If you were a sales assistant on the floor of a retail store, the last thing you’d want to say when you approach a customer is, “Hi, what’s your email address, phone number, and monthly income?”
Instead, you’d interact in a personable way and ask them what they are looking for. Based on their preferences, you would gauge other items they might like in the store until you have a well-rounded understanding of your new customer.
So why don’t we treat leads like this in the virtual world?
When potential customers subscribe to emails they typically are asked for a slew of questions like their phone number, gender, birthday, company role, and monthly budget in a popup signup form. But in such a tech-savvy world, shouldn’t there be a way to avoid these nitpicky questions and cut right to the chase?
This is where progressive profiling comes into play.
By looking at a user’s activity on your website, you don’t need to ask them as many personal questions when they subscribe to emails.
Progressive profiling uses the following tools to gain more information about your potential lead:
– Email enrichment
– Soft data
IP tracking: The IP address is the geolocation from which the email was sent. Knowing where your customers live geographically can be a tremendous help for your email and marketing tactics. Just remember the IP address isn’t always foolproof. Sometimes this is the location in which the server for an email’s hosting company is located if by chance the email was first created by the server company.
In addition, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) rule passed by the EU has required all companies seeking an EU citizen’s personal data to ask permission in plain text. This means most online services must include more “click to proceed” boxes explaining their intent when trying to extract information about a user.
Email enrichment: If you’re a B2B business this is a valuable tool for accessing information about your subscriber’s job title, receiving updates of any user’s job changes, and filtering out redundant or outdated data.
Soft data: Email services can track website activity from anyone viewing your pages or adding products to shopping carts.
Progressive profiling benefits:
– Questions in sign up fields are never redundant (each contacts gets a custom experience)
– You can gain better insight into their interests and web activity
– You can create more personalized emails
Progressive profiling pulls data at a slower rate after watching a user’s activity (and perhaps the user activity from others associated in the same company or household) over time. This way a long list of questions when they first subscribe, sign up for an e-book, or purchase a product, can be avoided. Redundant questions from initial signup forms can also be avoided since your system already has this set of data from the buyer.
The response is not immediate, but it does take into account user activity that a laundry list of informational questions will not necessarily solve.
For example, by using email service providers to track website activity, you can figure out what products potential leads keep looking back at, or which events or seminars they keep rereading. By reviewing this soft data, you have insight into their preferences, which can allow you to target your customer with specific email campaigns.
Progressive forms will break down long signup lists into smaller lists your consumers can fill out over the course of utilizing your site’s features. For example, you might just start by asking their email address and name for weekly emails. Now if they sign up for an e-book or seminar, you can ask for their company name and position.
There are always exceptions to the rule, but for most email subscription forms or demo requests, the less questions asked the better. By decreasing from 8 form fields to 4 form fields, Imagescape had a 120% jump in conversion rates. Hubspot researchers also noticed in their study that form fill rates with only one question listed had a 20% conversion rate compared to a 10% rate from five text area fields.
Over time you’ll have gained access to a substantial set of information about your customer without having to initially overwhelm them. You can take advantage of their data by devising personalized emails and drip campaigns catered to their needs, which they will appreciate since they have already shown their devotion to your brand.
See how you just humanized a marketing automation technique? It’s really that simple. Not only will your customers appreciate the shorter lists of questions, you’ll also have a better understanding of who they are as a customer.