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Halloween Marketing Strategy: Ideas and Inspiring Campaigns (2023 Updated)

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Outline

It is a spooky October already and you can already hear children trick-or-treating. And as an online shop owner, it’s a matter of life and death that you plan a Halloween marketing campaign to take advantage of the holiday and bring home the big bucks. 

But before we dive in, we need to discuss something first, something that will give you a big edge this holiday season: Customer Ownership. It is such a game-changer, but there is surprisingly little conversation about it. 

So, what is Customer Ownership and why is it important? 

Customer ownership, in essence, means establishing contact between the business and the customer - by tracking their purchases, social circles, and actions before and after making a purchase. It may sound sinister, but it doesn’t have to be, and shouldn’t be. Customer ownership does not mean you own the customers. 

What customer ownership should be at its best is knowing how to engage the customers and using insights to influence their behavior, ultimately meeting their ever-changing appetite. An online store with many built-in tools will make this possible and automatic for you. And remember, customer ownership doesn’t mean buyers will become yours as soon as you deploy a new inventory tracking system. 

The reason this topic is so important is that with the knowledge of how your customers behave, where they live, their interests, friends, you can better tailor the shopping experience for them and keep them loyal. Otherwise, how can you compete against hundreds of others in the business? Cutting product costs alone won’t appeal to the buyers’ changing tastes. 

Unfortunately, many, many online businesses are aware of this situation and are paying big bucks to acquire customers, jacking the acquisition cost up through the sky. In such a feeding frenzy, you need to stand out by really getting to know your customers, and being there for and with them. 

Learn how the right customer service can help reap the best results in this video: 

With this in mind, let’s take a look at awesome inspiring Halloween marketing ideas that will impress some audience. 

I. Top 10 Inspiring Halloween Marketing Ideas You Can Adopt For Your Online Store

Now that we are touching on the main topic of the article, there is something you should keep in mind. These tips are general at best, and some might not be applicable to your niche products. Visual products like apparel or makeup will need different tactics from culinary products, for example. And in case you are selling appliances or online services, you will need to resort to more subtle campaigns, and so on. 

In a nutshell, you need to be flexible and choose carefully what idea to practice. Now, with that out of the way, let’s have a look. 

1.1. Hashtags for user-generated content 

This is one of the most effective ways to gain attraction for your products. It’s literally free marketing from your customers. The requirement for using this method is that your special Halloween product line must look completely different, or maybe you are setting a trend. 

After you have met the requirements, it’s time to take the game to social media. The simplest way is to create a memorable hashtag and wait for the trend to catch on among customers. 

One of the prime examples for using this Halloween marketing idea is Starbucks. Their drinks are very visually pleasing and outstanding. In 2017, they launched the Zombie Frappuccino, a green and purple drink that will stand out among the crowd, along with the hashtag #zombiefrappuccino, which has been shared and used over 30,000 times online. 

Starbucks’s Zombie Frappuccino
Starbucks’s Zombie Frappuccino

Starbucks’s Zombie Frappuccino and its social media presence

This year, Starbucks is about to launch a line of cups, including the brand new glow-in-the-dark cups and black cat mugs, and so on. 

Starbucks’s 2021 Halloween cups

Starbucks’s 2021 Halloween cups

Starbucks’s 2021 Halloween cups

Of course, you can be flexible with this method. If your products don’t rely on the visual side, you can host virtual contests on social media, like a design contest, or a video contest. Whatever it is, if done right, you can gain significant traction in no time. 

1.2. Selling holiday bundles

It’s a holiday and people are willing to spend more, and not only on costumes! If you don’t think a regular discount is enough, try upselling and cross-selling. Bundles usually look like crazy good deals, so customers with their FOMO triggers will try to buy more, thinking that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to buy so much at such a low price. 

For example, store A sells apparel. For Halloween, they can either offer a discount across the store and customers will buy 1 or 2 before thinking I have bought more than I need. However, they can group 3 or 4 products to make a full combo like “Shoes + Dress + Necklace” that is more likely to grab attention, and customers won’t feel like they have added too many things to the cart.  

1.3. Don’t forget to give your store a spooky look 

Just like how you would decorate your house during the big night, why not give your store a more festive look? The best Halloween marketing starts from the smallest details! 

