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Don't let the holidays sneak up on you!   

Exclusive marketing tips and ideas

to get your business ready for 2015 Holidays season!

   Part 1: Halloween

Ready or not — here it comes! The holiday season is just around the corner and for most businesses it's time to plan their marketing strategy for the most active shopping period of the year.

Millions of online shoppers start their holiday shopping rush, and sellers of all kinds are here to struggle for their attention. Standing out from the crowd and reaching out to your potential clients through this holiday frenzy might be a challenge for you. So, finished with our own holiday planning, we wanted to share with you these marketing tips and ideas for crafting your effective strategy for the coming holiday season.

This is the first part of the holiday marketing guide (more coming in a few weeks), helping you get the most of your Halloween marketing.

And it is not "just another guide" you've read a million times. We won't talk here about decorating your site with pumpkins and looking spooky, we'll talk about ENGAGEMENT and VIRAL things that will bring you traffic which would otherwise go to your competitors.

Ultimate guide to Halloween Marketing

Quick and easy Halloween ideas for your biz

Tips for effective Halloween marketing planning

Excellent examples of successful Halloween marketing campaigns

Best Halloween marketing ideas for your biz!

Halloween is the official kick-off of to the holiday season and this year nearly 158 million people will participate in Halloween activities in the U.S. alone. That means there's a huge opportunity for your business to join the celebration with some clever Halloween marketing.

Need some inspiration?

Here are the quick and easy Halloween marketing ideas to reach out to your customers and prospects and capture their attention this Halloween.

1. Hold a contest that really helps your biz

Holding a contest is one of the greatest ways to engage with your audience, attract extra traffic to your website, and grow the fan base on social media. And though it's an old-known truth, a rare contest out there is held in a way that really brings in some marketing value.

So, as the very nature of the holiday (fun, excitement, spoof and mystery) makes Halloween a perfect occasions to entertain your clients with a contest, here're some tips for you to do that right.

IDEA: A photo contest - "Best Halloween costume"

Dressing up for Halloween is a powerful tradition making lots of people plan and create their Halloween costumes (as well as dress up their children and pets) long before the event. To engage with this audience — host a Halloween costume photo contest.

IDEA: Make use of other Halloween traditions

Other good ideas for a Halloween contest are:

"Best pumpkin carving"
"Best Halloween dish"
"Best Halloween house decorations"
"Scariest Halloween Story"
"Scariest Halloween video"

Tip 1: Cut your contest idea to match your audience interests

Don't forget you need to cut a contest idea to match your brand and your audience interests — "The scariest Halloween story" can easily transform into "The scariest SEO horror story" and so on.

1. Sue Bee Honey — "all entrants must be bee-related"

2. Family Video — "all photos must be made in our shops"

Tip 2: Make the contest entries feature your logo, your products or relate to your brand

Get even more exposure for your brand — ask the contestants to feature your logo on the photos they submit or make the photo contest relevant to your business.

Tip 3: "Entry with the most likes wins"

Consider picking the contest winner by a voting on social networks. This is a great way to go viral, as it encourages the participants to go to their friends for votes and likes, thus spreading the word about your brand.

Tip 4: Use hashtags for better exposure

Consider using hashtags in your contest — so that the participants submit their entries not to your specific page, but to their own social accounts. This can help your contest reach out to a wide audience.

2. Launch a game that turns the main Halloween event on the Web!

Another great idea matching the Halloween mood is engaging your customers into a funny and spooky Halloween game. Offering some kind of prizes guarantees you'll attract even more participants.

IDEA: A "pumpkin hunt" quest

Pumpkin hunt is a fun Halloween take-off of the Easter egg hunt. Hide Halloween pumpkins all over your website and ask your visitors to find them.

The "pumpkin hunt" idea can be easy transformed into saving your website from monstrous invasion, gathering candies, catching the flying bats or anything else that matches the Halloween theme — it's up to you and your fantasy.

Tip 1: Let participants better learn your website or your product

Make sure to hide the pumpkins on "strategic" pages of your site — those you'd like your visitors to see and read through. Also, if you are offering some kind of a software app — let your users learn more about its great features by hiding the pumpkins inside your software.

Link-Assistant.Com — "We've hidden spooky Halloween pumpkins in a special SEO PowerSuite's Halloween edition"

Tip 2: Make participants come back to your site and stay there as long as possible

Try inventing the game idea that makes participants go back to your site over and over again and stay there as long as possible - this way you're getting more chances they'll read and learn about you.

Tip 3: Offer tips for the quest on your social accounts

This way you're likely to encourage more people to follow your social media accounts and grow your social media fanbase.

Simply Mac — "The only way you'll know when the pumpkins are going up is if you become a fan on Facebook or follow us on Twitter. We'll be telling you there when a pumpkin is on the loose, so get following!"

Tip 4: Consider partnering with other websites and businesses

This will let you expand your reach to partner's client base.

Tip 5: Try attracting sponsorship

If you plan your contest for a wider public — try targeting sponsors. Lots of specialty shops and themed events are trying to reach Halloween spenders — your contest provides a fantastic and unique opportunity for them to do so. Target corn mazes, haunted houses, costume shops, Halloween supply shops, party stores, pumpkin patches and specialty food shops.

3. Communicate with your audience to humanize your brand

If you're not planning a large-scale event this Halloween, don't miss a chance to talk to your audience. Ask questions and opinions to make your customers feel valued.

IDEA: A funny Halloween voting

For Halloween, you could have followers vote on the costume contest you held in your office, which has the added bonus of humanizing your brand.

Or you could let fans vote for the new feature to add to your product, for the events to launch on Christmas and New Year or anything else you'd like.

