67+ Free & Meaningful October Marketing Ideas for 2021
Costumes. Columbus Day. Candy Corn.
October is home to Financial Planning Month, LGBTQ History Month, Domestic Violence Month, and more. It's also when we celebrate Do Something Nice Day, Black Poetry Day, Women in Business, and apparently, handbags. The point is, there are so many opportunities for creative and meaningful marketing that will help you to authenticate your brand voice and stand out.
So today, we're going to run through a slew of easy, effective, and inexpensive October marketing ideas designed to help you connect with your audience and attract more customers to your business. We'll provide:
- A list of awareness causes, national days, and holidays in October.
- Over 67 ways to incorporate them into your content marketing strategy.
- Real examples of social media campaigns, blog posts, contests, events, and promos from businesses just like yours.
So let's get to it.
October awareness causes
Here are a few causes celebrated in October that you may be familiar with:
- Fire prevention
- LGBTQ history
- Breast cancer
- Sustainable energy
- Down syndrome
What you might not know is that October is also:
- Bilingual Child Month
- Church Safety and Security Month
- Eat Better, Eat Together Month
- Adopt a Shelter Dog Month
- Emotional Wellness Month
- Employee Ownership Month
- Financial Planning Month
- Global Diversity Awareness Month
...and also, there is
- American Cheese Month
- Bat Awareness Month
So you know that too.
October national days
There are dozens of national days for every month of the year, but let's take a look at some notables:
- Hair Day
- World Smile Day
- Custodial Worker's Recognition Day
- Name Your Car Day
- Consignment Day
- Child Health Day
- Get Funky Day
- Do Something Nice Day
- Coaches Day
- Touch Tag Day
- Boss's Day
- Black Poetry Day
- Youth Confidence Day
- Make a Difference Day
And let's not forget Produce Misting Day...
You can't make this stuff up.
There's a also a full list of October national days at the bottom of this post.
October marketing ideas based on awareness themes
Marketing around the awareness causes of any particular month affords your business many opportunities—to support a cause, to help your customers accomplish something fulfilling, and to build up the community around you. The more you can familiarize with and strengthen your local audience, the more natural and effective you can become in your messaging. That being said, let's go over the awareness themes of October.
Let’s take a closer look at how to use these themes for cause-based marketing.
National Bullying Prevention Month
According to this USA Today article, 49% of children in grades 4-12 report being bullied at least once a month. This October awareness cause is particularly relevant to schools and education-based verticals, but also to businesses whose target market is made up of parents of school-aged children. You can promote this cause through your marketing by:
- Posting stats to social media or providing your followers with anti-bullying resources or organizations they can donate to.
- Donating a portion of your profits this month to an anti-bullying nonprofit.
- Running a contest where kids can submit drawings or stories promoting safety, peace, and acceptance.
Domestic Violence Awareness Month
To help raise awareness for domestic violence, you can:
- Host a Facebook campaign where you donate $1 to a local domestic violence shelter for every like your page receives during the month.
- Have your team wear purple on #purplethursday to show your support for the cause.
- Share the national domestic violence hotline number: 1-800-SAFE (7233) as well as the one for your local area.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month
To incorporate breast cancer awareness into your marketing content this month, try out these ideas:
- Have your team wear pink and share your #pinkpose on social media.
- Choose a support charity to donate to, rather than an awareness charity. Support charities that fund direct patient support, such as Chemo Angels and the American Cancer Society.
- Educate your followers with stats and tips on social media.
Energy Awareness Month
If you’re in the industry, write an article sharing industry stats or your own perspective, and promote it on LinkedIn with key takeaways in the post itself. Make sure to include a #sustainableenergy hashtag, as this is a specific topic that will get searched by those who are interested in reading about it.
Another approach would be to share some DIY sustainable energy ideas, whether in the home, office, or classroom.
National Business Women’s Week
Business Women’s Week is a time to acknowledge and applaud female leaders in business. During this week:
- Share relevant articles, stories, and stats about women in the workforce—like this one we wrote debunking myths about women in business.
- Pull together a panel of female entrepreneurs and record a discussion.
- Interviews an influential woman in your company, network, or industry and publish a write-up on your blog.
