You’ve surely heard of news-jacking, but are you familiar with holiday-jacking? If it isn’t an official marketing term, it definitely should be. The bigger the holiday, the larger the interest among the consumers and the associated volume of search on Google. By effectively targeting your marketing materials to upcoming holidays, you can capture the interest of consumers who are attuned to the season.
Getting the context of your content marketing right isn’t always easy, but focusing on important days can give you an automatic “in” with a larger audience.
The time to begin considering Halloween marketing is definitely now. Researchers have found that key phrases which include “Halloween” can drive a staggering 506 million searches a year, and that consumer interest peaks in September. Here are some creepy, crawly, and sure-fire ways to target your upcoming content to one of the most beloved holidays:
1. Tell a Real-Life Horror Story
Halloween marketing gives you a rare opportunity to be both dramatic and negative in your outreach efforts. Delay your next case study’s publication in your editorial calendar a bit, and focus your efforts on creating a scary story about what your buyer personas can expect if they don’t buy your product. Depending on your audience, you can be as fantastic or data-driven as you like. There’s definitely research to back up this approach, too - scientists have long known about a phenomenon called the “negativity bias,” which causes humans to pay more attention to bad news than positive content.
2. Leverage a Familiar Tale
For centuries, content creators have been writing fascinating and frightening tales about late October. From Count Dracula to Frankenstein, there are a myriad of non-copyrighted characters to draw from for your Halloween marketing efforts. The inclusion of brand characters has been found to increase engagement on social media networks as much as 585%. Creating visual or written content which combines your custom messaging with a well-known Halloween legend could significantly increase your appeal and shareability factor.
3. Call for User-Generated Content
If there’s any surefire way to get your fans’ talking, it’s to ask them about their Halloween plans. Whether you’re calling for photos of costumes or images of their Jack-O-Lantern, inviting your audience to share their custom content in a contest can provide you with a wealth of resources to share on social media or your blog.
Even if your company’s products or services have nothing to do with pumpkin-carving or cat ears, it could be an incredibly effective way to increase engagement. IdeaLaunch reports that publishing user-generated Halloween content to social channels lead to 300% increases in website traffic.
4. Spin an Existing Offer
Did you hear about that one time the US Center for Disease Control (CDC) got over 77,000 Facebook likes? It was all attributed to a content offer they created called “Disaster Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse guide.” By leveraging the existing buzz that surrounds the popular television show The Walking Dead, the organization was able to gain huge attention. You may not have the time to create a brand-new Zombie or Vampire-themed offer, but could you add an undead twist to an existing eBook or white paper for Halloween marketing? It could yield similarly remarkable results.
5. Share Your Halloween Celebration
Social media users and blog readers love getting a behind-the-scenes look at the brands they follow. If your colleagues are planning to don costumes and gather around a green bowl of punch for an hour or two on Halloween, snap a few pictures of your celebration and share on your blog. It could be one of the easiest ways to humanize your company and create likeable Halloween marketing.
6. Map Your Product to Halloween
When you think of clothing retailer Land’s End, what comes to mind? It’s probably sensible, high-quality casual clothes, right? The organization managed to map their brand to Halloween marketing a few years back in an incredibly effective email campaign which showcased ways their products could be used to build costumes. Whether you launch a full-scale campaign or simply make a mention of it in your newsletter, leverage any possible way to connect your product to the holiday.
7. Hand Out Halloween Marketing Treats
If there’s anything that unites consumers, it’s a love for anything that’s free. Free things are even better if they’re seasonally-appropriate and useful. Whether your company is in the business of selling hardware or business consulting, you can observe the holiday by offering creepy freebies to your customers as a gift-with-purchase or simply a way to say “thanks.” Whether you opt for gummy eyeballs or pumpkin carving kits, MarketingSherpa’s Adam Sutton believes this action can boost interest in your Halloween marketing efforts - even if your product isn’t remotely related to your customers’ celebrations!
8. Target Your Halloween Communications
It may be tempting to deck your Facebook page out in a sea of black and orange, but remember - holidays mean different things to different people. There’s no better way to ensure your Halloween marketing fails than to simply post a string of anything holiday-related. Sutton recommends spending some time thinking about what the holiday means to your buyer persona. Are they the parents of young children preparing to go out Trick-or-Treating? Or are they more upscale consumers who think in terms of a harvest season? Be sure to understand how your buyer personas are likely to observe the holiday to best target your blog, social media, emails, and other forms of content.
9. Create a Video
Custom video production can be costly and time-consuming, but Halloween marketing could be your best chance to see a serious ROI. eCommerce brand Westlake Ace Hardware created a series of how-to videos around October which resulted in viral numbers of views on YouTube, and national media attention:
Halloween is one of the few times each year when nearly any brand can be as silly, scary, or strange as they like. And what better way to showcase your company’s dark side than with a video?
Whether or not your brand will directly benefit from the $7 billion in retail sales that occur around Halloween, you can certainly benefit from the attention that surrounds the holiday. By leveraging old tales and new platforms, you can watch your metrics soar at a rate that could only be described as “spooky.”
How are you planning to integrate Halloween marketing concepts into your content marketing strategy?