Copy this technique from Amazon and improve your content marketing results

A little Amazon analysis can help content marketers improve customer journeys

We’re all familiar with the Amazon shopping experience. A quick search, a list of products and a click to view. You look at the image and read the product description. Then what? Well, this is where it gets interesting – and it’s where content marketers can learn a lot from the retail giant.

The potential Amazon purchaser is given a number of choices. First up will be a row of product images labelled ‘Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed’. Next is ‘Special Offers and Product Promotions’ then ‘Customers Who Bought This Brand Also Shopped For’. There are further images of ‘Promoted Products’ plus ‘Customer Reviews’. And the choices just keep coming! Next is ‘Customers Viewing This Page May Be Interested In These Sponsored Links’, then ‘What Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?’ and finally ‘Your Recently Viewed Items And Featured Recommendations’.

Amazon know a thing or two about customer behaviour and how to keep people engaged and on their site. Their policy could not be clearer: provide a great deal of relevant choices, packaged in a variety of ways. The intention is to present you with so many related choices that you will find the one that meets your need – and if it doesn’t, there’ll be another vast range of options on the next page, and the next. The goal is to get you to the point of purchase.

Content options aren’t optional

So how does the way you present content differ from Amazon’s? What’s the experience for a customer or prospect who engages with an email or social post and ends up on your site? Presumably they look at the piece of content that they came to see, but then what?

It’s all too easy for those parts of a website that carry the content to lack the precision engineering that drives the customer journey on purely sales sites. Content marketers must consider both their short and long term goals. First of all you want the customer to stay on the site, engaging, clicking, discovering more wonderful content. That means giving them a range of options. These don’t need to be as exhaustive as Amazon’s plethora of choices, but need to be broad enough that they stand a chance of finding something that appeals. Tagging of content should help your CMS suggest suitable further reading but it’s also good to throw in the odd wild card so you don’t end up in a subject cul-de-sac with nowhere to go.

Focus on the finish line

Dwell time and engagement is great but it isn’t the end goal. This is where you need to look at the big picture and be clear about where you want the site visitor to end up. Do you want them to sign up for a trial, to download a white paper that captures their email, to share something via social media? Or the Holy Grail: to make a purchase.

Your overall objective will depend on your business and the nature of specific campaigns, but we should never forget that content marketing is a means towards an end. By careful planning of customer journey and UX we should be able to funnel audiences towards a desired action. This requires a mixture of subtle signposting and, just like Amazon, plenty of choice.

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