Have you ever gone to Google and typed in “Do a Barrel Roll”? Go ahead and try it. I’ll wait.
How about changing your default language settings on Facebook? You’ll find a few options in there that are worth trying out. I recently changed my account to “English—Pirate” as a language… and I swear I’ve used Facebook a little more since then.
These are classic examples of “Easter Egg” Marketing: fun little surprises on your website, made to delight customers.
The great part about an Easter Eggs is, you let your users discover it on their own. You build it… and if it’s worth mentioning customers will market it (and therefore your brand) for you!
Why Easter Egg Marketing Works
People today have an aversion to “being sold”. Alternative forms of marketing are therefore growing like crazy because more and more customers are developing a blindness to classic-type ads. Even paid search ads on Google are being ignored by a majority of searchers!
Instead, consumers want to choose brands based on trust, reliability, and yes—fun!
Easter egg marketing works because to the consumer, it’s a surprise they weren’t expecting. It helps them identify with your brand on a more personal level than if they were to stumble upon your ad on Facebook or Google for instance.
Think about it. If you were on a site and found a gem you weren’t expecting… say, press the Tab and B keys on your keyboard and have a picture of a Tabby Cat appear on your screen (thank you, Asana!).
If cats are your cup of tea, you’d instantly share this discovery with friends, wouldn’t you? And most likely, those friends will then go see that Easter Egg for themselves. At least, that was the case when I discovered the Pirate English on Facebook. 🙂
What Makes an Easter Egg Successful
There are a few elements you’ll want to consider before going ahead and committing time to developing your Easter Egg.
The most important factor in deciding to hide an Easter Egg, is you want to make sure it’s suitable for your brand. I hope you have a specific brand identity, right? If not, you’ll want to read this.
For example, if your makeup studio sends the message of classic and sultry makeup, an easter egg that smears bright and colorful eyeshadow-type patterns on someone’s screen might not be quite right. Whereas having different fun historical icons pup up when a user scrolls over a certain area of your site or presses a key on their keyboard might be just right.
If your Easter Egg conforms to your brand’s identity, it should therefore appeal to your target audience! Once you have that down, you’re half-way there!
Easy to Find
If an Easter Egg is never found… then it’s not worth the effort!
Yes an Easter Egg is hidden… but you WANT people to find them. Consider the two examples I mentioned at the start of this article. It’s very likely that some people will genuinely type in “do a barrel roll” into the Google search engine… or want to change their language settings on Facebook. Those Easter Eggs—though “hidden” as in no one’s announced their existence—are very easy to stumble upon!
Consider that when you build your own Easter Egg. Develop them in such a way that gives any random user a decent chance at discovering them.
It’s not enough that your users find your Easter Egg. It needs to be fun, interesting and/or surprising enough to warrant users sharing it with their friends.
Think about it: the whole point of an Easter Egg is that you don’t share it yourself. So if you want it to work from a marketing standpoint, then you need your users to do the work for you! Odds are a good Easter Egg will be shared by 5-10% of users who discover it. Make sure you have a method of measuring these results.
What else should you know?
Alright, so I’ve convinced you: Easter Eggs are a great way to increase brand awareness through user sharing. Now I’ve got a few more tips if you’re going to go down that road.
A good Easter Egg doesn’t happen overnight for most businesses. Especially in your small business… you’ll want to do careful planning and discuss with a web developer before you execute on your decision to build an Easter Egg. If it’s one that’s time-sensitive (perhaps something that’s only active for a special occasion or day) then you want to give yourself enough time to develop and test your Easter Egg properly. Which brings me to my next point:
User testing is always a good idea when building a website, and this is also true when adding new features to your site. Make sure your Easter Egg works properly in all browsers, and that there are no unexpected side effects to having it on your site.
It might also be a good idea to have a few users go through your site and test it for you. You can use some friends or family if you want, or use services like UserTesting.com to have strangers go through your site. This might also be a great way to see if those users can actually FIND your Easter Egg. 🙂
Engage with Users
You’re a small business, which means you have the advantage of being able to engage with people one-on-one.
The point of Eater Egg Marketing is for users to spread the word for you, right? So help them along! You can set up alerts to monitor for mentions of your brand on social media like Facebook and Twitter, so that you are notified when someone is talking about you and your Easter Egg. If you find a user who mentions finding your Easter Egg, you can write a reply to that person and maybe even start a discussion about their discovery. This will in turn help other users discover that little delight for themselves!
The whole purpose of Easter Egg Marketing is to make something fun for your customers. But it should also be fun for you! An Easter Egg should convey a message about who you are as a brand on a very real level. So if Pirate Talk isn’t something you find appealing, don’t bother trying to work it into your content! (And if you don’t like pirate talk… I’m sorry but I don’t think we can be friends anymore).