In our last post we gave a brief overview of Progressive Profiling, and how it could dramatically increase conversion rates on your website. Now we’ll go over the process in more detail, and show you some examples.
First: What is Progressive Profiling?
In a nutshell, Progressive Profiling is the use of dynamic form fields on a website to progressively capture basic and then additional information on a visitor. In order to access various content on your site (e.g. a white paper, webinar or e-book), a prospect fills out a short landing page form with their information. Each time your prospect returns to access more content, another short form is filled out, with a new set of questions to assess their profile and intent.
Progressive Profiling Best Practices
When implementing progressive profiling, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Many companies have improved the quality of their data and the quantity of new names by following some best practices. When we help our clients with progressive profiling, here is some of the advice we offer:
- Start with the basics. Always start by asking for the most important, short and simple information, like a prospect’s name and e-mail address.
- Strike a balance. By using both required and conditional fields, you can still capture new info while decreasing form abandonment by those who don’t want to divulge too much. For example, an e-mail address should be required while a job title can be conditional.
- Think about your data. In order to get the best data possible, use dropdown menus as much as possible. Later on, when you’re segmenting your lists or scoring leads, you’ll be happy you avoided text-only fields.
- Be strategic. Put some thought into how you’ll progressively tier your questions with each form. You don’t want to start by seeming invasive, and after some time your prospect will be invested enough to provide personal information.
- Remember their name. If a prospect has previously submitted contact information, dynamically pre-populate their name and e-mail address on future forms. Doing so means they won’t have to type out the same information, and you increase the chances that they’ll keep providing more (and valid) information.
Examples of Progressive Profiling
Many companies have already discovered and continue to recognize the power of progressive profiling. Below, we’ve highlighted some successful uses of progressive profiling forms.
Equilar, for example, has a well-done dynamic form on their website. In order to access content, a site visitor will first need to share a name and company name. Then, to view another, the visitor is asked for a first/last name (Equilar, like the other company shown below, has dynamically pre-populated the return visitor’s e-mail address). Upon the third visit for content, Equilar asks for a job title.
Using this method to tier their questions, Equilar has the information to:
- Assess buying authority
- Score prospects based on their similarity to an “ideal prospect profile” and qualify HOT leads for sales
Now let’s take a look at Couchbase (right).
Couchbase initially requires prospects to fill in a little more data to view their content. They start off by asking for contact information and phone number. They’ve also included more detailed questions about the prospect’s company, including size, industry, and primary challenge. By doing so Couchbase collects enough information to create a viable prospect profile even if secondary forms are not filled out.
Progressive Profiling Resources
More Examples of Progressive Profiling
Here are some other well-executed examples of progressive profiling:
- Pardot: http://www.pardot.com/uncategorized/how-do-i-set-up-progressive-profiling-using-conditional-fields
- BigMachines: http://info.bigmachines.com/whitepaper-download-request.html
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