Trick…or Treat?

Trick or Treat?

Pinch, punch! It’s the first of the month, once again. I love October, but while most (normal) people are already thinking about Christmas preparations and planning for the party season, marketers have to make sure they don’t get ahead of themselves. That’s because, with every year that goes by, us Brits celebrate seasonal events a little bit more like the US does and Halloween is certainly no exception.

Watch this space – social media is very soon to explode with spooky selfies, creepy (okay, sexy) costumes and wickedly delicious home-baked Halloween recipes.

As a business, you have to grab these trends with both hands – after all, where there’s a trend, there’s a marketing opportunity.

So how can you begin to use this time of year to build your business? Now is the perfect time to conjure up some creative creepiness to get your consumers talking about your product or service over the competition.

There are many ways to get started and seeing as I’m an advocate for this devilish season, I’ve listed a few ideas to help get you started!

#1 A great place to start is your logo – I’m sure it could be a little spookier! Whether you want to throw a spiders web here or a pumpkin there, make sure your graphic designer still carries the company branding on through the process. You don’t want to be unrecognizable. This may just been for your social media accounts, special promotional banners and posters or if you’re feeling particularly creepy, why not include some spooky surprises hidden within your website?

#2 If you specialise in a particular product, why not make spooky versions of said product? For example, if you sell boutique baby clothes, your baby Halloween costumes will go down a treat.

#3 Speaking of treats, many youngsters will be going trick or treating, pumpkin carving, apple picking etc – have a think about some Autumnal activities that you could take advantage of – for example, giving away trick or treat bags with your logo on them, creating pumpkin stencils with your logo on etc.

#4 If you have a series of products, creatively bundling a few together to make a special Halloween package is a great attention grabber. For example, if you specialise in haberdashery, bundle together a Halloween craft kit complete with orange and black felt, spider web wool, googly eyes and pipe cleaners spiders!

#5 For restaurants or businesses that provide food and drink products, this is a great opportunity to create some limited seasonal specials! Take some inspiration from businesses like Starbucks, who’s customers can’t get enough when their pumpkin spiced latte every time it comes into season, or Greggs the bakers, who always come up with seasonal buns and cakes complete with novelty jewellery. Even something as simple as giving your most popular recipes novelty names on your menu or specials board will get your customers in the spirit of the season – bat stew, pumpkin soup, witches brew and zombie cocktails will certainly do the trick!

#6 If you’re not getting regular content up on your website – you should be. Not only is this great for your search engine rankings, but it gives you a great platform to tell the world about what your up to (I mean, in more that 140 characters). So if you’re the designated blogger, get topical and write about what you’re doing as a company for Halloween. This could include fancy dress competitions, company parties, information and photographs about limited products or services, prizes and giveaways, Autumn trails, events or fundraisers – there are endless opportunities!

#7 Fancy dress is of course a must for this time of year and encouraging your staff to get dressed up not only looks good on a shop floor or behind a bar but also gives non customer-facing staff members a chance to shine with endless photo opportunities. Even replacing your ‘Meet the Staff’ images to ones of them donning spooky outfits is a simple but effective way to carry your theme throughout your website. If you are going to dress up however, make sure it’s of a reasonable standard – getting your staff enthused is key here and you will find that if you get them in the spirit, they will go the extra mile to look good for the event or occasion. For example, I always make sure to visit a bar in Leeds called Fab Café around this time of year as I know that the staff there make a special effort when it comes to creative costumes.

#8 Deals and discounts! Make special Halloween cuts for the holidays or special coupons that are only valid before the clock strikes midnight on Hallows Eve…

#9 Making all these deals, great offers and specially themed products are no good if no one knows about them! Why not give your newsletter a special theme this month and include all the special seasonal news?

#10 Growing your online (and in particular, your social) presence is a mixed bag, but there’s one thing that is sure to get people flying your online flag – giveaways! People love freebies and by giving prizes or treats away in competitions, to a few valued customers or other will get you a great online reputation. So use the season to make themed giveaways! They could be Autumn themed, spooky themed or even Guy Fawkes themed – as long as your logo or branding is made clear either on the product, packaging or on a business card to go along with it, use think outside the box…use your braaaaaains and make an impact this October.