Trick-or-Treat: Halloween, Inbox Edition

 
It’s officially Spooky Season! Whether you’re into touring haunted houses or staying safely inside your own on Halloween, email is a great way to celebrate the holiday with your subscribers. 
 
While you may usually associate “trick” with “bad” and “treat” with “good,” both terms are positive in the Inbox Edition! Here’s what you need to know:
 
TRICK: Pay attention to the “tricks” and strategies behind this season’s most successful emails. 
TREAT: These are the ways a brand chooses to “surprise and delight” their customers. 
 
While the costumed children at your door will ask “Trick-or-treat?” we think we can all agree that the best answer is “both.”
 

1. Takl

Subject line: Skip the toil & trouble. 🎃
 
Trick: The strategy behind this email is brilliant. Takl isn’t just taking time out of their regular email campaign flow to celebrate the holiday—They’re using it to relate back to their core message. You don’t have to be an especially spooky brand to join the Halloween festivities, as long as you are still targeting the same audience. 
 
Treat: The subject line really takes the candy corn on this one. Combined with Takl’s offering of “Seasonal” help, like hanging cobwebs or getting your home trick-or-treat ready, they do a great job of celebration with intention.
 
 

2. Walmart

Subject line: A real treat: Ellen DeGeneres’ Halloween picks!
 
Trick: This email doesn’t look like a regular advertisement for WalMart, in fact our only clue is the minimal logo in the header. Instead, this message is formatted like a magazine spread. It draws attention to their products in a more genuine and lifestyle manner, leaving all the sales talk for another time. 
 
Treat: Two words—Ellen Degeneres. What better person to bring holiday joy than one of the funniest comedians around? Her comments are priceless and bring a fresh perspective to Elsa costumes and baby diapers alike. 
 
 

3. True Food Kitchen

Subject Line: Enjoy 25% Off Your To-Go Order on Halloween
 
Trick: The thought behind this email is proof of the power of knowing your audience. True Food Kitchen knew that their customers, who tend to like healthy food, may not love that Halloween is celebrated with sugary candy. However, rather than sitting out this holiday, they decided to cater directly to this attitude and empower their customers to choose an alternative to trick-or-treating. Bravo, True Food! 
 
Treat: Nothing says surprise-and-delight like a 25% discount. Accompanied by a simple seasonal image, limited copy, and clear CTA, True Food Kitchen knows that the discount is the main thing their readers will focus on, so they make it easy to do so. 
 
 
 

4. The Key Rewards

Subject Line: 3 ways to get into the Halloween spirit
 
Trick: The strategy behind this email was clearly to showcase a lot of products. While the subject line promises “3 ways to get into the Halloween spirit,” this message clearly delivers much more. While it could be considered a little long, we’ll let it pass since The Key Rewards covers several popular brands and it would be difficult to choose one or two. 
 
Treat: The organization of this email is another reason they’re able to pull off so much content. The consistent design and article format lead the subscriber’s eye to focus on the most important stuff, and they’ll absolutely get to the end of the message feeling much more in the Halloween spirit. 
 
 
 

5. Acme Feed & Seed

Subject Line: We Know What You Did Last Halloween
 
Trick: Okay, so maybe the strategy behind this one goes a bit beyond a typical email campaign, because it’s a pretty awesome event. But this restaurant/music venue combo in Nashville really knows how to create a signature event and market it well. This is a great reminder that your email strategy should work with, rather than against, your other marketing initiatives, like events, social media, blogs, and more. 
 
Treat: This concert-style graphic is everything we love about a throwback, and we’re so glad Acme didn’t let the traditional email format stop them from creating it. Use this to inspire your strategy and ways the season could bring out a new side of your brand that your subscribers will love. 
 
 
 

6. Chick-fil-A

Subject Line: Catering every trick-or-treater will ❤️
 
Trick: Fast food chain Chick-fil-A delivers the family-friendly email campaign, and we’re here for it. Presenting their chicken nuggets as pairing well with a festive gathering, they’re clearly trying to position themselves as a traditional favorite. 
 
However, this email isn’t just about the sale—They also do a great job of providing fun recipe inspiration and an interesting article about their history. (The “A” in their name is capitalized to symbolize top quality. Well played, CFA.)
 
Treat: First of all, the CTA placement and clever copy win everything. Rounding out the email with an empowering quote from their founder provides an extra dose of sincerity to balance out the festive tone. It’s definitely giving us the warm fuzzies. 
 
 

7. Cheekwood

Subject Line: 🐾Calling All Costumed Canines🐾
 
Trick: The trick in this email is all about the treat. When life hands you a really cute dog photo (especially if said dog is dressed in a costume), you make it as big as your brand standard will allow, and make an executive decision to minimize all other copy. 
 
Treat: It’s worth mentioning again—a pug photo! But really, if this doesn’t put your subscribers in a festive mood, nothing will. Cheekwood does a great job of letting Doug the Pug have the spotlight, while they provide event details and an invitation to the Pooch Parade. Such a fun fall event!
 
 
 

8. Rifle Paper Co. 

Subject Line: Send Your Boos Some Love 👻
 
Trick: Rifle Paper Co. is a brand we frequently look to for inspiration, and we can always count on them to celebrate the holidays in a creative and classy way. This design-forward brand is always a refreshing find in the inbox, and you definitely won’t find any ALL CAPS YELLING subject lines from them. They know what their customers want, and they deliver it. Literally. 
 
Treat: The layout of this email draws a subscriber’s eye to their product, which is what every marketer wants. But even more so, the arrangement of greeting cards evokes a festive experience, one that inspires you to connect with your loved ones during the season. If you make a gorgeous product, it should speak for itself, and Rifle Paper Co. is the perfect example of this. 
 

Wrap up

Now that we’ve gone over the festive favorites from our own inboxes this Halloween, we hope it inspires you to create an intentional send of your own. What other tricks and treats are showing up in your inbox during Spooky Season? Let us know what brands you’re loving in the comments!

About the Author

Kaitlin Wernet

Kaitlin Wernet is a content specialist on Emma's marketing team. When she's not restraining herself from using too many exclamation points or grabbing one more La Croix from the office kitchen, she can be found working on her first book or planning her next big travel adventure.

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