marketing Ideas
People who love Halloween tend to be disappointed that it’s over so quickly. Savvy business owners can help prolong the holiday by lengthening the preparatory phase and offering Halloween promotional items that extend this celebration from a mere day to a couple of weeks, or even a month.
If the nature of your business allows it (i.e. you’re not a funeral director or a counsellor helping people deal with fresh bereavement), put up Halloween decorations in your store. Depending on what you’re selling, this can go from a few harmless pumpkins to really scary stuff.
Just make sure you don’t have tax forms jumping out at unsuspecting people.
If you’re operating a laser tag venue, for example, you can really go to town with your decorations. But even if you run a “serious” business like an accounting consultancy, nothing stops you from putting up a few tasteful reminders of the season.
Just make sure you don’t have tax forms jumping out at unsuspecting people. That would be too scary. Especially with tax season looming above our heads.
Create a specific Halloween landing page for your business, especially if you run an ecommerce store. Even if you don’t sell any related merchandise, this helps introduce your Halloween promotional ideas to your customers.
Don’t worry if you don’t have the time or budget to design a completely new landing page. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy.
You can simply add a line of copy and a few visual items to your regular landing page, like spider webs hanging from the corner, Jack-O-Lanterns jumping on text, or spooky wizards enchanting your payment options. (Again, make sure to take your customers’ sensitivities into consideration.)
But feel free to make a big deal out of it if you deem it appropriate, especially if you run some fun Halloween contests.
Halloween provides a great opportunity for contests, giveaways and sweepstakes. Plus, engaging your customers in positive activities is always a good idea for elevating your brand.
User generated content (UGC) tends to do well on social media, as consumers believe their peers’ reviews over those of businesses.
Run a photo contest where people use your products in a Halloween-themed setting. A witch cooking a potion in a pot from your store? A skeleton polishing its bones with your shoe-shine? Let your customers’ creativity free reign and offer prizes for the funniest ideas.
User generated content (UGC) tends to do well on social media, as consumers believe their peers’ reviews over those of businesses. The pictures your customers enter will be a great way to advertise your brand.
One of the best ideas for Halloween marketing is to produce thematic content on your blog. Since people search for Halloween-related content during this time of year, give them something to find about your business. Clearly, we’re taking our own advice.
Think of a way to link Halloween to your business and write an article about it. Blog about your Halloween promotional ideas and your contests, or write a funny piece about how to tax trick-or-treaters.
Once your business pops up on people’s screens, you’re already one step closer to greeting new customers.
Halloween Advertising Ideas
No matter how good your Halloween marketing ideas are, you still might not get the traffic you’re looking for. That’s where good old-fashioned advertising comes in.
Social media is your best advertising choice. Let your followers know about your Halloween business ideas, contests, giveaways, and promotions.
If you want to be sure the whole world knows about your Halloween promotion, you can even invest in paid ads on the platforms your customers like best.
If you run a contest, you’ll get enough user generated content to create hype around your business. But if you want to be sure the whole world knows about your Halloween promotion, you can even invest in paid ads on the platforms your customers like best.
Create fun thematic pictures or videos featuring your products and share them on your social media channels. You don’t have to be a digital wizard to create them; Instagram and Facebook typically offer free Halloween filters you can apply to regular pictures.
Halloween is the time of year when people can let their funny side take over. Don’t overthink your Halloween props. Relax, let your creativity free reign and enjoy the silliest marketing season.
A word of warning though. Since Halloween deals with death, monsters and gory stuff, you need to be careful about how you present it to your customers. Think about your audience: who are they?
Obviously, if you’re an undertaker, celebrating Halloween is a big NO for you. Similarly, if you operate a care facility for the elderly or very ill, it’s best if you stick to smiling Jack-O-Lanterns and leave the really scary stuff alone.
If you operate a care facility for the elderly or very ill, it’s best if you stick to smiling Jack-O-Lanterns and leave the really scary stuff alone.
After all, you don’t want to give your clients a heart attack, nor remind them that they may join the skeletons and ghosts you put up as decorations very soon.
All in all, take your business’ image and your clients’ sensitivities into consideration when planning your Halloween promotional ideas. There’s one main rule that can help you: When in doubt, tone it down.