National Customer Service Week
Customer Service Week occurs the first full week of October. This week affords local marketing opportunities both internally and externally:
- Spotlight a different customer service team member each day of this week on social media.
- Offer something a little extra special for your customers, such as a coupon or a branded freebie.
- Give a shoutout on social media to a business that exhibited exemplary customer service for you personally.
- Request feedback about your customer service, whether through a survey, a poll, a social media conversation, or—wait for it— social media poll!
- If you've won any sort of award (or even if you haven't), write a post about how you deliver customer service. This is a good way to give tips to other businesses and to attract more customers.
You can read the customer care article here.
These initiatives will highlight the importance you place on quality customer service, and consumers are attracted to customer-centered businesses.
Emotional Wellness Month
Emotional wellness is a supremely versatile topic, whether you're a plumber or an interior designer; a SaaS company or in ecommerce. Here are some ideas:
- Share an interesting article from a recent study on mental health.
- Send an email out to your team and have everyone share one thing they do for their own emotional well-being. Then share their tips in a blog post.
- Share some resources on finding therapists or support groups in your area.
- Publish a blog post on an "emotional" topic:
If you're interested, here's the emotional copywriting post.
October marketing ideas based on national days
As with every other month of the year, October is jam-packed with plenty of national [insert just about anything here] days that can take you 90% of the way when coming up with unique marketing ideas. All you have to do is find a way to tie it back to your business. Let’s take a look.
World Vegetarian Day
World Vegetarian Day occurs every October 1st. This is, of course, a great time for restaurants or shops with a largely vegetarian audience to give themselves a good ol’ pat on the back on social media or their website.
But regardless of industry, you can still get creative with this one:
- For the more carnivorous restaurants, offer discounts on vegetarian dishes.
- Health professionals (ideally who are vegetarians), run an AMA via Facebook Live or Instagram Live on vegetarianism
- In your office (after the pandemic has passed), you could have a vegetarian potluck, with a prize to the best voted dish. You could also simply encourage people to be vegetarian for the day and share their experiences on your social media feed.
- If applicable to your business, publish relevant blog posts containing recipes, information, experiences, resources, and more.
World Smile Day
World Smile Day is celebrated on the first Friday of October every year. Here are some creative marketing ideas you can try out:
- Dentists and orthodontists, of course, can share stats or eye-opening facts that encourage people to book their regular cleaning.
- Any business can promote its best-selling products and services as something to smile about.
- Use the day to announce the return of a seasonal favorite or new offering.
National Cake Decorating Day
National Cake Decorating Day is held every October 10th. Instead of a cake decorating contest, you could:
- Invite your followers to post their cake decorating fails on Instagram or Facebook with a custom hashtag.
- Ask your followers to share their favorite confection creations. Remember, asking your followers to share their own experiences and perspectives on social media strengthens your personal connection with them and helps them to feel valued and heard.
National Savings Day
This October observance day happens on the 12th of the month every year. It's about having a savings account, so it's a great topic for financial advisors or accountants. But also, who doesn't want to save money?
Here are some ways to market your business on this day:
- Write a blog post on how to save money related to your industry.
- Compare the price of your offering with the price of more expensive alternatives and tally up how much money your customers save every year.
- Share helpful information or resources for your audience—local resources if you can find them.
- Run a contest. CapitalOne once ran a cool contest based on the results from this study:
In their #ShareMySave contest, it invited its audience to share images of their most treasured keepsake on Instagram or Twitter and explain why it’s special to them. By including the hashtags #ShareMySave and #Contest, they were entered into a contest to win weekly prizes of $500 and a grand prize of $10,000.
National Boss’s Day
This Facebook- and LinkedIn-friendly holiday occurs every October 16th. You could:
- Surprise your boss with a heartfelt post on what you admire about them, what leaderships skills they exemplify, or lessons they've taught you.
- What if you are the boss? Share mistakes you've made and lessons you learned from them (good example of the Pratfall Effect)
- Or just choose another boss you know...
Get to Know Your Customers Day
Get to Know Your Customers Day occurs on the third Thursday of the first month of every quarter, and only when the earth is tilted at 23.4 degrees (just kidding on that last part). This is a blatantly awesome marketing day in October, January, April, and July.