If you don’t have a lot of experience with web design, simply using a Shopify app like 3D Seasonal Effects: Halloween will do the trick. That said, it’s far from perfect and is a one-size-fits-all, and may not tailor to your taste. 

Of course, it can be done as easily as uploading new photos of GIFs onto your website and displaying them at strategic positions. So, choose your weapon wisely, and your Shopify store can look as good as these: 

Kylie Cosmetics

Kylie Cosmetics showcasing its animated theme - Source: Shopify

Fashionova

Fashionova simply using new photos to create the atmosphere - Source: Shopify

1.4. Make small changes to your products

As mentioned above, this is extremely fitting if your products rely heavily on the visual element, such as apparel. But, what if you sell electrical appliances? Well, here is a wonderful Halloween marketing gimmick from Ring that will get customers interested, or at least make them want to share the new update to thousands more people. 

Ring is a company that sells doorbells, and they caught on to the festivity really well with new chime tones for their bells - wolf howling, bats scattering, or ghost sounds. If this doesn’t increase their sales, it at least brightens someone’s trick-or-treat night. 

1.5. Spook up your Google ads

Paid advertising can go a long way if utilized correctly. But you will need to be careful with what you put in the ad. 

The very first thing you need to do is to thoroughly research and analyze keywords and their trends. You need to hit where it matters! Only when you are sure which keywords will generate the most traction should you bid on them for your ads. 

After that, you need to make sure your ad copy is top-notch and click-worthy. These ads are integral to your Halloween marketing ideas. If done right, the copy will get customers curious and gain a lot more reach. 

1.6. Halloween-themed gifts

If Halloween-themed products are out of the question, or they just don’t seem enough for you, maybe consider spooking up your gifts as well. 

Of course, these free gifts are only meant to be promotional. But even if they don’t increase conversion drastically, they can lead to some fun Internet interaction, and ultimately traffic to your online store. 

Let’s have a look at Guiness when they launched new creepy shadow coasters that go with every Guinness pint bought in local pubs. Sure, this isn’t an online tactic, but cool nonetheless. Why is it great, you ask? Because such a cool and cute accessory can get customers to reach for their smartphone and share it on social media, creating user-generated content that will drive traffic upwards. 

Guinness’s shadow coasters - Source: peekandpoke

Guinness’s shadow coasters - Source: peekandpoke

1.7. Collab with other stores

As a business person, you should always be open for collaboration opportunities, especially during the holiday season. You should actively look for competitors or brands in a relevant niche, and make them your friend for October. 

We can’t give you a clearer instruction for this tip because, well, all brands and online stores are different, and we cannot pinpoint exactly what might make another brand suitable for collaborating with yours. So in order to carry out this Halloween marketing strategy, you need to be quite a visionary and look for possible creative solutions. 

It might be helpful to widen your network or inquire with other online store owners or join communities to see if anyone offers collaboration. 

1.8. Create an online minigame

If you can get creative with the game formats, there is absolutely no limit to what you can achieve. But, for simplicity reasons, there are 2 most common online minigame types: social sharing for interaction and lottery. 

The first type, social sharing for interaction is really simple. You display a prize, a giveaway, and ask customers to share their own experience, their photos with the products and give the prize to one who has gathered the most likes or comments or shares. This is a great yet simple way to drive user-generated content, and the only cost is the product that is being given away. 

The second type, lottery, is also simple. You can also offer a free prize, and have customers comment something under your social posts like a random number or a story, have them tag 3 friends if possible, and choose the winner randomly. Simple, yet effective!

1.9. Social media filters 

This Halloween marketing method is straightforward and crazy effective if you or your store already has a great social media presence. Social media platforms are your friends, especially Instagram and Snapchat. 

Making a filter is easy enough, but remember, it’s Halloween and a myriad of competitors might have the same idea as you, so you will need to stand out. Bring out your big guns, your flagship products and incorporate them into your filter. 

The only limit is your imagination!

1.10. Online events 

Since you are running an online store, and in this state where Covid is still present, an online event is the way to go!

When operating your store, you should consider building a community of customers that are willing to share and befriend each other. This is even more applicable and urgent if you are a popular figure with an established fan base and you are selling merch. 

