Data is the fuel that keeps your marketing automation system running. Some of that data you gather with little effort on the part of your leads, but for other information, you’ll need their input directly. Asking people to go through too many steps to get to what they want can turn them away, but asking for too little doesn’t give your marketing automation system all the data it needs. Progressive profiling is the ideal solution, making it easy for leads to fill out forms for downloads, newsletters, and loyalty programs.
Progressive profiling asks users for a small amount of information at first, retains that information, and adds blanks for new information with each successive contact with a user. For example, an initial download of gated content might ask only for a name, email address, and company name. Later, an email offer of a white paper or newsletter subscription form would require a mailing address, job title, and a line or two of firmographic information. By moving from fundamental data to progressively finer detail, you get all the information your marketing automation system needs while keeping leads engaged.
Increase Response Rates
Short, easy-to-complete forms draw more responses than long ones. You probably know this from personal experience; think about the last time you were confronted with a form that had a dozen lines or more. If you went ahead and filled in the information, you must have been highly motivated by the end result. If you skipped the form, you joined a large group of lost leads who weren’t quite ready to share so much information so soon in the relationship with that company.
To increase response rates, keep forms short. You have time to gather more information throughout a well-designed lead nurture program in your marketing automation system, so you don’t need to front-load forms and risk losing leads.
Give Leads a Break
Progressive profiling also leads to a better user experience. Customers like it when you make completing forms easier for them, and going to a progressive format with your subscription and sign-up forms shows them you value their time. Asking people to fill out the same information repeatedly suggests you might not be listening, but when subsequent forms auto-populate with the data you already have and only ask for a few additional details at a time, customers feel welcomed.
Ease Transitions to Sales
The hand-off from marketing to sales is a critical juncture in the sales pipeline, and it’s where many leads who haven’t been properly qualified are lost. From a sales perspective, the more they know about a prospect, the more effectively they can convert that sale. Sellers need details to make that happen, and progressive profiling gives them plenty of information about a lead – information your marketing automation system has collected slowly and painlessly.
You want to provide gates to content, not roadblocks. Progressive profiling is the way to do that while still gathering all the information you need to make lead nurture programs effective and satisfy your sales team’s need to know as much as possible about every prospect.
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