- Engage your audience and collect valuable feedback by sharing surveys and short polls.
- Ask about items or services they would love to see you offering. Like with this example...
...or this one:
You could also search your company’s hashtag or location on social media and find some user-generated content to repost.
According to this source, the National Confectioners’ Association came up with Candy Day back in 1916 as a way to celebrate and support local candy shops and bakeries. During the war in 1917, the message morphed into “Get one for yourself and one for the boys overseas!” Once the war ended, four Michigan confectioners teamed up with the Red Cross to distribute candy to hospitals, orphanages, shelters, and homes across Michigan.
By 1929, it became official: National Sweetest Day occurs on the third Thursday of October and is associated with:
- Charitable giving.
- Acknowledging and appreciating your loved ones.
- Paying it forward.
General October marketing ideas
If you’re too scattered during October (or all the time) and don’t have it in you to coordinate a promotion during a specific week or day, try out any of these general October marketing ideas that give you some more flexibility.
Show off a fall product or service
While September has songs of summer and November has the whispers of winter, October feels like the only true fall month (P.S. why did I get so poetic just now). This month may be the time to really focus on one of your fall-themed products or services.
- Interior designers can feature fall-themed projects in their portfolio.
- Flower shops can display fall-colored bouquets.
- Restaurants can offer a cinnamon-spiced sangria (anything but pumpkin, please).
- Landscapers can promote fall specials on Facebook or their Google Business Profile.
To get even more participants, make it a limited-time offer available only for the month.
Send out an October newsletter
There are plenty of October newsletter ideas here, but for a short list:
- Send out a BOO! Surprise deal with a Halloween promotion.
- In honor of financial planning month, round up any blog posts you’ve published with budget-friendly tips and feature them in your email.
- If you rolled out new customer loyalty programs, ran start-of-school-year specials, or hosted any events during September, share pictures and results in an October email newsletter.
- You can also include a calendar of any additional specials you are running during the month or for November.
Dabble into the creative arts
The best source for creative marketing content? A creative marketing event.
- Show customers how to make their own fall- or Halloween-inspired craft or recipe.
- Write a blog post with a DIY video showing how to decorate a mantle with fall flowers and miniature pumpkins.
- There are also plenty of opportunities for a pumpkin-carving or pumpkin-painting night.
- If applicable to your audience, share menu ideas for a Halloween party.
I mean, who wouldn't want to sink their teeth into these...teeth. (Image source)
Participate in a pumpkin patch
Farmers markets or pumpkin patches are abundant during October,
- Do a little local research to see if there are any annual events where you can set up a stand, offer a sponsorship, or volunteer at. Being involved in local events and causes is a win-win, as it markets your business for you while facilitating community building.
- You could also donate free products or classes as a part of any raffles the event is running.
Open your doors
If you’re located on a downtown Main Street of sorts o if you’re in a part of the country where the weather is beautiful at this time, get some fresh air into your building. This makes your business more inviting to passersby. A chalkboard outside with your specials, an inspiring quote, or a fun fact is an added bonus.
Halloween marketing ideas
What kind of October marketing ideas post would this be if I didn't mention Halloween? Many of these Halloween marketing ideas are traditional, tried, and true, but with a little brainstorming and brand voice, you can always add that creative twist to catch your customers’ eyes.
Embrace the Halloween garb
Get your business in the spirit of the season by decorating your office, store, or even your website and social media pages with all the good stuff: mums, pumpkins, gourds, hay bales, burlap, skeletons, spiderwebs, ghosts, and the list goes on. This is more of a cliche marketing idea, but that doesn’t make it any less effective.
When you’re proactive with your business’s appearance, this signals to customers that you care about the impression you leave on them, and reminds them that yours is not just a business, but a passion. You might even get really crazy and carve your company logo into a jack-o-lantern to place in your storefront with a[n electric] candle at night.
Host a candy counting contest
Run a guessing contest to get customer email addresses in store. Put a giant canister of whatever sugary Octobery sweets you choose, and have customers provide their email addresses with their estimate, or write it on the back of their business card. This can be done virtually, too. The winner gets a prize (perhaps all of the candy) ((unless you’re a dentist)) or coupon or discount off their next purchase.
