Progressive Profiling Explained: Collect More Data Without Freaking Leads Out
When you meet spomeone for the first time they might be a little unsettled if you walk up to them, shake their hand and ask for their blood type and shoe size within the first 30 seconds. And then, if they weren’t already freaked out enough, they’ll definitely be running for the hills if you ask the same questions over and over all evening!
So why do some companies do just this? They insist their prospects fill out lengthy forms requesting information that seemingly has nothing to do with the original offer. Then, if they return to the site they find they have to fill in all that information again just to access another piece of content.
It’s understandable that you would want to collect as much data as possible, since it’s essential for understanding your prospects, providing more relevant content and developing a successful nurturing program. But how can you do this without using long forms that cause people to lose interest?
What is Progressive Profiling?
Progressive profiling uses a marketing automation platform and dynamic (changing) forms to gradually gather prospects demographic data and preferences over time.
Lots of form fields can decrease lead conversions because leads are turned off by the amount of information they are asked to provide. Shorter forms can lead to higher conversion rates because not as much information is being requested.
Your form might ask for first name, last name, email, and company name but you want to find out more about your leads such as their revenue, how many employees they have, what they do in their leisure time, etc. You don’t want to deter prospects away by asking too many questions or by having a really long form. Progressive profiling allows you to accomplish shorter forms by removing already-known data.
How Does Progressive Profiling Work?
With progressive profiling, when a visitor fills out a form on a website or landing page for the first time they are required to only answer a few form fields. Then each time they re-visit your site looking for more information about how you can help them achieve their goals, they are willing to provide a little more information about themselves.
If your marketing automation platform recognises the user’s cookie, previously captured fields are replaced by new questions. As a result, returning visitors don’t feel like their privacy is being invaded and they are not turned off by the amount of form fields they are forced to fill in. At the same time, you steadily gain deeper insights into their persona.
Example of Progressive Profiling
Below is an example of progressive profiling. Like we explained above, each form will automatically update and ask a different set of questions. Generally, the most important questions are asked first so that sales and marketing can research and contact leads even if they don’t complete the entire profiling process.
You will notice that first name, last name and email are included on every form. This is form convention and keeps your forms looking professional. Once you know this information about a prospect your marketing automation platform should automatically pre-populate these fields – so the prospect won’t have to re-fill them. For example, the first time someone is shown a form ask for the minumum information to get the most people to submit like this:
Then having gained trust you might use a progressive profiling form for subsequent downloads where all the data you already know is prepopulated and questions are queued in priority order to allow further data to be collected in non intimidating little steps. The queued fields Industry, Number of Employees and Company Name will replace the Job Title once the Job Title is known on subsequent visits by the lead.
Progressive profiling isn’t a quick fix, it takes patience. But when used wisely it allows marketers to build lead data without being annoying or invasive.