The most effective small business marketing tips are those that are contextual. Take relevance away and all you have is a generic approach. Some tricks or advertising ideas may still work but they would not be assuredly effective. Use contextually relevant small business marketing tips and they will at least garner attention. Of all the Halloween small business ideas or tips you may endorse, you should try to use merchandise in the context of the festivities.
- From weddings to celebrations at the turn of a year, public events to specific festivals, sky lanterns have become very popular. Sky lanterns can resemble the jack-o’-lantern. You can get the exact color of a pumpkin, the shape can be even better to emulate a face and the design or the cut out to mark the eyes, nose, mouth and teeth. You may also try animals, symbols and signs or any specific message in the classic sky lanterns. The lanterns come in myriad shapes and hues so you wouldn’t run out of designs or uniqueness. These are indeed relevant and apt for Halloween.
- Give out candy-filled trick-or-treat bags for the month of October. Buy small bags and fill them with a few pieces of candy each. Be sure to include a business card in each bag or a coupon for a return visit and hand them out to paying customers. You can also give out a code word (“Trick or treat,” “Boo!” etc.) on various social media sites like Facebook and Twitter that customers will need to say when they come in to get their goody bag.
- Hold a “show us your best costume” contest. Use Facebook to hold a virtual costume contest where customers post pictures of themselves dressed up. (Or their pets!) The photo with the most ‘likes’ at the end of the time frame you specify wins a gift card to your store. Be sure to offer a consolation prize to your followers, which could be anything from 31% off with a promo code or a $5 gift card to your store.
- Come October, Starbucks is one of the first to roll out their pumpkin spiced goodies. Give a few gift cards to loyal customers, a small gesture even for a cup of coffee can go a long way. If you are in the culinary or food business, revamp your menu and give it an autumnal twist. More apple and cinnamon, and pumpkin based recipes? Yes please! Halloween inspired decoration too? Sounds like a winner!
- Welcome trick-or-treaters into your business. Children out trick-or-treating will have their parents with them. If you advertise that you’re offering a special trick-or-treat gift for children, you’ll have a chance at reaching new customers through their parents.
- Offer a free reusable trick-or-treat candy bag with purchase. If your target market is likely to have children, have bags printed up with your logo on them and give them to customers who spend ‘X’ amount. Parents can use the bags for shopping long after Halloween is over, making this great publicity for you.
- How about a discount for people visiting your store in their Halloween costumes? Something like this will certainly get people talking and coming through the doors.
- Photo contests on social media are huge. Why? Because people love uploading photos. So why not make a competition where people have to upload a photo of their pet in a Halloween costume or best pumpkin carving for the chance to win a prize. The prize could be anything, from a free dinner for two, to a holiday for two.
- Put up Halloween decorations in your business, or change the layout on your website to make it more festive for the Halloween season. Your customers will have a lot of fun with this.
- Send out Halloween themed email newsletters. Email newsletters are a great way to reach your target market, and when you switch things up by giving yours a theme, you’ll recapture your subscribers’ interest. Try something silly like an email subject that says, “Prices so low it’s SCARY!” and then change up the names of some of your products and use a discount to entice buyers. Include any other specials you’ll be having throughout the month of October or promo codes.
- Halloween marketing is a month-long chance to re-market old products in a new way. Get into the spirit of the season by switching up the words you use to promote your products to capture attention of your consumers, and always offer discounts and giveaways when possible.
- Run a costume contest on your website. Have people send in pictures of themselves in their costume, and offer some sort of prize for the best one.
- Another great idea how to get people engaged and create some social buzz around your brand is asking your followers about their opinion on what the business owner should wear for a Halloween party. You can present a few options and then let the public decide. Whichever look gets the most likes wins. This is a sure-fire way to get people talking (and liking).
- Make special coupons that are valid only on days around Halloween. This will draw more people into your business on those days, which will attract more people in during the time you’re in costume or have the store decorated.
These are just a few creative ideas for how you can market your business around Halloween. The most important tip to remember, however, is to have fun with it. If you do, your customers will notice, and they’ll want to come back often!