1. Email Marketing

5 Halloween email examples with inspiration for your 2020 campaign

As if 2020 hasn’t been frightening enough, Halloween is just weeks away. And brands are gearing up for what has become one of our most popular holidays.

It’s so popular, in fact, that’s it’s the fourth largest holiday shopping day for online retailers. Around 20% of ecommerce retail sales occur over Halloween weekend. And 40% of shoppers begin holiday shopping before Halloween (source).

In the US, retail spending was estimated at $8.8 billion in 2019. While in the UK spending was forecasted to hit £419 million in the same year (source).

But 2020 is going to be different. The Coronavirus pandemic and social distancing rules will limit how consumers celebrate Halloween. Large fancy dress parties and group trick-or-trick excursions might have to be shelved this year.

Though that doesn’t mean consumers are forgoing Halloween completely. Google searches for “covid halloween ideas” and “social distancing halloween” have risen steadily since early September. So there’s clearly still a market for Halloween treats, costumes and decorations this year.

Image showing breakout search terms related to Halloween during the Coronavirus pandemic
Source: Google Trends

But Halloween isn’t just for online retailers selling vampire capes and graveyard cupcakes. It’s also a time when brands of all varieties can engage with their audience and drive revenue.

As we’re about to find out.

Here we’re taking a look at five email examples from previous Halloween holidays to inspire your next spooky campaign.

1. Fortnum and Mason

Subject line: Is Fortnum’s haunted? 👻

Fortnum and Mason – an example of a good Halloween email

Department store and online retailer Fortnum and Mason have nailed their Halloween email with an intriguing subject line, ghost-themed story and beautiful on-brand imagery.

Asking a question in your email subject line can instantly engage your readers, as they’ll be curious to know the answer. And using emojis helps your email standout in the inbox, which also helps improve open rates.

Rather than jump straight into a sales pitch, the main copy of the email weaves a little mystery with tales of the store’s ghosts. Perfectly on topic for the Halloween season. And a great segue into the products the email is promoting.

These products are beautifully displayed with great imagery – professional photographs of the hampers and their items arranged with subtle Halloween themed decorations. It’s all seamlessly in keeping with Fortnum and Mason’s brand style and personality.

After all, Fortnum and Mason are known for their luxury food hampers. So this Halloween offering ties in neatly with what consumers know them for.

Takeaway tips for your Halloween campaign

  • Craft a great subject line – use a question to spark curiosity and use a suitable emoji to grab attention in a crowded inbox
  • Create a sense of mystery – weave a ghost story into the mix and show your brand personality, values or history
  • Invest in your imagery – show your Halloween products at their best with professional photography and a well-designed email layout

2. Harry’s

Subject line: Ding dong! Here with tips, tricks, and treats

Harry’s sell quality razors and subscription shave plans. Not exactly the type of product most consumers are thinking of purchasing for Halloween.

Which is why Harry’s went with a different tactic for their email campaign. And got a little creative by positioning their product as something you need at this time of year. Whether you’re a vampire, werewolf or wizard!

This email explains to readers the value that Harry’s provides and the problems their razors solve. It’s tied into Halloween with illustrations and copy that uses Halloween characters as consumer personas.

It’s a way of leveraging the popular holiday without having a directly relevant product. And it’s something brands of all shapes and sizes can try.

The trick is to tie your product into the Halloween theme in a creative way. And successfully integrate your products into the visual presentation. Harry’s has done that with illustrations of Halloween characters shaving with one of their razors.

But what’s the purpose of this email?

Well, that’s made nice and clear by the single CTA – ‘Redeem Trial’. Harry’s wants to turn subscribers into customers. And they’ve used Halloween as an opportunity to make that conversion happen.

Takeaway tips for your Halloween campaign

  1. Get creative – if you don’t sell Halloween products, create a concept around how to use your products instead, or why they might be useful at this time of year
  2. Use fun imagery – whether that’s photography or illustrations, make sure the design reflects the holiday theme
  3. Focus on one objective – use the holiday as an opportunity to re-engage your database and prompt them to start a trial or make a purchase

3. Clear

Subject line: Your scary good deal is here 👻

Clear is an expedited airport security program that enables users to speed through airport check-in using biometrics to identify themselves. It’s the technology of the future. But not something that instantly connects with Halloween.

