When you’re getting to know someone, chances are, you aren’t going to probe them with deeply personal questions that violate their privacy.
Unless that’s what you’re going for, but we don’t recommend it.
In a situation like a first date or introducing yourself to a classroom, you’re most likely going to keep it succinct and provide the bare minimum. Things like your name, where you’re from, your favorite color, etc.
With progressive profiling, it’s similar to the process of getting closer with someone more like a friend, significant other, or, in our case, a lead.
Why ask for the same things over and over on a form when you could take that reconversion opportunity to learn something new about them?
Welcome to the world of progressive profiling.
What Is Progressive Profiling?
Progressive profiling is a practice where you use forms to gather more information from your leads and nurture them through premium content offers and other resources on your website.
Without all the probes and uncomfortable silence.
Asking for a ton of information at one time can actually decrease lead conversion, so progressive profiling allows your team to gradually qualify and nurture leads without damaging conversion rates.
How Does Progressive Profiling Work?
Marketing automation tools like HubSpot and Marketo give you the opportunity to leverage progressive profiling through different forms and workflows.
For example, if you already have the first and last name of a contact, as long as you have queued up questions, they’ll see different fields required on a new form necessary to get a content offer.
It's a fair trade. They get their new resource and you get a few more details about them without it coming across as an interrogation.
5 Benefits of Progressive Profiling
Progressive profiling is like gathering lead intelligence where the pieces of the puzzle can help you better assist your contacts and their pain points.
It can also help with:
1. Establishing Lifecycle Stage Criteria
Based on a lead’s activity and information provided, you can see where they are in the buyer's journey and better define what constitutes an MQL, SQL, or opportunity.
2. Preparing More Targeted Email Campaigns
Reconverted leads can provide insights to their industry/specific niche, which leads to your emails actually resonating and speaking to them.
And of course we know personalized emails have a better overall open and engagement rate, so this is something marketers are always seeking.
3. Inspiring Content Ideation
Questions such as “What’s your biggest marketing challenge?” on a form may give you interesting answers you never thought about before.
From this, you can create content that helps answer your lead’s challenge and have them look to you as a true thought leader.
4. Drawing More Leads
Often, if someone arrives at a landing page with a long form, they’ll be more discouraged to fill it out.
With progressive profiling, you can shorten and simplify your forms with the intention that you’ll continue marketing to them, and reconversions will allow you to learn more about them without being intrusive.
5. Preventing Repetition
No one likes mindless repetition. Helping your users save even a few seconds of time can be helpful for your brand in their mind in the long run.
6 Progressive Profiling Best Practices to Follow
When working for lead information and reconversions, it's always best to keep certain tips and tricks in mind so that you're truly optimizing your efforts.
Here are some best practices we've found to help you when practicing progressive profiling:
1. Keep Your Forms Short.
This is kind of a testament to the entire point of progressive profiling. You don't want to ask all the questions at one time and actually dissuade any actual conversions.
Try to keep the number of fields on a form between four and six. If you can ask for less, then do it. Give your visitors a break from filling their entire life story every time they land on a page.
2. Start Out Broad and Then Get Specific.
In the beginning, you'll want to ask for more general information. Name, company, date of birth, that sort of stuff. Again, you're trying to capture the basic data while still catching the visitor's interest.
As they get further into the profiling process though, you'll want to be a bit more detailed and specific. Ask for more targeted answers progressively, like budget or why they're looking for a specific product.
3. Be Strategic in Survey Timing.
It's such an obnoxious customer experience to get a survey on a product you only just received. Or even worse, didn't receive.
With the faith that you're delivering on your promised services, it's still not good to send a prospect a form too soon. It comes across as pushy and desperate.
Establish a relationship before you start prospecting for more data.
4. Align Questions with Lifecycle Stages.
When building your forms and organizing your questions, keep in mind that your visitors may be in varying stages of the buyer's journey.
Conduct an analysis into your number of conversion events before a customer commits to a sale and factor in the length of your sales cycle. This data will help you organize the right questions for different stages.
5. Aim to Identify Your Buyer Personas.
You can also segment your questions based off of your targeted buyer personas.
By curating the forms and working them into segment-specific pages, you can institute lead nurturing workflows that will help bring in your ideal customer and also bolster your audience intel.
6. Leverage Questionnaires and Other Data Capture Methods.
Surveys, questionnaires, and quick multiple choice forms allow you to gather audience interest and behavioral data as well. Not every touchpoint has to be a landing page field form.
Give your customers some diversity and offer them the chance to simply click their answer and move on. It saves them time while also fueling your analytics.
Progressive Profiling Example
It's always easier to follow a path when it's laid out in front of you clearly, so we'll go through a quick scenario where you can see progressive profiling in action:
1. First Visit
Your perfect customer lands on your blog page for the first time. They decide that they'd like to subscribe and fill out a form. This first form should require the bare minimum of information. For example:
- First name
- Last name
- Email address
2. Second Visit
During the second visit, they're expressing significantly more interest in your business by downloading one of your content offer. You're not coming on too strong if you ask for the following on the landing page form:
- Company name
- Job position
3. Third Visit
That third stop is where you can really hone in on the valuable details. They've built a relationship with your brand. You can ask for contact information at this point so that they can start building a rapport with one of your sales reps.
- Phone number
- Purchase timeframe
- Schedule appointment
As time passes, you'll slowly be able to develop a clear picture of the prospect. You'll learn what they want, they'll learn what value you can offer, and it will grow into a purchase.
Making It Happen
Progressive profiling is a great way to gather actionable lead intelligence that can be vital for your sales team (when they get to SQL status, of course).
Start building profiling forms in your marketing hub and getting the info you need to drive business for yourself and learn more about your audience.