Jeepers creepers–it’s almost Halloween 2014! Are you aware of just how profitable Halloween can be for both B2C and B2B businesses large and small? It’s a known fact that Halloween is the second-most commercial American holiday of the year, outdone only by Christmas regarding profits. And the sweetest fact of all regarding Halloween: most of the profits come from candy purchases. (Perhaps it’s time to invest in a candy-corn-and-pumpkin farm…)
Halloween pop-up stores (like Spirit Halloween, with multiple South Jersey locations) that occupy vacant retail space typically are open for approximately two months. The owners clean up in sales before disappearing like a spirit in the night. (Check out that last link, Bruce Springsteen fans.)
Tour operators and event-planning businesses cash in on ghostly walking excursions, tours of haunted homes, and more. In Philadelphia, the famous Eastern State Penitentiary is a profit center both year-round and at Halloween.
I realize there isn’t enough time this year to act upon the ideas I’m about to share with you. Please bookmark this post in your “future/exploratory marketing ideas” folder and plan for next year. You now have 368 days to pull off something spooktacular in 2015:
Don’t Visit a Haunted House–Create Your Own: Want to boost your retail floor traffic or give your clients something to talk about? Set up a “scary section” or mini haunted house in your retail space or business office. Be sure to blend aspects of your profession into the Halloween-themed decor.
Depending on how much you invest into this “home-imBOOment” project, ask for a suggested donation (rather than charging an entrance fee) and designate a local nonprofit organization as the recipient of all your monetary trick-or-treating. Invite everyone you know to “come up to the lab” (so they can see what’s on the slab).
If this experience turns out to be more worthwhile (i.e., profitable) than your current job or business, consider becoming a Hauntrepreneur. Haunted houses are big business!
Want Some Customized Candy, Little Business Owner?: Consider designating a portion of your marketing budget for custom-wrapped candy. (Halloween-sized treats will allow you to maximize distribution.) Ensure the wrapper includes your logo or company name and at least one piece of contact information.
But instead of handing out the treats only at your office or retail location, offer an incentive for friends and customers to help with your distribution efforts. (Identify the specific geolocations where you want to promote your business.)
Ask the aforementioned friends and clients/customers to hand out your hermetically sealed confections at home when the juvenile trick-or-treaters come a knocking on October 31st.
Online options for sourcing your sugar-coated campaign include Branders Promotional Items, iCandy Wrappers, Oriental Trading Company, Successories, and Show Your Logo. With a little effort (via spreadsheet or Word table) you can track your campaign, so ask for all leftover candy to be returned!
Crowdsource a Business Expo, Halloween Style: Consider co-renting a vacant retail space with other local business owners (i.e., form a Halloween cooperative!). Sponsor a Halloween-themed mini business expo or business card exchange, but do it pop-up style like the seasonal Halloween stores do. (Again, Spirit Halloween is a directional benchmark.)
You can even raise money for a kid-related nonprofit or collect candy (to be donated) at the door as part of the admission price. So that your future attendees aren’t confronted with a parental dilemma on 10/31, schedule your expo a week to a few days before Halloween (rather than on All Hallows’ Eve).
Since this won’t be a traditional Halloween party, costumes can be optional. Have fun storming the (Halloween) castle!
Walk Like an Egyptian’s Mummy or Conduct a Haunted Conference Call: Work with a local tour operator or event planner to put together a Halloween-themed event. Invite your business peers to join you for a ghostly walking tour at a notable destination or venue in your area.
Once you enter “ghost walking tours” into Google’s friendly inquiry turbine (on the Internets), many options will present themselves. For example…
Pennsylvania’s Bucks County is considered by some a haunted mecca worthy of pilgrimage. Also, there are claims that the collegiate town of Princeton is haunted. Some of my South Jersey compadres might want to devise a DIY tour through selected parts of the Pine Barrens.
Another possibility: schedule a large-scale seance. For an authentic, hair-raising experience, hire a medium who channels messages from beyond the grave.
This is exactly what Tobi Schwartz-Cassell of Franks and Beans Communications did via her “Halloween on the Farm” event in Moorestown on October 22 (featuring local South Jersey master psychic and medium, Carole Tollen).
Ouija-a-Thon Fund-Raiser–Who’s with Me?: We’ve all either participated in or sponsored someone raising money for a walk-a-thon, bike-a-thon, dance-a-thon, or some other variation of the “thon” event.
Do you envision a humorous fund-raiser to complement your Halloween business plan? Or do you instead anticipate a more serious attempt at communicating with loved ones no longer living in the physical world?
Regardless of your intent, consider organizing a Ouija-a-thon to raise money for a designated charity in your local community. I guarantee you know plenty of people whose abandoned Ouija boards are gathering dust in a basement or attic.
If possible, convince a few local celebrities to attend your Ouija-a-thon, and have them sign some donated Ouija boards. Then auction off these creepy collectibles before the last spirit summoned spells out his or her prophetic message. Just beware of Captain Howdy…
Transform Your Business Card into a Spooky Promotion: At very little cost to you (think Vistaprint, Overnight Prints, or Got Print), produce a seasonal batch of Halloween-themed business cards before the beginning of October. Use the cards to offer some type of discount or redeemable coupon.
As soon as October 31st rolls around, start carpet bombing them everywhere you (and your employees) frequent in the local community and surrounding region.
If you carry a payroll (of more than one), imagine how far and wide your macabre cards will travel! Consider calling them your “Creepy Courtesy Cards,” and keep track regarding how many are redeemed by October 31.
Other Ghoulish Resources for a Profitable Halloween 2015:
- Link-Assistant.com (Ultimate Guide to 2014 Halloween Marketing)
- Squareup.com (6 Halloween Marketing Ideas for Local Businesses)
- PredictableProducts.com (8 Halloween Ideas from Real Live Marketers)
- Ntent.com (5 Spooktacular Marketing Ideas for Halloween)
Have you ever “piggybacked” a promotional event for your business or retail store via the sugary smorgasbord known as Halloween? If so, what type of event or promotion did you run, and what were the measurable results? What are your thoughts regarding my brainstorming efforts here–are you tempted to try any of these ideas for Halloween 2015?
I’ll leave you with this entertaining collection of devilish “Dad jokes” from Buzzfeed. Bonus link: Learn more about the Stanley Hotel in Colorado, Stephen King’s inspiration for his tale of “redrum” terror, The Shining. Happy (almost) Halloween, dear readers!
Lori Shapiro is the owner of By All Writes LLC, a business-to-business (B2B) writing, editing, and research company in Marlton, New Jersey. She revels in shielding her clients from the pain of writing their own print and web marketing or educational copy. Please call Lori Shapiro at 856-810-9764 or email By All Writes LLC at firstname.lastname@example.org for a no-obligation project quote today!