6 Last-minute Ways Your Business Can Capitalize on Halloween

Quick Halloween marketing tricks to treat your customers right.
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Taking advantage of the Halloween season can be as simple as decorating your small business or offering treats to customers. (Photo: 5PH/Shutterstock)

Don’t be scared if your Halloween marketing ideas didn’t materialize as planned. The National Retail Federation’s 2016 survey predicts that “more than 171 million Americans plan to celebrate Halloween this year, spending an average of $82.93,” so there’s plenty to go around. Your small business can still earn its share with these quick Halloween marketing tips.

Even if it’s too late to add Halloween merchandise to your shelves, there are still ways to capitalize on this spooky season.

Decorate

Add festive Halloween decorations to your storefront or place jack-o-lanterns on your restaurant’s tables. Decorations help patrons get in the mood for the holiday, and you can find plenty of decorating ideas via sites like Pinterest if you’re feeling especially crafty.

Get your customers in on the decorating by providing Halloween coloring pages for children and designating some wall space to display their artwork. Copies and bulk crayons are inexpensive ways to keep the smallest customers happy while also providing nearly free decorations for your business.

Create a special offering or display

Just like Halloween costumes of old, created from items found around the house, you can also create interesting displays from items you already have in stock. Put masks on your mannequins. Group orange or black items together and use the strong colors to increase visual interest.

Place often-forgotten but necessary items near the register such as insect repellent, reflective tape, glow sticks and sturdy bags for candy collection. Offer special discounts or treats to customers who come dressed in costume on Halloween.

You could also use a special seasonal display to attract attention to inventory that has been slow to move. Organize a display around the 200 jars of honey in your storeroom and provide tantalizing recipes in which to use the honey.

Host a Halloween party

Celebrate the holiday with your customers by hosting a Halloween party just for them. Serve free refreshments and food and offer a prize for the best costume. Have your employees dress up for the occasion to enhance the party atmosphere.

(Photo: Arina P Habich/Shutterstock)

(Photo: Arina P Habich/Shutterstock)

‘Trick or Treat’

Team up with other businesses nearby to provide trick-or-treat stops on Halloween. Offer discounts or prizes to adults while the kids gather treats. Make sure to take advantage of your email newsletter and social media to announce the event and promotions.

Another option is to provide treats at stations scattered throughout your business. This encourages customers to explore and, perhaps, discover a product or service they hadn’t noticed before.

Launch a photo campaign

Social media becomes a Halloween photo frenzy in October. No way should your business miss out on the fun or the additional followers.

Why not launch your own Halloween photo campaign on your favorite social media site? You could have an online Halloween costume contest on Facebook by asking followers to post their Halloween pics and offering a gift card to the winner with the most “likes” for their photo.

You can combine your photo campaign with an event like your Halloween party or provide a special backdrop or photo stop to customer so they can take fun Halloween photos. Then ask them to share their photos using your business’s hashtag.

Cultivate media attention

Wouldn’t you love some media attention for your small business? It turns out that local media want to give your business that attention.

According to Josh Elledge, founder of upendPR.com, a PR firm for small business specializing in low-cost tools and training for startups, “The media always love original ways that small businesses celebrate holidays.”

“If you are doing good in your community,” he said, “celebrate it with others by having your story told.” Elledge suggested:

“Think of ways that you can incorporate your service or product into an early trick-or-treating-themed promotion.” Perhaps your hair salon could offer a haircut special for costumed children or promote an afternoon trick-or-treating event in your business for younger children whose parents would prefer to get them into bed on time Halloween night.

“Work with a local school or youth organization and email your local TV stations and newspapers about it.” Become a donation sight for Halloween costumes that no longer fit and donate those to a shelter before Halloween for shelter residents to use.

“Pay attention to Halloween-related news stories or trending subjects.” For example, Elledge said, this year you might “Designate your business as a ‘guaranteed scary clown-free zone’ and explain it seriously but tongue-in-cheek to your local reporters and producers via email.”

Elledge advised small businesses to search the web for news stories that inspire marketing or publicity ideas. Then, show local media how your business’ activity connects to that national story. And, he added, “Don’t worry about getting rejected for a bad idea. It doesn’t hurt to try! You never know what may inspire a great news story that features your business.”

Even if you miss the window to capture Halloween business this year, remember that you can adapt these quick tips for any holiday.

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