Why should you consider progressive profiling?

You wouldn’t ask someone you just met how much money they make, right? Or if you were on a first date… you probably wouldn’t ask the person how many kids they want unless you were trying to scare them away.

The same rules apply when it comes to your web forms. You don’t want to send people running for the hills by asking a ton of personal questions the first time they come to your site.

But any savvy marketer knows that forms are the key to conversions – if you’re not asking questions, you’re not turning prospects into leads.

So how do you strike this perfect balance of asking enough (but not too many) questions?

The answer is progressive profiling.

Progressive profiling lets you capture the right information at the right time from your leads, so you can turn that first date into a second one. You’ll get the data you need to keep them engaged over time, and they won’t feel you’re pestering them for information they don’t want to give.

How Does Progressive Profiling Work?

Progressive profiling enables you to set up forms that will display questions based on the information you already have on a lead. A progressive field will only display when the data for that field is unknown. In other words, if you already have information from a lead for a specific field, the field will be replaced with one that the lead has not yet filled in.

For example, if you got a lead’s name and email the first time he came to your site, then you may not want to include those fields in the next form he fills out. When he comes back to your site a second time, you can ask for more detailed info like his company name and position – without the form being twice as long as it needs to be.

With progressive profiling, you are getting the most out of each visit a lead makes to your site (since they keep coming back for your super-engaging content, am I right?). Rather than collecting the same data every time a lead visits your site, you’re gradually collecting new info to get a more complete lead record that’s in turn more actionable.

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What Are the Benefits of Progressive Profiling?

There are three main benefits of using progressive profiling:

  • Your forms are shorter and easier to fill out.
  • You collect more info on your web visitors.
  • You save time and effort of creating tons of different forms.

1) Shorter Forms

If you keep your forms short and sweet, people are more willing to fill them out. Progressive profiling ensures that you can do this without missing out on any valuable info about your leads as they come back to your site over time.

Progressive fields also help avoid repetition for leads who have been to your site before. If you ask them the same questions every time, it’ll seem less personal and be far more likely to annoy them, even if they’re pretty far down the sales funnel. Furthermore, asking the same questions will be useless for you, since you already have that information.

With progressive profiling, you are capturing exactly the info you need at exactly the right time – for both you and your leads.

2) More Data on Leads

The more information you have about your leads, the easier it is to market to them. But getting info that is truly personal can be tough. Marketing software helps you track behavior so you can see what content leads are downloading or which pages they’re reading on your site, but sometimes there are questions that you simply need to ask.

Of course, if you put all of them on one form, it would be sure to turn almost everyone away and cause your conversion rates to plummet.

Progressive profiling lets you ask these questions gradually over time, placing one or two key questions in each form along the way, in an order that corresponds with where the lead is in the sales funnel.

The more engaged a lead becomes, the more flexibility you have to ask questions. For example, once a lead is pretty far down the sales funnel, you can start asking more “sales-y” questions, like whether they’re currently using or even considering another vendor. Not only does this give you a sense of what you’re up against, but it also helps you further shape that lead’s journey. If they say they’re considering other vendors, you can send them a relevant piece of content on how your product or service stacks up.

3) Time Saved

With progressive profiling, you don’t have to create different forms tailored to different landing pages. It allows you to reuse the same forms across multiple pages, and the progressive profiling technology will guarantee that leads are being asked questions that are relevant to where they are in the sales funnel.

For example, just because a lead ends up on a product demo landing page doesn’t mean they are ready to schedule a demo. This could even be his first time hitting your site. Rather than having static forms that are tailored to specific pages, progressive profiling lets you use the same forms across many pages, so that relevant questions are being asked at the right times.

This can save you a lot of time, since you’re using the same form throughout your site rather than developing a ton of specific forms tailored to various pages.

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Get Started With Progressive Profiling

Setting up progressive profiling in SharpSpring can be done with five simple steps. It’s easy to get started with it, and it will have immediate and significant effects on your conversion rates.

If you’re considering marketing automation, get a live demo today to see progressive profiling and tons of other features in action.

Isabel Hasty
Isabel Hasty writes and edits case studies to share client success stories and industry trends. She produces a variety of lead-generation content, including white papers, blogs, infographics, and thought leadership articles.