Five Halloween Marketing Tips

Halloween marketing isn't limited to those who sell candy corn and goblin masks. Any company can scare up some business during one of the most lucrative annual seasons if you're willing to be creative and stick your neck out a bit. Whether you're a real estate agent or a retail outlet, a restaurant or a repair shop, you're bound to transform browsers into customers with these five Halloween marketing tips.

Host an event

This is one of the most-employed Halloween marketing tactics, and it remains one of the best. Put on a haunted house and make sure all visitors go home with a sack full of branded promotional items. Partner with a local farmer or other businesses to make a cornfield maze, complete with branded challenges or riddles throughout. Launch a Halloween costume contest and name a winner each day in the week before Halloween - this can bring more customers in just so they can see costumed customers on off-days alone. Give a prize to each daily winner, such as a discount or a free item, and/or enter them into a drawing for a larger prize. And be ready to hand out candy and other goodies during trick or treat!

Get wild and crazy

No other holiday affords marketers so much creative license as Halloween. This is the season when your customers expect off-the-wall marketing strategies to permeate their worlds and entertain their souls. No one complains that Halloween is too commercialized, so take advantage of this easy-going marketing environment to attract and engage customers with disturbing (read: creatively invigorating) posters, postcards, catalogs, flyers, door hangers, and more. Have your designer go wild trying to scare your customers into making a purchase.

Inform and entertain (add value)

Add value to your promotional booklets, catalogs, brochures and newsletters by creating a special Halloween sale edition complete with ghost stories, haunted history facts, and creative Halloween decorating, food or party ideas. Incorporate your products into stories, hints and even history when possible. If you're a real estate agent and you're printing a newsletter that includes a ghost story about a haunted house, the story might read: "It was a dark and stormy night. The old house across the street had just been sold by MyRealty Company, and the new neighbors bore a striking resemblance to zombies ..."

Market early and often

You don't want to wait too long to start marketing your Halloween sales. Costume companies start sending catalogs at the end of August, and they'll send more than one by the time October rolls around. Postcards are a great way to promote special events, sales and discounts. Greeting cards - straight from Transylvania, no less - are a creative way to invite guests to your Halloween event. Like any direct-mail marketing campaign, a good mailing list and repetition are integral elements of success. If your customers are local, you can print posters reminiscent of old B-movies to earn attention and interest. The more you can put your message in front of your customers, the more likely they'll be to buy from you by All Hallows Eve.

Sew the Christmas seed

With Christmas just 55 days away, Halloween presents the perfect opportunity to begin your winter holiday marketing efforts. This is especially true for retail outlets and direct-mail catalog companies; but real estate agents, restaurants and service industries can all benefit from launching early Christmas promotions just before or after Halloween.