And yet the brand has managed to do exactly that by turning their customers’ pain point into something scary. Making that the focus of their campaign.

“Scared of the lines?”, Clear asks. And immediately provides the solution with a free upgrade for airport access. It’s a clever and entertaining way of positioning their value while capitalising on the Halloween theme.

And the colour palette of the email makes it clear that it is indeed Halloween.

After all, orange and black are the official colours of Halloween. And these two colours are fully embraced in this email. Alongside spiders and their webs. It’s miles away from Clear’s usual branding. But if you’re going to break your branding rules, holidays are the time to do it.

Takeaway tips for your Halloween campaign

  • Identify common pain points – Halloween is the perfect holiday to address what your customers might be afraid of and show how your product or service can help
  • Offer a limited time deal – use the Halloween holiday as an opportunity to increase sales with a special offer
  • Use a bold new colour palette – embrace Halloween and opt for black, orange and other ghoulish colours to reinforce the theme

4. WeTransfer

Subject line: Le freak? C’est chic!

Example of a Halloween themed email from WeTransfer

Online file transfers aren’t exactly sexy. And unless you’re building a story around how our spirits might transfer to the underworld, there’s not a great deal of relevance with the most ghoulish holiday of the year.

Yet WeTransfer manages to create a beautiful, engaging email by highlighting the creative work of different artists from around the globe. All with a Halloween theme.

It’s a great example of content curation around a theme. And it avoids the hyper consumerism of Halloween we have come to expect of the October holiday. Instead, the email provides something different with a few subtle nods to Halloween.

While at the same time reinforcing WeTransfer’s brand image as an enabler of creativity and a lover of good design.

Takeaway tips for your Halloween campaign

  • Curate content – if you don’t have something to sell, use Halloween as an opportunity to engage your audience with carefully selected content, whether that’s an article, video or podcast
  • Try subtlety instead – it’s tempting to go all-out garish at Halloween but to make a greater impact and stand out from the crowd, dial it down and opt for a more muted colour palette
  • Mix it up – instead of following the crowd and using the traditional Halloween colour palette of orange and black, try other colours instead, such as deep purples, greens and reds

5. Blue Apron

Subject line: Forget the candy, this deal is the sweetest one yet!

Blue Apron is a meal kit service based in the US. And they’ve used Halloween as an opportunity to win back lapsed customers.

It’s a striking email with a single image as the background, a limited colour palette of black, red and white, and professional food photography that ties in with the Halloween theme.

Stock imagery will only ever get you so far. For maximum impact, it’s best to produce your own visual assets. And the photography used in this email is tailored to the campaign so that the colours work together and the image fits the space perfectly.

In terms of their message, Blue Apron taps into loss aversion by telling readers they’ll regret not taking advantage of this deal and returning to their subscription. It’s a neat psychological trick that has the power to persuade.

There’s also phrases weaved into the copy that perfectly tie in with Halloween – ‘a deal to die for’. Using puns and plays on words is a good way to inject some humour and personality into your marketing at this time of year.

Takeaway tips for your Halloween campaign

  • Send a win-back campaign – use the holiday as an opportunity to re-engage churned customers and encourage them to reinstate their subscription with your service
  • Make a play on words – flex your copywriting skills and add Halloween-themed phrases to add a touch of humour to your email’s message
  • Invest in good imagery – put the time and resources into your email campaign creative so that it feels like a natural part of your brand’s communications

Final thoughts

Whether you’re ecommerce, SaaS or a subscription-based service, Halloween is a great time to get a little creative with your campaigns. Use the holiday as an opportunity to increase sales, provide value to your customers and win-back those you’ve lost along the way.

Embrace the holiday with a bold colour palette and playful puns. Evoke the creepy mood of Halloween with puns, alliteration and plays on words. Or opt for something more subtle and in-keeping with your brand.

Halloween 2020 is going to look quite different to previous years. But with some imagination, brands can use the popular holiday to engage with their customers and drive sales.

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