So your on a hot date with someone you just met….well they might be a bit unsettled 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 that their customers and prospects fill out lengthy forms requesting information that seemingly has nothing to do with the original offer, then, if they return the 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 companies would want to collect this data, since it’s essential to learning about contacts, providing more relevant content and developing a successful nurturing program. But how can you do this without using long, cumbersome forms that cause people to lose interest or become impatient?
The answer is progressive profiling, a technology offered by many marketing automation services, such as HubSpot, Eloqua, and Marketo. While this is not a new technology, it is certainly one that is underutilised.
How does progressive profiling work?
In a nutshell, progressive profiling uses dynamic forms to gradually gather demographic data and preferences over time.
Rather than asking a prospect to fill out a form with 10 required fields, marketers can pose new questions each time a contact visits their website or landing page, allowing them to steadily gain deeper insights.
4 reasons why you should use progressive profiling
1. Higher conversion rates
Because progressive profiling captures demographic data and preferences overtime, you can keep your forms relatively short—three to five fields. Shorter forms tend to have higher conversion rates because leads are not put off by the amount of information they are asked to provide. When developing the sequence of your forms, ask the most relevant questions first.
Research indicates that reducing each field on a web form increases conversion rates by about 3% to 7%.
2. Better experience for the visitor
With progressive profiling, there is no need to ask the same question twice. Not only is this annoying to your prospect, but you also lose out on the opportunity to gain insight to their buyer persona. Getting to know your prospects overtime allows you to deliver a more personalised experience through relevant and timely content.
3. More accurately qualify leads
Progressive profiling means Sales will waste less time interacting with unqualified leads and more time going after prospects who fit the sales-ready profile.
4. Arm sales more effectively for conversations with leads
Because progressive profiling allows for deeper insight into a prospects budget, concerns, interests and priorities, marketing will deliver significantly more relevant, usable information to Sales. Make sure that you work with your sales team to prioritize the information needed to qualify a lead and build your forms accordingly.
Creating a successful progressive profiling plan
To create a successful progressive profiling plan, you should start by identifying the following:
- Your business objectives for progressive profiling
- Technical requirements to sync up webforms with your marketing automation and CRM system
- How you will measure success
- What information your Sales team needs in order to qualify a lead
Below is an example of the stages of a progressive profiling campaign. Generally, the most important questions are asked first so that sales can research leads before they work their way through the profiling process.
Form 1: First Name, Last Name, Email
Form 2: Industry, Company Name, Job Title, Number of Employees
Form 3: Primary Challenge, Buying Authority, Phone Number
Form 4: Budget, Timeframe to Buy, Use of Competitive Products
Progressive profiling best practices
- With each form conversion, be sure to include the contact’s name or email address at the top. While some of your visitors might find it off-putting to be reminded that you already know their name, it increases the likelihood that a prospect will continue to enter valid information. You should also give visitors the option of editing their information.
- A mentioned above, make sure the most important questions are the first ones you ask in a form conversion. If the lead doesn’t fill out a second form you want to be sure you have enough information to research and contact them—particularly if your site tracking indicates high online activity.
- Make sure that you are strategic when developing your forms, your questions must be relevant to a prospects buying stage within the sales funnel.
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.
Have you implemented progressive profiling? How has it worked for your company?