Easter Eggs Aren't Only For Easter

Build a better relationship with your customers by giving them a little something extra they might not expect.
November 18, 2011

I don't know about you, but I've always been drawn to products that have that extra little something in them.

People love to discover tiny built-in "easter eggs" or hidden features that only a few people may notice in a product. These might be buried tracks on an album, special features in a game or web application, or a special prop in a TV show.

You can add easter eggs into most anything we watch or listen to and a lot of what we use.

It may seem frivolous or just one more thing to think about, but hiding an easter egg in your product or website can help you build a better relationship with your customers.

Easter eggs reward the true fan

Adding unexpected intrigue to your site or product gives your fans something to look forward to. The producers of the TV show Psych include a pineapple in nearly episode to give fans "in the know" something to look for.

The true fans are the ones you want to reward, and giving them a little extra lets them know that you care.

Easter eggs break the monotony

Google loves to add easter eggs to their products: nifty logos, funny error messages and April Fool's Day pranks. The company specializes in search, which may seem monotonous, but they can get away with adding lots of fun extras.

When your web company does something mundane, adding unexpected "treats" for users provides a refreshing break from the monotony.

Easter eggs add humor

Easter eggs may not be appropriate for every company: You probably wouldn't want a comical easter egg on, say, the Mayo Clinic website. But companies have learned that humor can pique reader interest. And easter eggs are a great way to add humor.

More and more marketers are using humor for traditional, no-nonsense products like insuranceonline stock trading or even soap.

Look no further than Google's famed April Fool's Day jokes. Fake products like Google Translate for Animals or the Google Copernicus Center, a fake hiring center on the moon, make people laugh every year.

Easter eggs add intrigue

When you hide easter eggs in your product, you make users wonder what else might be hidden.

The PC computer game Myst of the mid-‘90s was almost solely based on finding easter eggs and clues hidden on the mythical island. The game focused on the excitement of exploring the unknown and poring over every detail within the game for easter eggs.

Easter eggs are fun team projects

Teams who work hard every day appreciate being able to cut loose and create something that doesn't directly influence the bottom line. It's good for team morale and it relieves some pressure.

Easter eggs are marketing tools

J.J. Abrams is the master of using easter eggs to sell something. Along with Abrams' blockbuster film Cloverfield, Abrams created 1-18-08.com, a site with pictures that the viewer could move around in order to interpret a series of events. Viral sites for the drink Slusho! and for a Japanese drilling company Tagruato were both created to add to the mythology of the Cloverfield story. Abrams used these sites to tell side stories that added more mystery and generated interest in the movie.

Easter eggs can be viral

Easter eggs are inherently viral. What's the first thing you want to do when you discover an easter egg? Tell your friends. We humans don't want to share the mundane; we want to share the unique. We're drawn to it. Easter eggs are natural viral tools.

At the end of the day, easter eggs show your customers that you pay attention to detail. Sure, it's all fun and games. But sometimes the little things make all the difference to the person using your product.

For more business insights, follow Glen on LifeDev.

Glen Stansberry writes at LifeDev. He is also the co-founder of Howdy, a way for small business sites to improve site interaction. You can find more of Glen's business insights on Wise Bread, the leading personal finance community dedicated to helping people get the most out of their money.