Your Website Should Provide an EXPERIENCE!

Written by on November 22nd, 2008

Do your visitors leave your website talking?

Four Bells

Jimmy Hendrix emblazoned in the minds of nearly every Boomer who listened to FM radio in the late sixties the phrase,  “Are You Experienced”.   A generation of youth wandered the country trying to figure out what experience Jimmy, the new king of Rock and Roll was talking about.  Was he talking about drugs, love or dropping out!

Later, Joseph Pine and James Gilmore put a new definition to experience in their book,  “The Experience Economy”.  This is one of my favorite books, a must read for ANY business professional.  In their book, Joseph and James remind businesses that consumers are willing to pay MORE for an experience. They point out examples of businesses that are in commodity markets who charge a premium price simply by adding a unique “experience”.  The lessons learned from this book could position you ahead of your competitors and ahead in your bank account too!

Stay with me, I’m going to give you an experience that will make you RICH!

While eating my bowl of cereal, with blackberries, raspberries at 4 am, I usually start reading the New York Times and then head on to my Google News and Alerts.   This morning, I got caught up with an article by Hilary Howard about boutique hotels in LA.  Hilary wrote about a new hotel opening in Beverly Hills, www.slshotels.com which was created by Sam Nazarian, the producer of one mine and my son’s favorite shows, Entourage.

Curious, I clicked and visited their website.

The first thing I experienced was a chandelier with four monkeys, that were swinging the chandelier back and forth until it disappeared from the page leaving me on their main website.  Once on the site, Sam and his team provided background music that might have been taken from the movie Psycho or could have been the theme music from the TV series, Munsters.  Unique for a hotel chain charging $400 per night!

The thing that really made me laugh and took my experience to “A HOLE nuther level” was their use of four very ornate, unique bells to click on.  Rapidly disappearing from our customer centric, electronic world, this was the kind of bell that sat on a counter of a business, that you would press to let someone know you were there. (ding, ding, ding)  It was a common fixture at the front desks of hotels for most of the 20th century.

All of a sudden I found myself, rapidly clicking the different sounding bells and in a brief instant, (in my mind) saw myself in front of a huge adoring audience at the Hollywood Bowl, performing my new “bell” masterpiece.  I clicked the first bell, then the fourth, then the second, back to the third and then all four rapidly in succession.  What an experience.  (Wow, what was in the coffee I had this morning!)  Ok you try it. When you get on their main menu, click Contact.

I’m not suggesting you add music, that you copy exactly what they did, but think about how you can use their idea on your website.

Before the experience of my coffee wears off, let’s think of different “experience” applications that could be used as part of your “contact” button on your menu:

  • A plumber might give the visitor a plunger to get their attention. That’s right, the contact button would require you to plunge a toilet! (one of my assignments at our house)
  • Real-estate agents might have the wheel of a car that requires you to push the car horn button to get their attention or fill out a form
  • A pizza shop could use the old “drive in” movie sound box that you used to hang on your car window
  • Another experience idea would be for a physician to let a user pick up a stethoscope an “hear” what a normal heart beat is, what a damaged heart might sound like

Got the idea?  There are only a bazillion websites out there. 

You have to get your website out there and you have to give people not only an experience but you want to leave them talking about your website to their friends and colleagues. Skimping on your website design is your first BIG business mistake. Put some thought into it, make it something that could go viral!

I guarantee you the time and money you invest, WILL pay dividends.  Like Cousin Eddy says in Christmas Vacation,  “Clark it’s the gift that just keeps on giving”.

So, now that we’ve got you thinking, what “experience ideas” do you have?

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