It’s that leaf-crunchin’, apple pickin’, scarifyin’ time of year!

Everything around you is pumpkin-related, spiced or spooky. And as the end of October creeps closer, black cats, broomsticks, and bones seem to spring up everywhere.

But if you’re not selling jack-o’-lanterns or IT costumes (yes, that creepy clown seems very popular this year), is Halloween really a holiday marketers should care about?

Absolutely.

According to an annual survey by the National Retail Federation, Halloween spending will reach $8.8 billion this year. If you’re wondering where that stands in comparison to other years, that makes it the third-highest amount in 15 years.

172 million people plan to celebrate Halloween this year. So whether you’re in B2B or B2C, we suggest pulling up your spooky socks and getting to work on your Halloween marketing campaign.

Go big or ghost home?

“Ghost home.” Ouch. But it’s a season for puns, not all of them good.

A Halloween-themed email campaign should start with smart subject lines that sprinkle in a little Halloween wordplay but still serve as great CTAs. It’s the perfect time to test that pumpkin emoji you’ve been looking at. Just be sure to keep everything relevant. It’s too easy to be carried away by “boo”-related puns and bat graphics, so invest in messaging and design that’s more imaginative and doesn’t get buried in clichés.

But whatever you do, quickly relating the creative concept back to your product or service is essential.

Here’s an example of how a Halloween theme can “go big” across an omnichannel B2C campaign. While makeup certainly comes to mind when one thinks of Halloween, it’s more along the lines of face paint and glitter.

That’s why retail cosmetics brand Lush is a superb example of a brand that executes a powerful Halloween marketing campaign by relating their products to the holiday in a unique way.

Despite selling two fairly non-Halloween-esque products – bath bombs and body scrubs – their facebook campaign is relevant, creepy and cute all at once.

While that post has the most interactions, it was the first in a currently ongoing campaign that beautifully switches between adorable and chilling throughout the spooky season. What’s particularly powerful about this is that it’s just a body scrub – but the photography immediately relates it to something darker.

Social media is a solid avenue for engagement, particularly for a brand like Lush where you don’t want to email your audience every few days and overwhelm them with product announcements. By consistently posting thematically-congruent images and copy, Lush scares up better response.

But Lush complements its social media campaign with email that draws on the same spookified sources of inspiration. Here’s one that gives the customer a last-chance opportunity to grab seasonal specials:

Their website is tuned into the same idea – everything on their homepage is consistent with the countdown to Halloween.

All in all, this makes for a seamless, immersive customer experience that just screams Halloween.

Re-animating sales

A jolt of electricity to Dr. Frankenstein’s little re-animation experiment got his monster up and moving.  Why not use a similar tactic to animate sales lift during the Halloween window? It’s the right time to apply fun approaches that might be a bit offbeat for a brand.

This GIF-animated promotion from The Knot drives greater engagement from current registrants by offering the chance to win a $500 gift card just for reviewing their vendor list at the site. They know, of course, that users may take them up on a few featured offers at the site, or add other providers.

Black and orange is so in vogue for an October wedding…isn’t it?

Postable attempts something in the same vein. Though we’re not that sure about how effective Mr. Pumpkinhead is. That outfit does him no favors whatsoever.

Creep-ified content

As always, your audience doesn’t just want fun Halloween-related content – they also want it to be useful.

The U.S. Department of Energy provides a great example of this. Their video, “4 Tips to Keep Your Energy Bill From Haunting You” is fun and does a nice job relating helpful tips to the season.

Beyond this video, the Department of Energy developed other themed assets to play to the spirit of October. Their Spooky Energy Units Calculator, for instance, shows how your energy consumption stacks up against the energy found in candy (and chainsaw hours, because why not?) It’s fun, it’s consistent but most of all, it’s useful.

B2Beast: What’s the trick to treating yourself?

Okay, so a B2C marketer can get away with putting a ghoulish twist on their campaigns. But what if you’re in B2B?

B2B marketers need to work harder to make their holiday themes really resonate, and not simply look silly. Which is one reason many they may shy away from Halloween campaigns – and is exactly why a well-judged, well-executed campaign will have greater impact on the audience.

This example from Dun & Bradstreet from a few years ago highlights a great way to connect data and the Halloween spirit. It really makes a statement with its imagery and clear message, highlighted by a statistic taken from the accompanying report.

The timely image linked to a B2B Marketing Data Benchmark Survey, making an otherwise fact-heavy report (ironically enough) come to life.

Data storage and marketing site provider StorEDGE, on the other hand, uses email to deliver a time-sensitive offer for a free Amazon gift card just for filling out a demo form. This particular offer will turn back into a pumpkin at the stroke of midnight Halloween evening.

~ Erica