Halloween Emails and Best Practices

Boo! Scary savings and drop-dead deals hit consumer's inbox for this spooktacularly fun holiday. How should you optimize your Halloween email campaigns?

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Everybody celebrates Halloween, from little kids to adults, from parents to pets. If you want to claim your share of this $9 billion holiday, your Halloween email campaigns must be on point.

Halloween is all about creativity: putting on costumes, decorating the home, and celebrating. Creativity is also what will help your Halloween emails stand out in a crowded inbox.

Need some Halloween email marketing ideas to get started? We dove into our MailCharts database to find examples of Halloween-themed email campaigns that illustrate different strategies you can use to get your Halloween emails noticed, opened, and acted on. Read on to check them out.

Halloween Email Examples and Subject Lines

Make it about the kids

Halloween and animations are made for each other, but just any old animated GIF won’t do. We love the kid-friendly Halloween icons in the Kidbox logo and the sheer happiness on the face of the adorable jumping model. Showcasing some Halloween fun is a good alternative to the goth-and-scary Halloween marketing imagery, especially for the youngest fans. There is barely any black in the email but with the orange background, this email still uses one of the main Halloween colors.

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Show them where to click

This email by PartyCity uses the colors black and orange as well as a scary-looking hand to create a Halloween theme.

The Halloween deals (20% off and flat-rate shipping) are listed at the top of the email while everything else is design to make the recipient click: the CTA buttons near the top, clever animation, the call to action that says “Get inspired” and the prominent “Find a Store” button. Halloween City does a great job promoting its Halloween sale. Track them in MailCharts to see a company that gets everything right about Halloween.

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Create a sense of urgency

Supplement brand Nuzest creates a sense of urgency both with its Halloween email subject line and its email copy. First, it increases its chances of good open rates by telling subscribers it’s their last chance to enjoy the Halloween sale. Then, the email copy urges them not to get haunted by what could have been and to make use of the final hours of its Halloween sale.

This email is also a great example of how you can achieve a lot with just a few elements: clear use of colors, great copy, and the spooky Halloween character that appears both in the subject and the email body.

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Halloweenify your products

As the emails above have already shown, you can celebrate Halloween regardless of the types of products you sell. All you need to do is get creative with your Halloween campaigns. This purveyor of exotic pets nails it with everything from a teeny costume on the office mascot to a parade of little monsters (or creepy pets and the dressed-up office crew.

Another smart thing they did is create an “All Things Halloween” category on their website just for the holiday.

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Create some gothic romance

This Halloween email example shows adults who are more “Interview with the Vampire” than “Friday the 13th” how to have a romantic night with some Halloween spirit. It starts with a clever subject line (“Give them pumpkin to write about.”) and goes on to show how to combine Halloween products with items you can use all year round.

Also note how Crate & Barrel keeps it classy. Its copy uses terms such as “high style” and “soiree” while avoiding Halloween clichés such as “spooktacular deals”. In fact, when selling higher end items, you don’t need to offer discounts to have a successful Halloween.

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Be low-key scary

Many brands use puns in their Halloween subject lines. It’s risky as you don’t want to use the same ones as your competitors, but we think ModCloth pulls it off with their “boo-tique”. Their email is simple, with a Halloween-themed color scheme, and an animated Ouija board hint to start shopping. Lastly, the call-to-action (“Shop the boo-tique”) refers back to the subject of the email, creating a consistent reading experience for the recipient and generating some magical clicks.

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Share useful content

Video-on-demand service Craftsy get subscribers hooked by including links to Halloween-themed tutorials in their email content. From how to make a stuffed Jack 0′ Lantern to crafting your own Halloween decorations and sewing pumpkin roasters: Craftsy’s campaign includes plenty of incentives for subscribers to click through. And because of the Halloween colors in the email images, the brand can use a simple white background while still creating that Halloween feel.

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Focus on being helpful

While Baby Earth does sell Halloween costumes for babies and moms, their Halloween holiday email leads with a blog post on how to have a fun and safe Halloween with your little one. The cheerful image of a toddler helping to carve out a pumpkin gives the parents an idea of the joy they can expect if they follow the tips in the post.

This is another example that your Halloween emails don’t need to be highly promotional to work.

Parents can use all the support they can get, and by sharing useful information, Baby Earth shows its subscribers it’s there for them.

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Get people to your physical store

While DAVIDsTEA does run email campaigns for its online store, this email offers a special treat (free tea!) to recipients who show up at one of their physical stores in a Halloween costume. Not only will this promotion create good Halloween memories for anyone participating, it also helps DAVIDsTEA stand out during that time of year when everyone is bombarded by emails that ask them to shop online.

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Halloween Email Marketing Best Practices

Use the Halloween emails and email subject lines above as inspiration when designing your own Halloween email templates and combine them with the best practices listed below to create effective Halloween email campaigns.

Own the obsession - early

Adults aren’t embarrassed to admit they love Halloween. Capitalize on the excitement by starting your Halloween email marketing campaigns early. Send out sneak peeks, VIP content and special offers at the same time your summer campaigns are running. Whether you cater to the creepy, the cool, or the clever crowds, be enthusiastic and invite your customer to share your excitement.

Help customers succeed

Use your Halloween email campaign to remind customers about order deadlines so their party supplies, costumes, decor, and other purchases arrive on time. Any procrastinators in your audience? Create marketing content for them as well. Offer them a last-minute solution that will ensure their Halloween is a success.

Share your expert knowledge

Offer content in your Halloween email campaign that enriches your customer’s holiday experience, such as ideas for unusual and attention-getting costumes, party themes and tips, or indoor and outdoor decorating ideas that turn their home into a scary-looking haunted house.

Avoid clichés

If you want to be original, eliminate wordplay such as “spook-tacular,” “boo-tiful” and “no tricks, just treats” from your Halloween campaign. Everyone uses these. Don’t believe us? Sign up, search for Halloween emails in the MailCharts app, and click the “Inbox” view to see which Halloween email subject lines other ecommerce brands are using.

Join the emoji train

Carved-pumpkin emojis are popular, for good reason: they’re easy to see on all screen sizes and the orange color is quite eye-catching. On the other hand, their popularity can reduce their effectiveness, so test the use of other Halloween-related emojis as well. Just a few options include black cats, ghosts, and skulls.

Create a Halloween email template for testing

Want to make your Halloween emails scary good? Turn your best-performing campaign into an email template and use that as the basis for A/B tests. If you start your Halloween campaign early in the year as we suggested before, you’ll have more time to test different emails with small parts of your audience before the holiday starts.