Dress up for Halloween
I cringe slightly upon giving this suggestion, but I think this could be a great idea for businesses that cater to children. Plus, you don’t have to be in a full-blown clown suit. Dentists and hair dressers can make otherwise scary appointments more fun with a friendly scarecrow, farmer, or cowboy costume. Clowns and vampires might scare the youngsters, so stick with safer or more neutral options.
Host a Halloween costume contest
This one is also pretty cliche but it’s never not a fun time. Have a costume contest for your students, customers, staff, or even customers’ pets. Share the pictures on your blog, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter and ask customers to vote for the winners. The winner gets a prize and is featured in next month’s newsletter.
Who said the costume contest had to be for humans?
Participate in a Halloween event
Participating in any Halloween events going on around you—zombie 5k’s, trick-or-trunk nights, kids trick-or-treat afternoon in the office, or any building-wide Halloween activities if you work in a shared space. It’s tough to stop when you’re running a business, but more often than not, the break away from your tasks and the added laughter can actually recharge you and lead you to be more productive in the long run. Plus, the more you can interact with the people in your community, the more you can learn about how to serve them and really make a name for yourself.
Easy, effective, and inexpensive October marketing
Running an October-themed marketing campaign is a great way to authenticate your brand, interact more with your local community, and try out new tools and platforms. While they're fun and creative, they're also effective and can help you to increase your exposure, attract more customers, and build up your reputation. Try out one of these easy October marketing ideas and get yourself armed and ready for your holiday campaigns.
Interested in more marketing ideas for every month of the year? We can help with that.
- 15 January Marketing Ideas to Start the New Year with a Bang
- 20 Fabulous (and Affordable) February Marketing Ideas
- 30+ Creative and Cost-Friendly March Marketing Ideas
- 20+ Free April Marketing Ideas to Freshen Up Your Content Calendar
- 50+ May Marketing Ideas for Any Business or Budget
- 50+ Free June Marketing Ideas for Sizzlin' Hot Campaigns
- 37 Free and Creative July Marketing Ideas (With Examples!)
- 57 Easy & Engaging August Marketing Ideas (With Examples!)
- 17+ Free and Creative September Marketing Ideas
- 21+ Free and Effective October Marketing Ideas
- 19 Simple Yet Superb November Marketing Ideas (with Examples)
- 20 Super-Festive December Marketing Ideas
And for planning, check out this marketing calendar template from our friends at LOCALiQ.
Full list of October national days and dates
As promised, here's your full list, thanks to National Day Calendar.
- National Black Dog Day
- National Hair Day
- Fire Pup Day
- National Homemade Cookies Day
- National Manufacturing Day – First Friday in October
- National Body Language Day – First Friday in October
- World Smile Day – First Friday in October
- National Produce Misting Day
- National Custodial Worker’s Recognition Day
- National Name Your Car Day
- National Fried Scallops Day
- National Techies Day
- National Boyfriend Day
- National GOE Day – Sunday of the First Full Weekend
- National Cinnamon Bun Day
- National Taco Day
- National Golf Lover’s Day
- National Vodka Day
- National Consignment Day – First Monday in October
- National Child Health Day – First Monday in October
- National Get Funky Day
- National Rhode Island Day
- National Do Something Nice Day
- National Apple Betty Day
- National Eat Fruit At Work Day – First Tuesday in October
- National Coaches Day
- National Orange Wine Day
- National Plus Size Appreciation Day
- National Mad Hatter Day
- National German-American Day
- National Noodle Day
- National Walk to School Day – First Wednesday in October
- National Pumpkin Seed Day – First Wednesday in October
- National Coffee with a Cop Day – First Wednesday in October
- National Chocolate Covered Pretzel Day
- National LED Light Day
- National Frappe Day
- National Inner Beauty Day
- National Trigeminal Neuralgia Awareness Day
- National Fluffernutter Day
- National Hero Day
- National Pierogi Day
- American Touch Tag Day
- National Leif Erikson Day
- National Pro-Life Cupcake Day
- National Moldy Cheese Day
- National Chess Day – Second Saturday in October