IDEA: Ask about Halloween plans

Another way to engage your audience into discussion is by simply asking about their plans for the coming Halloween, their attitude to the holiday or the funny occasions that have happened to them on Halloween.

- What will you be doing for Halloween this year?
- Favorite Halloween Film?
- How do you celebrate Halloween?

Tip: Pick the right timing

Consider running your Halloween activities not necessarily on Halloween day itself, but on the Saturday before Halloween — that is the time when people are already thinking about Halloween (according to Google trends) but aren't yet bombarded with lots of Halloween events and offers.

4. Create funny/useful content to go viral

Another great way to attract extra traffic over Halloween is to create some useful or simply funny Halloween content that people are likely to share with their friends.

This can be a funny Halloween video, photos of your team's Halloween preparations, interesting Halloween infographics and what not.

IDEA: Funny or "interesting-facts" infographics

Infographic is an easy-to-digest and attention-grabbing content people are very likely to share. This means creating a nice Halloween infographic is your perfect chance to go viral.

And as Halloween gives you lots of themes for a funny or informative infographics (from interesting stats on Halloween celebration to some funny “fight a monstrous attack” tips), just pick the theme and go on!

Tip 1: Focus on branding

Don't forget you're creating your infographic to make it go viral and spread the word about your brand, so make sure your branding (or even a certain call to action) is included as part of the graphics.

REI (outdoor clothing) — "Zombie outbreaks happen. Gear up with REI to avoid getting eaten by moaning masses of undead cannibals."

Tip 2: Make use of special tools for creating infographics

To create a really nice-looking infographic, you even don't need a professional designer. Lots of tools (like Piktochart, and others) help you do the job quickly and easily.

IDEA: Funny or scary Halloween video

Creating a video might be costly or time-consuming, but Halloween marketing could be your best chance to see a serious ROI. Upload Halloween-related video to your website or YouTube channel to make people talk about you, your business and the products or services you offer.

Tip: Don't be afraid to be funny or silly

Halloween is one of the few times each year when nearly any brand can be as silly, scary, or strange as they like — make sure you create a funny and unexpected video to stand out from all other Halloween content.

Westlake Ace Hardware — "We are the first shop awarded the first Zombie Acceptance Certification as the best place for zombies to shop!"

IDEA: Simply a Halloween-related blog post

The "lazy-man" option for creating viral content is a blog post. Even though it's not that likely to spread over all the Web, the original, funny and interesting content can bring you extra traffic.

- Share your funny Halloween costume ideas - even special Halloween costumes related to your business niche (ex. Top 8 SEO/Social Media Halloween Costumes) or show how the stuff you sell can be used for Halloween costumes

- Give ideas for Halloween party
- Tell spooky Halloween stories

Or anything else your audience will be interested in.

5. Launch Halloween special offers

If that matches your current marketing plan — launch special Halloween offers (FREE shipping, discount).

IDEA: Offer Halloween Bundles

Bundling products together is a great way to sell more over Halloween and attract curious site visitors. The goal here is to put together a themed bundle that can be promoted on social media, via email, and as part of a press release.

Tip: Consider bundling different products based around a particular theme

For example, if you're a grocery store, you can give away vampire-themed bundle: a gift basket filled with different types of garlic foods, wooden utensils, red wines, etc. Bundles will attract attention, get shared more, and can help bring in more sales during Halloween.

IDEA: Discount coupons for social media fans

Special offers are one of the most popular reasons for people to follow a brand on Facebook, so why not give your followers a little seasonal reward for their loyalty.

IDEA: Give all customers a Halloween gift with their holiday purchases

Try to find a reasonably priced Halloween-themed item that's easy to ship with a customer's order. This will help new customers make their first purchase, and returning customers feel like they're getting a great deal. Your freebies will also give you additional imagery for your Halloween creative needs!

IDEA: Offer a "scary" one day discount on your product

It's no doubt that a good discount offered in the subject line of your email is a guaranteed way to get high open and click through rates along with a certain amount of purchases. The sense of one-day urgency and the Halloween theme you stick to are likely to achieve even better results.

And finally...
Do stick to the Halloween mood!

Ok, this final point is quite unlikely to bring in oodles of fresh traffic to your website, but they will definitely make your customers smile and feel some positive towards your brand.

IDEA: Put something spooky in your company's logo and website

Change the colors, put some Halloween creatures on your pages, carve your logo on a pumpkin or whatever you feel like — the visitors will love the Holiday mood.

Tip 1: Mind the usability

Don't forget your spooky Halloween redesign shouldn't meddle on your customers shopping way!

Tip 2: Bring the Halloween mood to your social accounts as well

Don't forget to pay attention not only to your main website, but spice up your Facebook, Twitter or Google+ profile with Halloween graphics.

IDEA: Send a "Happy Halloween" email to your subscribers

Use the chance to contact your customers and send your greetings and best wishes. Just make your customers feel you care about them!

IDEA: Put a Halloween theme on your non-Halloween products

Make your very ordinary products more attractive for Halloween shoppers by adding some Halloween design to their packaging.

Hope these ideas helped you space up your Halloween marketing plans. Still the thing to remember is that you don't have to engage into everything at once. The rule of the thumb for your Halloween promotion is:

Think small — then expand as needed.

Your holiday promo doesn't have to be a huge ordeal; think of something lightweight
and engaging that you can leverage across many different platforms quickly and easily.

Our focus will continue to be on the holidays this month, so be sure to check out your inbox for the next part of our marketing guide!

Link-Assistant.Com Team

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Have your own great examples of successful Halloween marketing? Feel free to share them!