Spooktakular Halloween marketing tactics to BOOst sales!

20 October, 2019

The spookiest month of the year is upon us. Brands that want to cash in will have to out-trick their rivals and treat their customers. So, marketers, start reciting your most bewitching incantation – because Halloween is just a bunch of hocus pocus!

Halloween is fast approaching. That means two things:

  • There will grisly, gory, grotesquely gruesome movies galore, and fiendish Halloween parties, with ghost, ghouls, goblins and witches in tow. It’s right up my Knockturn Alley, and in fact dotdigital is organising a special movie screening of The Terminator Dark Fate on Halloween, along with partners Balance Internet and ChannelAdvisor. Register today so you don’t miss out!
  • Brands will pepper their stores, websites, emails and ad campaigns with jack-o’-lanterns, cobwebs and many other devilish delights.

Halloween is a fun time for revellers. (I for one am glad we live in a world with Octobers.) But it’s not always an easy ride. You’ve got to find time to carve the pumpkin, get your (and your kids’) Halloween costumes organised, decorate the house and ensure you have enough candy stashed for the big night!

In the same vein, the build-up to Halloween is often a challenge for brands. Preparing the campaigns and crafting the right message can distract marketers from their critical day-to-day activities. What’s more, October 31st is slap bang in the middle of crucial holiday planning for Black Friday, Christmas and beyond. But it’s worth it! Halloween has been growing in Australia every year and this year sales are currently up 42 percent on last year, indicating that this Halloween is set to be the biggest in Australian history.

Success takes tactful planning and a touch of creative flair.

Enter dotdigital. To help you get the most out of Halloween, we’ve sourced 11 frightfully good ideas that will add some dark delight to your marketing campaigns.

1. Include a trick or treat in your Halloween emails.

You’d be mad not to. This is a classic quick-win that every marketer should employ. Make trick or treat a game and inspire subscribers to play to win. Hide two separate offers behind their respective calls to action: trick or treat. Apple bobbing is another great example of gamifying your message.

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2. The devil is in the design.

Go kitsch. Do cheesy. Halloween, celebrated in autumn in the Northern Hemisphere, invokes seasonal images of pumpkins, candied apples, autumn leaves, and hues of red, yellow, orange and magenta. Don’t be afraid to incorporate these into your design, even if in the Southern Hemisphere, we are in the middle of spring! It is a great way to bewitch customers – it makes your page or email more visually relevant. A festive angle on your shopfront emits warmth and nostalgia. Be loud, clear and informative and be sure to be creative with colour and design.

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3. Build the suspense.

Have you developed a special spooky product line for a limited time only? Have some fun and shout about it before it’s too late. We loved the creativity and urgency in this example from Lush Cosmetics:

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4. Spook-ify your subject lines.

Great Halloween subject lines should be creative, urgent, and specific. Embrace the cliché, because every other marketer will be. Here are some best-practice examples:

  • Celebrate Halloween with our terrifyingly good offers
  • Spooky Savings – Up to 50% off Off
  • Style so good, it’s spooky.
  • Did you hear who won the skeleton race? No BODY!
  • Witch better have my candy
  • Autumn enchantment just for you
  • Send your Boos some love

5. Personalise the trick (or treat).

Personalisation is the key to customer engagement and should be used from January to December, not just during the holidays. And that doesn’t just mean using a first name, either. You should include numerous relevancy points such as references to location, preferences or a loyalty scheme. We loved Starbucks’ spooky ‘Broomates’ rewards email. The Halloween spirit really comes through with the Gothic type and ghoulish treats.

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6. Halloween is great storytelling.

The history of Halloween is fascinating, so talk about it. Curate a story series on the origins of Halloween that complements any promotional campaigns you’re running. But don’t overdo it on the copy. Simplify your story with iconography and don’t digress from what you’re trying to say.

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7. Everyone loves a Halloween freebie.

Consumers are like trick or treaters – they expect free stuff. It doesn’t have to be anything substantial or super-lux. You can mask an everyday promotion under the guise of a spooky special offer. Over recent years, retailer Home Depot has slashed (no pun intended) 50% off select Halloween tableware. Last year, All Bar One offered 2-4-1 on their devilishly fruity ‘Bat Bite’ cocktail during Halloween week, prompting people to download their app.

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8. Right message, right time. Spooky, right?

Knowing your audience is important all year round. But at Halloween you’ll need to work out who your personas are and how you can target them.

Some might:

  • Throw/Attend a Halloween party
  • Carve a pumpkin and make pie or soup
  • Buy candy for trick or treaters
  • Take their kids trick or treating

Sick or treat? Don’t forget that not everyone celebrates Halloween; some despise it and avoid it like the plague. Tapping into their Halloween hatred is a clever way to make sales.

You can use all of the above to send a tailored marketing message that leads to a monster sales boost. According to the Halloween & Costume Association:

  • More than 9 in 10 celebrants purchase candies
  • 70% spend money on decorations
  • Nearly 7 in 10 buy costumes
  • A quarter of celebrants get greeting cards

So, give your time-strapped shoppers exactly what they want this October.

9. Don’t just be scary – be enchanting.

For some, Halloween is a creepy affair. For others, it’s a snug time of year. Think foliage, squash and conkers. Think crisp morning frosts and spiced pumpkin lattes. So, dilute your fangtastic emails with season-inspired campaigns that focus more on the historical and seasonal characteristics of Halloween.

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10. Put a spooky spin on retargeting ads.

Halloween is your opportunity to turn something inherently negative into something fun. Svedka Vodka’s Halloween curse campaign certainly had the creep factor, haunting and taunting users wherever they went.

The eerie banners made fun of the persistent retargeting ads that follow us today. This time, the onslaught of digital ads wasn’t that vacuum cleaner you viewed 29 days ago but spooky prompts and scrummy Svedka Vodka cocktails.

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11. Halloween-ify your products.

Anything can be Halloweenesque – even a motorcycle. Make sure you bring your products to the forefront. Halloween is a great opportunity to present your offering in a different and more visually creative way.

Witch tactic will it be?

Witchever tactic you adopt, just be fun! Halloween is the perfect opportunity to engage dormant contacts and delight regular customers. It all comes down to giving them a good spook and making them laugh. Remember that embracing the season is competitive. Whether you put a Halloween spin on your products, re-skin your emails with a ghostly template or tell chilling stories, your brand’s authenticity is what people will remember.

Want more fodder for your witch’s brew? Check out the recent webinar I did around omnichannel engagement strategies for a successful holiday shopping season!

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