Find creative ways to make your online event entertaining, host fun online games while you’re at it too! There are endless possibilities to what Halloween marketing tactics you can incorporate here - giveaways, rebranding, promoting user-generated content - you name it. 

You can even invite special guests to make a cameo, it will surely be a fun time for customers who have been working from home for a long time. 

Let’s take a look at Fortnite last year. Epic Games went big with their Fortnitemares event, they held an after-party concert with J Balvin, providing entertainment for millions of gamers. 

BONUS: Creating a successful holiday landing page has never been easier with PageFly’s template collection, which is built and customized based on our real high-converting pages. 

II. 5 Frightfully Spooky Halloween Marketing Campaigns

2.1. Svedka Vodka’s banner ad curse

Inspired by the creepiness of banner ads that haunt you everywhere you go on the Internet, Svedka Vodka took it to a whole new level. 

The campaign starts by presenting the “Curse Video”, a forced-view clip that once seen will subject viewers to a bombardment of digital ads that follow them everywhere. The ads’ messages include creepy messages and images of Svedka Vodka cocktails. 

Svedka Vodka’s banner ad curse

Svedka Vodka’s banner ad curse

The ads give an eerie feeling of knowing what you have said and posted on social media, especially if you have said good things about other vodka brands. And the only way you can break the ad curse is to visit the Svedka Vodka site and share their clickbait ads - you can’t end the curse, you can only pass it on. 

2.2. Marmite’s Trick or Treat jars

Last year, Marmite released 2 new packages for their products - the Trick jar serving as poison for haters, and the Treat jars as a potion for lovers. 

Even if it’s simple packaging at best, the reason why this campaign deserves a mention is that it is very much true to the brand. Marmite is notorious for its polarizing product, “you either love it or hate it” (literally their brand slogan).

Marmite’s Trick or Treat Halloween campaign

Marmite’s Trick or Treat Halloween campaign

2.3. Burger King’s Scary Clown Night

Burger King has debatably ripped off the then-popular movies It and Stranger Things to create this wonderful TVC. They seemed to have waged war with their competitors, most notably McDonald’s by featuring the clown mascot saying “I want my Whopper.”

In addition to that, they also decorated their stores with big white sheets on top with the words “McDonald’s”, implying McDonald’s is dead and can no longer hold a candle to them. 

Burger King has taken the festive atmosphere to heart, joining in on the joke as well as jumping on the pop-culture train to make such a memorable ad. They sure do know how to have fun this holiday season. 

Follow their example, don’t be afraid to go all out if it will get customers talking. 

2.4. Fanjoy cooperating with influencers

Who here hasn’t heard of Jake Paul at least once? Love him or hate him, he has a popular polarizing presence on social media. And Fanjoy, being THE platform for influencers to sell their merch, didn’t miss out on this opportunity for collaboration. So if you log on to Fanjoy, you could find the Jake Paul Halloween mask along with many other influencer-led products released for the spooky holiday season. 

Jake Paul Halloween Mask

Jake Paul Halloween Mask - Source: Shopify Plus

The mask although depreciated in price pretty soon from close to $10 to only $1 nowadays, but reeled in close to 1000 wishlist adds, many five-star reviews, and a ton of user-generated content - just what you should be fishing for!

2.5. Hulu’s Huluween

This is a particularly special event that required a bit more funding to work. But as one of the leading streaming services in the world, that isn’t that big of a problem for Hulu. 

Every year Hulu throws its own Halloween event, called Huluween. However, because of the Covid-19 pandemic disrupting social gatherings, they had to improvise a bit last year. 

So they held a 4-night, drive-in cinema, inviting horror lovers to enjoy horror flicks from the comfort of their own cars while also abiding by social distancing rules. 

Huluween 2020 drive-in

Huluween 2020 drive-in

Cars were to make their way through a haunted forest in Pasadena car park as characters from famous movies and TV shows gave them a jump scare. As viewers get out of the forest, they are shown to the movie-watching space to enjoy a Huluween snack box and the big screen. 

Wrapping things up 

Halloween marketing is a fun business endeavor for online store owners, no doubt. While it can be hard, there are endless possibilities and opportunities for you to make use of. As long as you can utilize your creativity and realize it, there’s nothing stopping you!

So for this year’s trick-or-treat season, we wish you the best and look forward to what you come up with! Don’t just let the customers have all the fun, join them too!

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