Easter is just around the corner and preparations have already begun. Stores are stocking up with candy, parents are hiding pastel-colored eggs and children are getting ready for the hunt. But we’re here to tell you that Easter Eggs are no longer just child’s play; they’ve inspired a very real, very effective marketing strategy!
If you remember the thrill of scouring the backyard in search of those colorful eggs filled with chocolatey goodness, you’re in for some good news – the fun doesn’t end at adulthood. That very same thrill has now been repurposed into the magical world of digital Easter Eggs.
What are they?
Easter Eggs are little hidden messages, secret features or inside jokes that can be found on any platform in the digital sphere. There are no explicit instructions that lead to an Easter Egg, which makes it especially exciting when you stumble upon one at random. For example, Apple’s Siri is just full of sassy Easter Eggs that you’ll only find by asking her ridiculously random questions (or if you’ve lost all your child-like curiosity just search an online resource like this one).
Apple has been hiding the little jokes since the original Macintosh and they aren’t alone in this. Google is another master of Easter Eggs. Just open up your Google browser and type in the word “askew”. Just in case your fingers are too tired, here is what you would see (the entire page is tilted to the right). Who knew?We know that a Marketing Easter Egg sounds like an oxymoron – how can you market something that you don’t promote? So, sure they are entertaining, but can Easter Eggs really help your marketing efforts? The answer is a resounding YES.
Why do they work?
They have viral potential
When digital companies first started playing around with these hidden gems, they were only meant to be found by the most technologically-savvy. But, pretty soon they started to spread from one user to the next until they became a viral phenomenon.
So while you might not be doing the promoting, it has the potential to be promoted nonetheless. What makes it even more valuable is the kind of promotion – the coveted viral kind(!). The kind of sharing that brings you new followers, referral traffic and permanent links that boost your domain authority and your website’s potential to rank higher in search engines.
They give your brand a personality
An Easter Egg creates an inside joke between user and brand, encouraging ongoing engagement. A little wink creates a connection between humans, instead of enterprises. It doesn’t manner if you’re running a multi-million dollar corporation or a mom and pop shop, humanizing your brand by showing that you don’t take yourself too seriously and you’re not above a little joke between “friends”, creates a connection with your customers and an affinity that will trump those of other brands.
They give users a sense of reward
More than kids who love to stuff their face full of delicious chocolate eggs, everyone loves the feeling of the hunt. Why? Because nothing beats the sense of being rewarded for a job well done. If there is some kind of challenge in finding your Easter Eggs it will be all that more encouraging for people to engage with your brand in search of those hidden gems. If the ultimate reward is a coupon or promotion, it will be much harder for your users to let it go to waste because they actually worked for it.
How can small businesses use them?
The most important thing to remember when implementing Easter Eggs in your marketing strategy is that it is like icing on a cake (or paint on an egg). While they do a great job of generating engagement and awareness, you need a fully baked foundation before spreading these marketing treats. If you’re just starting out, kick off with solid social profiles, website or video ads and then, you can start planting the eggs.
On your website
Once you’re ready, the simplest way to start is to include a hide a surprise message on your site through a random link or once the hover over a certain icon. When users stumble on it, they are rewarded with a coupon code or funny video. While you’re not supposed to promote your digital Easter Eggs, a hint or two never hurt anyone. If you happen to have a team of programmers on standby, you can go for something a little more elaborate.
On social media
Don’t have a website? Not a tech wizard? Not to worry! You can find creative ways to plant these marketing surprises on your social media pages too. For instance, Harry & David, a gourmet gifts retailer, introduced a traditional, if digital, egg hunt on their social channels and offered a gift card in order to encourage fans to locate them. With disappearing Stories on Facebook and Instagram (even YouTube joined the party), it’s easier than ever to slip in little inside jokes or exclusive promo codes for users who are the right place and the right time. This tactic will have your followers constantly checking your social accounts for new posts.
In your video ads
Hiding Easter Eggs in videos is a classic marketing strategy (even Disney enjoys planting them here and there). Placing them inside video ads provides extra value for brands, both big and small, and we see it becoming more and more popular. Some Easter Eggs are subtle while some are MUCH less so, but they all do a good job at generating buzz from viewer to viewer. Cadbury even hid there Easter Eggs in other brands’ ads. The nature of these video eggs has viewers watching the video, again and again, ultimately sharing it with their friends and making it a great way to gain engagement and virality. You can also encourage your audience to identify a certain Easter Egg in every ad you share by rewarding the deductive few with a coupon or special promotion.
Have fun with it!
While Easter Egg marketing can serve as a strategical marketing tactic, don’t forget to focus on the fun! That is exactly what makes them so great – your audience wants to feel that they are sharing a good joke with you rather than feeling that you’re working to entertain them. So when posting on your socials, creating a video on Promo or planning your marketing strategy, consider what makes you smile and then see how you can incorporate it and share it with your customers.
Happy Easter 🙂