While I have no doubt you can already smell the Thanksgiving turkey, another major retail opportunity is coming up even faster: Halloween.

Marking the beginning of the most profitable period of the year, Halloween spending is expected to reach a whopping $8.4 billion in 2016, the highest level in 11 years, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). According to a recent NRF survey, more than 171 million Americans will participate in Halloween celebrations this year, spending an average of $83 per person, primarily on costumes, candy and decorations.1Morad, Renee. Is America’s Social Media Obsession Pushing Halloween Spending To An All-Time High? Forbes. September 30, 2016.

Let’s look at consumer trends and short-term solutions that can help your company stand out and sell more this Halloween.

Halloween Marketing Trends

Since there’s so little time left before Halloween, let’s take a quick look at hot consumer trends that could impact your brand and your sales this month.

  • Millennials love Halloween: Halloween is not just for kids, as Millennials, aged 18-34, are the most likely of all adult cohorts to participate in Halloween activities. They spend an average of $42 on Halloween costumes (vs. $31 for all adults) and their intent to attend parties this year is up 11% from 2006.2Zeller, Allison. The Evolution of Halloween: 3 Trends to Watch. NRF. October 5, 2016.
  • Mobile is unstoppable: In 2016, mobile will account for more than 25% of all e-commerce sales in the United States.3Iyer, Venky Balakrishnan. The Best Laid Marketing Plans. strategy + business. October 3, 2016 Having a mobile-friendly online presence can help engage and convert shoppers who are willing to spend this Halloween.
  • Social marketing is a Halloween game changer: Social media sites like Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram are collectively the fastest-growing influencer of Halloween costume choices. Shoppers turn to these sites for inspiration and to showcase their creativity and humor.4Morad, Renee. Is America’s Social Media Obsession Pushing Halloween Spending To An All-Time High? Forbes. September 30, 2016.

Halloween Marketing Suggestions

Here are nine practical, short-term marketing solutions you can implement between now and Halloween to attract your target audience, differentiate your company and sell more products:

  • Create a seamless online experience: Make your digital, social and mobile presence captivating, simple to browse and, ideally, shoppable to encourage consumers to complete a product purchase with ease.5Iyer, Venky Balakrishnan. The Best Laid Marketing Plans. strategy + business. October 3, 2016
  • Get social: Create fun yet strategically relevant Halloween-themed social media posts to engage your audience and encourage interaction. Social marketing content could include Halloween-inspired recipes to make at home, clothing ideas for last-minute Halloween costumes and a contest on the cutest pet costumes.6Willoby, Shannon. Make a Killing in October: 10 Halloween Marketing Ideas. Scott’s Marketplace. October 2, 2014. Establish a genuine dialogue with your followers by asking and answering real questions.
  • Consider digital advertising: Particularly if your product relates to Halloween, invest in pay-per-click and native advertising, such as Facebook ads. Since today’s consumers are increasingly mobile and “always on,” use the digital space to connect with shoppers in the tight timeframe between now and Halloween.
  • Educate shoppers: For Halloween inspiration, retailers are engaging shoppers with helpful content. For instance, Whole Foods Market shares recipe ideas on Pinterest and Target celebrates “Epic Halloween” costumes on their website.7Zeller, Allison. The Evolution of Halloween: 3 Trends to Watch. NRF. October 5, 2016. Share Halloween party or makeup tips on your website and social media accounts to educate and inspire your customers.
  • Hold flash sales: If you have many social media followers, a strong email distribution list or an e-commerce shop, hold a flash sale, which is a sale that takes place during a very limited amount of time that same day to encourage impulse purchases. For example: “Hurry! Today only between the hours of 4:00 and 6:00 p.m. EST, get 31% off our entire line of products. Use promo code SPOOKY123.”8Willoby, Shannon. Make a Killing in October: 10 Halloween Marketing Ideas. Scott’s Marketplace. October 2, 2014.
  • Reward your customers: Create a seasonal promotion with customized discounts and special deals to thank your customers and earn their loyalty. Tell your best customers about a private sale. Make special coupons valid only on Halloween-eve.920 ways to scare up more business for Halloween. MissouriBusiness.net If you have time to distribute a Halloween-themed email newsletter, include a discount, special or promo code to entice buyers.1020 ways to scare up more business for Halloween. MissouriBusiness.net

Beyond these general marketing suggestions, consider applying these category-specific solutions to sell more at Halloween:

  • Food and beverage: This year fewer families plan to go trick-or-treating due to increased concerns over food ingredients like sugar, gluten and nuts. If your food or beverage products are free from ingredients like these, position your products as a healthy and even safe alternative for consumers and their loved ones.11Zeller, Allison. The Evolution of Halloween: 3 Trends to Watch. NRF. October 5, 2016.
  • Pet care: A study found 16% of consumers plan to dress up their pets this Halloween, so capitalize on consumers’ enthusiasm for their four-legged family members by integrating a Halloween theme into your pet product marketing.12Zeller, Allison. The Evolution of Halloween: 3 Trends to Watch. NRF. October 5, 2016. Tap into the emotions of playfulness and love with your marketing efforts, including funny and tender images.
  • Beauty, personal care and hygiene: Share how your products can help consumers with such tips as how to apply makeup to achieve different effects and enhance your Halloween costume, or how to remove your Halloween makeup with ease.

Since Halloween represents a fun and lucrative seasonal marketing opportunity, use these tips to market your products in a fresh, new way.

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1, 4. Morad, Renee. Is America’s Social Media Obsession Pushing Halloween Spending To An All-Time High? Forbes. September 30, 2016.
2, 7, 11, 12. Zeller, Allison. The Evolution of Halloween: 3 Trends to Watch. NRF. October 5, 2016.
3, 5. Iyer, Venky Balakrishnan. The Best Laid Marketing Plans. strategy + business. October 3, 2016
6, 8. Willoby, Shannon. Make a Killing in October: 10 Halloween Marketing Ideas. Scott’s Marketplace. October 2, 2014.
9, 10. 20 ways to scare up more business for Halloween. MissouriBusiness.net
Lisa Goller

Lisa Goller is a marketing and communications professional with over 15 years of experience serving retail, consumer goods, B2B and technology companies. She helps businesses tell their story through irresistible content marketing and strategic communications.

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