Halloween email campaign tips

Christmas claims the largest share of holiday spending in the United States, but Halloween is hot on its heels. Americans’ passion for dressing up themselves and their kids, homes, offices and pets is projected to set a spending record of $9.1 billion in 2017.

Yanks aren’t the only ones in this trick-or-treat extravaganza, either. The American-style Halloween has traveled across the pond to the UK and many other countries from Europe to Asia.Brits are expected to spend £320 million (US$42.3 million) on fancy dress (costumes), accessories, décor, candy and party food.

We wanted to see what great things marketers are doing for their Halloween email promotions and content, so we ran through the Email Creative Archive like 10-year-olds foraging in a candy-rich environment.

Many messages were the email equivalent of circus peanuts (and we apologize if you like those Halloween abominations), but a few choice emails stood out in our treat bag like full-size candy bars. See what we collected below. Anybody want to trade?

1. More animation

Halloween is all about motion, whether it’s bats, ghosts and witches flying, kids trick-or-treating, lights flickering, candles glowing in spooky mansions … and we were glad to see marketers incorporating movement into their emails.

The Halloween email below is a great example because the animation is subtle but on message for both the content and the brand. It’s fail-safe, too. Animation is a great attention-getter once the email is opened. But, if it somehow doesn’t work, the email still must deliver the message.

This email, from UK gift and chocolate seller Hotel Chocolat, passes that test. We love the ghost in the background (click on the image below to see it in real time in the Email Creative Archive (free to use; just register for unlimited access).

Bonus:

  • We love the calls to action: “Open Door,” “Add to Cauldron,” “Take a Bite.” Halloween’s creepy-fun side has long since eclipsed its pagan origins.
  • Your creative team would likely love to exercise its artistic and copywriting muscles. So, don’t be afraid to have fun.

Sender: Hotel Chocolat Ltd — Subject line: Halloween. Sorted. — Preheader: Our Trick or Treat bucket. One for all the little monsters at your door.

Halloween Email

Runner-up:

Sender: L.A. Burdick Chocolate — Subject line: Introducing our Halloween Crate — Preheader: Filled with frightfully delicious Halloween chocolates.

LA Burdick - Halloween Email Animation

Sender: Prep Sportswear — Subject line: Win this Halloween. Reveal your mystery offer! Preheader: Click to reveal up to 50% off

Prep SW - Halloween Email

2. Help customers have a great Halloween

People look to brands for advice, and email is a remarkably efficient way of connecting with your customers without asking them to buy something all the time. The magic part of this is when you build a reputation as a source of help, you’ll end up selling more as a bonus.

People want to have Halloween-decorated homes their friends will envy and costumes that make them and their children stand out in the crowd.

  • If you have some special knowledge, share it with your customers to help them be successful.
  • Or, contract with a Halloween-savvy person to lend some expertise. Show customers how to buy and use your products successfully, and you might even have fewer returns and complaints.

The Halloween email below has a little fun with adult fancy dress, showing how its unique products – hats and canes – can inspire or finish off a unique costume that clearly didn’t come out of a box at the Halloween store.

Sender: Fashionable Canes — Subject line: Ghoulishly Fun Halloween Ideas — Preheader: Stylish Halloween Themes

halloween canes Halloween Email

Runner-up:

Sender: MAC Cosmetics — Subject line: Get Halloween-Ready Tips and Tricks by Chatting Live with a M·A·C Artist — Preheader: FREE SHIPPING, RETURNS & SAMPLES ON ALL ORDERS.

MAC Halloween Email

Sender: Deb Shops — Subject line: How-to: Halloween — Preheader: Get 30% off all last minute Halloween items! Wear as a costume, then wear again all year! Shop now!

deb shops Halloween Email

3. Halloween is for everyone

“Halloween creep” has nothing to do with the spooky side of the holiday. Instead, it recognizes that when 92% of the population intends to participate one way or the other, Halloween will invade every aspect of our lives. So, even if you don’t sell candy, costumes, accessories or décor, you can piggyback onto the holiday with a clever holiday email campaign like the ones shown below:

Sender: Day-Timers — Subject line: No trick, just a treat: Save 15% until Halloween! — Preheader: Savings so good, you’ll scream

Halloween Email Example

 

Sender: Bose — Subject line: Halloween Adventures Await with Bose Sound

Bose Halloween Email

4. Subject lines: A word about “spooktacular.”

Yes, it’s a play on words. It’s also hackneyed and overused. So are a few other choice phrases that you would be wise to banish from your Halloween email vocabulary* if you don’t want your emails to vanish in the inbox like mist in a swamp.

Here are several that appeared over and over (and over and over and over) in our search for Halloween email creativity:

  • Spooktacular. Also spook-tacular, spook-takular and spooktakular. Just say no.
  • Scary-good (also scary-sweet)
  • Freak-tastic (but “fang-tastic” is still acceptable for now)
  • No Tricks, Just Treats
  • Spooky-good

 The 10 subject lines below will help your Halloween emails stand out in the inbox like a 10-foot-tall lighted blow-up skeleton:

  1. Knock ’em dead this Halloween!: PepperMayo
  2. If Your Dog Can’t Have Halloween Candy, What CAN He Have?: petplace
  3. Have a Bone Chillin’ Halloween with Sharka: Crazy Shirts
  4. Have a Spooky Sparkly Halloween with Swarovski Crystals: Bluestreak Crystals
  5. Ghoulishly Fun Halloween Ideas: Fashionable Canes
  6. Inside: Your Failsafe Halloween Lineup: Urban Decay
  7. The eyes have it boost your Halloween glam with NEW lashes!: Benefit Cosmetics
  8. They’ll Be Goblin Up These Halloween Goodies: The Swiss Colony
  9. They Could Handle The Scares, Can You?: Universal Studios
  10. Fill your dog’s bag with these treats!: Petco

* As always, test your subject lines before shifting your subject-line strategies. If you discover that “spooktacular” drives a 10X lift in opens, clicks and conversions, then use it with our blessing. Just don’t use it because it’s easy.

Email Creative Archive

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