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Content Marketing And Shopping Carts

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Thursday January 5, 2012 )

If you’re going to offer something as lightweight as a free executive summary of a horribly expensive report – don’t make it a shopping cart item and force folks to go through a lengthy checkout process.

I received an email today about a study relating to online marketing that offered a free executive summary of the research.

It sounded interesting, so I clicked on the link, expecting that at the worst I would have to enter an email address in order to download it. Heck, the link had a tracking function as I’m on the company’s list, so I shouldn’t have even needed to do that.

I was presented with the landing page to purchase the full report for a tad under a thousand dollars, or to download the summary for free. Ticking a box added it to the cart.

Then I was transported to a full shopping cart checkout process, which required me to enter a first name, last name, company name, job title, company industry, phone number and of course an email address.

That is where I stopped. What else were they going to want from me? Turns out I wasn’t that interested after all.

Here’s the thing – had I been able to download the freebie summary easily, I would have probably been writing about that right now rather than the hoop-jumping I went through – and I would have linked to the company.

To me, this was a content marketing fail. Sure, the company is probably aiming at a different level of marketer than what may frequent this site. Even if they were targeting the latte-sipping, al-fresco dining, single-malt scotch swilling corporate crew; every relevant mention and link counts; particularly when you’re trying to hawk a PDF for a grand.

I make mention of this only to recommend that smaller online players don’t see this type of approach to content marketing as “best practice”. Leave it to the corporate snobs who often are more clueless in some aspects of online marketing than we are anyway.

Just settle for grabbing the person’s email address and first name – and be thankful they are giving you that.


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