5 Ways to Make Halloween a Devilish Treat for Your Retail Business

While everyone knows that the holiday season from Thanksgiving to Christmas is the hottest spending time of the year in the United States, you might not realize that Halloween kicks off the festivities. In 2014, we spent $7.4 billion on the holiday, buying things like party supplies, candy and costumes -- including costumes for our pets.

Whether you're a traditional Halloween retailer or not, the holiday has some treats in store for you. These tips for stronger paid search marketing could deliver a gravely satisfying Halloween season.

1. Recognize that anything can be a costume.
As many as 34 percent of shoppers will search online for costume inspiration. And not all shoppers want a prefabricated costume from a costume shop. Little Jimmy's mother might look at horseback riding apparel sites to find his cowboy outfit, and Clara might go straight to a dancewear site to find the perfect tutu. Get Halloween keywords in your search marketing ads now and watch that stuffed hamster become a Donald Trump wig.

2. Be the early bird.
Start using Halloween keywords and ad copy in your search marketing campaign in early September. Seventy percent of Halloween shopping happens before October 15. But don't overlook the mad-dashers who buy frantically in the last two weeks of October.

3. Whatever you do, make sure mobile search marketing is part of your plan.
Halloween searches on mobile grew 1,052 percent on Bing Ads in 2014. Picking a Halloween costume has become an activity we share, and we certainly want to get our friend's opinion - most easily via mobile screen. Let's assume this trend is going to continue. This means making sure your search marketing campaigns on Bing Ads and Google Adwords are opted into mobile.

4. Focus on the adults.
In 2014, Halloween crazies spent $1.21 billion on adult costumes and $1 billion on children's costumes.

This means retailers need to expand their view of what "costume" means and be ready to capture these adult shoppers with targeting and keywords. Because shopping for costumes is so visual, marketers would be wise to add Shopping Campaigns to their search marketing efforts.

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5. Be ready for last-minute party planners
Halloween parties apparently come together in the last 5-10 days before Halloween, as evidenced by searches on Bing for Halloween party ideas. Be ready for these searchers by including party tips in your ad copy and on your landing page. For a home and garden store, this might mean offering suggestions for spooktacular party decorations made from clay pots and pillar candles, along with a discount on black metal candle holders. See how this works? Bid on party-related keywords so your ads will hit your target.

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Stir a little creativity into that pot
Think creatively about the Halloween season and watch the eye of newt and wing of bat boil into a cauldron of retail success for your business. Are you doing anything unusual in your Halloween paid search campaign planning? We'd love to hear your devilish plans.