Progressive profiling is a technique that allows marketers to gradually collect more data on leads at strategically timed intervals throughout the buyer’s journey. It involves requesting a few pieces of data at a time, rather than asking for too much all at once. Each interaction involves the exchange of something of value, such as an eBook, for a bit more data. This continues until, finally, a marketer has a complete picture of their leads and can send them to sales.
Getting to know your leads is essential to conducting successful inbound marketing campaigns. To get to know them, you need to gather essential data about them. With this data in hand, you can send them more targeted messages, attain more conversions and generate better results.
However, there’s a catch to this ideal scenario: You need a lot of information to improve your results. But website visitors are not fond of sharing a lot of personal information in online forms. As a result, people often abandon long forms, leave out data or give wrong data.
According to a study by Integrate, 40 percent of all B2B leads suffer from “poor data quality,” including duplicate data (15 percent), missing fields (8 percent) and invalid addresses (6 percent). A study by Demand Metric corroborates this reality: Only 30 percent of B2B companies say their data has a high degree of “completeness.” HubSpot researched the contact forms of 40,000 customers and found conversion rates increased by almost half when the number of form fields was reduced from four to three. Progressive profiling solves this data-collection conundrum for inbound marketers by collecting data at points when the buyer is most comfortable providing it.
Progressive profiling is possible thanks to dynamic web forms in marketing solutions, like HubSpot, that collect new information from leads each time they download a piece of content. When a lead returns for additional content, the marketing automation system can detect what information already has been provided, then create a dynamic web form asking for the next level of detail.
Here’s a basic example of how the progressive profiling process works as a lead travels through the buyer’s journey:
Progressive profiling is a win-win for companies and their contacts. The answers leads share make companies smarter so they can create more effective and meaningful marketing campaigns. Contacts gain content valuable to their role in their industry and company. This value exchange is at the core of your relationships with leads: They will give you the information you need to drive more relevant conversations in exchange for valuable content.
Done correctly, progressive profiling helps organizations gain multiple benefits.
Are you ready to gain the many benefits of progressive profiling? Here are four essential steps to implement the process.
Step 1: Do your research. Begin by thinking about the relationship you have with your customers, the questions you want to ask them and the value you can offer them in exchange for answering your questions. Before you ask your leads for data, ask yourself the following questions first:
Step 2: Build your progressive profiling system. Implementing progressive profiling works slightly different on different marketing platforms. HubSpot’s process, for example, includes the following steps:
Step 3: Create content your target audience will find valuable. The real power of progressive profiling is the content you offer leads in exchange for the information you receive from them. Be sure you always create content that delivers targeted value.
Step 4: Assess the performance of your profiling program. After launching your progressive profiling system, measure the results and assess whether or not your program helped your performance. For example, ask yourself:
Once you’re comfortable with progressive profiling, you can take the process to the next level with these pro tactics.
Progressive profiling solves a critical problem in digital marketing—how to gain the critical data you need to create high-converting offers. Progressive profiling reduces the psychological barriers of sharing too much too soon. Instead, leads share bits of valuable data over time. In this way, you can gradually build robust databases that help you meet your inbound goals—faster, easier and smarter.