3 Ideas for Halloween Marketing 2012

Halloween is typically the second most important holiday for retailers. It is expected to drive more than $7 billion in U.S. retail sales beginning in September (if 2011 was an indicator).

The ghoulish holiday is not limited to costumes, candy, and the odd decoration; rather America’s obsession with Halloween extends to many retail segments, including everything from toys to pet supplies.

For example, a 2011 study from the National Retail Federation and BIGresearch found that the average American was going to spend more than $70.00 for Halloween.

What follows are three suggestions for scaring up additional sales for an online or multi-channel retail business during the run-up to Halloween. As with any sort of marketing, these ideas will need to be customized to meet an individual marketer’s needs and goals. But in all cases the aim is to attract more potential customers and, thereby, increase the opportunity to make sales.

Hold a Contest

At its core, Halloween is about dressing up in costume and showing off. This exhibitionist nature lends itself to contest marketing, and perhaps the most obvious form would be a photo or video contest, wherein shoppers submit photographs or videos for a chance to win prizes.

A pet supply retailer, for example, might hold a pet costume contest. Entrants photograph a costumed pug, parakeet, or similar pet and submit the picture for a chance to win a year’s supply of pet toys and treats. The merchant could promote the contest on its site, Facebook page, or Pinterest. Banner, print, and even radio advertising might be employed to spread the word about the contest.

This retailer announced its 2011 pet costume contest in a blog post and on Facebook.

This retailer announced its 2011 pet costume contest in a blog post and on Facebook.

Other Halloween photograph contests might feature inside decorations, outside decorations, crafts, costumes for kids or adults, or homemade treats.

There are other forms of contest marketing that could work too. Video or movie memorabilia retailers might ask for list of favorite Halloween movies. Sports retailers could ask patrons to name their favorite October surprises. A Christian bookstore could ask shoppers for a list of favorite Halloween alternatives.

Contest marketing is a great way to promote a retail business during the Halloween selling season.

Make a Video

Westlake Ace Hardware, which operates hardware stores in seven U.S. states and has an ecommerce site, is an excellent example of how content and video may be used to attract thousands of site visitors.

As a matter of course, Westlake publishes how-to videos on its YouTube channel, which at the time of writing had more than 640,000 video views.

In 2011, the company released a series of Zombie-related videos as part of its Halloween promotions. The five video series generated more than 61,000 video views and garnered national media attention.

Almost any retailer with a camcorder can produce some kind of Halloween-related promotional video. These videos should be entertaining and shareable.

Video content marketing is always a good idea, but is especially good during the Halloween shopping season.

Offer Halloween Bundles

Bundling products together is a great way to sell items during the Halloween shopping season and attract curious site visitors.

As an example, a specialty food supplier might offer Vampire Survival Kits that include a selection of pastas and garlic-rich sauces shipped with wooden bowls and stake-shaped utensils.

An outdoor equipment merchant could sell Werewolf Hunting Kits, including red-lens flashlights, neck gaiters, and crossbows, and hardware stores like Westlake could offer Zombie Survival Kits complete with pneumatic nail guns.

The goal here is to put together a themed bundle that can be promoted on social media, via email, and as part of a press release.

These bundles can help drive Halloween sales.

Summing Up

Halloween is an important holiday for retail sales. There are many ways that merchants can market to Halloween shoppers, and among these are contests, video content, and Halloween-themed bundles.

Armando Roggio
Armando Roggio
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