Non-spooky Halloween best practicesConfused by the title of this blog post? Halloween is meant to be spooky, right?

Absolutely, but email marketing isn’t! When was the last time one of your campaigns freaked you out? When you were convinced you’d get a huge amount of engagement but nothing transpired? Or was it when you completely screwed up the subject line and had to send a grovelling apology moments later?

Email marketing should be predictable, enjoyable and one of the most cost-effective forms of marketing you have to hand.  And there’s nothing spooky about that.

With that in mind, and with Halloween fast approaching, I thought I’d list some email marketing best practices for what is now a highly celebrated time of the year in the UK (you can thank the Americans for that).

Get some user generated content!

Halloween is a great time to involve your customers in your marketing campaigns.

User generated content is highly effective in all forms of marketing. However, you need a hook and something to tempt people to get involved. That’s what makes a UK-wide date of significance like this so useful.

There’s a tonne of stuff you can try. For instance, why not encourage your customers to share their Halloween costume ideas? Or reveal the loot their kids have managed to obtain following a round of trick-or-treating?

Throw in the offer of a prize for the best entry and you’ll start to get some great user generated content that should magnetise these people to your brand. They’ll want to get involved in future campaigns of this kind, too!

Run some flash sales

Depending on the industry in which you reside, flash sales might feel a bit beneath you. But, if truth be told, they’re a great option for virtually any business when it comes to times of the year like Halloween.

People will intrinsically be looking for deals when there’s a day of national significance, and if retail outlets are leading the way, why not join in on the spooky fun?

You can have a play with words and imagery, just to ensure your emails get noticed in what are likely to be rather crowded inboxes. “Only treats – no tricks from us”, “BOO! Check out this awesome offer”.  That kind of thing will ensure plenty of your subscribers sit up and take notice when your message lands in their inbox this Halloween.

Go the opposite way

Why not be a devil and go all cosy and non-scary on Halloween? Remember – those inboxes will indeed be rather crowded. If your message arrives with an entirely different message that pokes fun (affectionately) at all the Halloween madness, you might just capture the attention of people who have had enough of pumpkins and Scream masks.

Think about what else is going on at this time of the year – principally, the season. Halloween takes place during autumn, which provides ample inspiration for beautiful email marketing content that really will stand out a mile among the ‘spooktacular’ stuff.

Go bad with your Halloween subject lines

You don’t need us to tell you how important subject lines are in email marketing (we bang on about it enough, after all), but the good news is Halloween gives you the chance to be a little braver with them.

If you’ve strayed far from puns and tongue-in-cheek corny lines all year, now is the time to let your guard down and get a bit silly.

Go properly corny with your Halloween subject lines. I poked fun at ‘spooktacular’ above, but I’ve absolutely used that word myself in previous email marketing campaigns at this time of the year. There’s no reason you shouldn’t, either.

A quick Google of pun-tastic Halloween subject lines for email marketing campaigns will give you all the inspiration you need. The more cringe-worthy they are, the better – trust me.

Link your email marketing ideas into the social media strategy

If your email marketing and social media marketing strategies typically reside in their own silos, Halloween should give you the perfect excuse to align them a little more closely.

The corny lines and flash sales you develop for email will work just as nicely on social, and in doing so, you’ll begin to build some great brand coherence. The effect of this can be powerful; people who receive your spooky Halloween emails but subsequently get distracted may later see a similar post from you on Twitter, thus reminding them to revisit their inbox and digest the content.

Cross-channel marketing at Halloween is something every business should get involved in. The great news is: it saves you a significant amount of time devising separate strategies for each channel!

Don’t forget to segment

Halloween won’t be of interest to everyone, nor will particularly spooktacular (there you go – I used it again) offers be relevant to each of your subscribers.

With that in mind, it’s vital that you segment your subscriber list before you start sending out Halloween emails.

If you conducted some Halloween email marketing last year, take a look back at the statistics and find out who did and didn’t engage with them. Those who did are prime targets for the juicy stuff you want to send out. The others may be best left alone to avoid spam complaints or unsubscribes.

The same goes for the demographics of your audience. Celebrating Halloween has indeed been a fairly recent phenomena we appear to have picked up from the lovely people across the Atlantic.  Therefore, it’s not unreasonable to assume that younger generations might be more susceptible to Halloween-related marketing tactics.

While reviewing your statistics from last year, make sure you also pay particular attention to the times of day during which you received the best engagement. Aim for similar timings this year.

Go for it with the spooky design

My last tip is the one where you can have the most fun – or, at least, your designer can.

Email marketing at Halloween offers so many opportunities to get creative with the digital paintbrush. You can turn your logo into something spooky. Add pumpkins to product shots. Spray everything in fake spider web.  If you’re feeling particularly brave, dress the team up in Halloween outfits for an attention-grabbing hero image.

Aim for funny and endearing with your Halloween email design. Cute works, too, depending on your audience. Just remember to keep your tongue firmly in your cheek while designing those emails. Getting too serious about Halloween will make your emails dreadfully dull.

Wrapping up

Have fun with your Halloween emails. This time of year where can really let your hair down. Have some fun with this brilliant form of marketing.

Please comment below with any of your self-frighteous puns.  If you have the guts!