- National Costume Swap Day – Second Saturday in October
- National Motorcycle Ride Day – Second Saturday in October
- I Love Yarn Day – Second Saturday in October
- National Angel Food Cake Day
- National Cake Decorating Day
- National Handbag Day
- National Metric Day
- World Mental Health Day
- Clergy Appreciation Day (or Pastor Appreciation Day or Ministry Appreciation Day) – Second Sunday in October
- International Day of the Girl Child
- National Sausage Pizza Day
- National Coming Out Day
- General Pulaski Memorial Day
- National Online Bank Day – Second Monday in October
- National Kick Butt Day– Second Monday in October
- Native American Day – Second Monday in October
- Columbus Day – Second Monday in October
- National Savings Day
- National Vermont Day
- National Freethought Day
- National Farmer’s Day
- National Gumbo Day
- National Train Your Brain Day
- National Yorkshire Pudding Day
- Navy Birthday
- National Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day
- National No Bra Day
- National Curves Day – Second Wednesday in October
- National Emergency Nurse’s Day – Second Wednesday in October
- National Bring Your Teddy Bear to Work/School Day – Second Wednesday in October
- National Stop Bullying Day – Second Wednesday in October
- National Fossil Day – On Wednesday of Second Full Week in October
- National Take Your Parents To Lunch Day – Changes Annually (October 13, 2021)
- National Dessert Day
- Be Bald and Be Free Day
- National Shawarma Day
- National Aesthetician Day
- National Cheese Curd Day
- National I Love Lucy Day
- National Grouch Day
- National Latino AIDS Awareness Day
- National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day
- National White Cane Safety Day
- Boss’s Day (or National Boss’s Day) – Annually Oct. 16 unless it falls on a weekend. Then it’s the closest workday.
- National Sports Day
- National Liqueur Day
- National Dictionary Day
- Global Cat Day
- Department Store Day
- National Sweetest Day – Third Saturday in October
- National Edge Day
- National Mulligan Day
- National Pasta Day
- Black Poetry Day
- National Exascale Day
- International Legging Day
- National Chocolate Cupcake Day
- National No Beard Day
- National Clean Your Virtual Desktop Day – Third Monday in October
- National Kentucky Day
- National Seafood Bisque Day
- National LGBT Center Awareness Day
- Pro-Life Day of Silent Solidarity – Third Tuesday in October
- National Pharmacy Technician Day – Third Tuesday in October
- National Chicken and Waffles Day *
- National Youth Confidence Day
- National Brandied Fruit Day
- BRA Day USA – Third Wednesday in October
- Hagfish Day – Third Wednesday in October
- Support Your Local Chamber of Commerce – Third Wednesday in October
- Medical Assistants Recognition Day – On Wednesday of Third Business Week in October
- National Witch Hazel Day *
- National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day
- National Reptile Awareness Day
- National Get Smart About Credit Day – Third Thursday in October
- Get to Know Your Customers Day – Third Thursday of Each Quarter (January, April, July, October)
- National Make a Dog’s Day
- National Nut Day
- National Color Day
- National Boston Cream Pie Day
- National Mole Day
- National TV Talk Show Host Day (Johnny Carson’s birthday)
- Swallows Depart from San Juan Capistrano Day
- iPod Day
- National Make A Difference Day – Fourth Saturday in October
- National Food Day
- National Bologna Day
- United Nations Day
- National Mother-in-Law Day – Fourth Sunday in October
- National Greasy Food Day
- Sourest Day
- Chucky, The Notorious Killer Doll Day
- National Financial Crime Fighter Day
- National Tennessee Day
- National Day of the Deployed
- National Mule Day
- National Pumpkin Day
- National Mincemeat Day
- National American Beer Day
- Navy Day
- National Black Cat Day
- National Internal Medicine Day
- National Chocolate Day
- National First Responders Day
- National Cat Day
- National Oatmeal Day
- National Hermit Day
- World Stroke Day
- National Pharmacy Buyer Day – Friday of Last Full Week in October
- National Frankenstein Friday – Last Friday in October
- National Breadstick Day – Last Friday in October
- National Speak Up For Service Day
- National Publicist Day
- National Candy Corn Day
- National Trick or Treat Day – Last Saturday in October
- National Doorbell Day
- National Caramel Apple Day
- National Knock-Knock Jokes Day
- National Magic Day
- Girl Scout Founder’s Day