For B2B marketers, forms are a terrific tool for gathering information and generating leads. Placed on a landing page or website and used with a proper incentive for completion (“receive our rockin’ new ebook, white paper, etc.”), forms can significantly increase your conversion numbers.
However, there is one small problem: your leads hate forms — like seriously hate them. Forms are repetitive, monotonous, and always make you feel like there is at least a 50/50 chance you are signing yourself up for some serious spam.
Unfortunately, forms are a necessary part of any digital marketing initiative and are not going anywhere anytime soon. Although you can’t do away with forms completely, you can make them more enjoyable for consumers and more useful for your marketing. How? With progressive profiling.
What is Progressive Profiling?
Progressive profiling, sometimes referred to as a dynamic form, is a feature of marketing automation platforms that allows you to select which form fields appear based on the information you already have about a particular lead. This allows you to collect new information about a prospect each time they fill out a form. This means shorter, less repetitive forms for your leads and more valuable information in the long run for you. It’s an easy win-win that reduces the friction of conversion and allows you to build relationships more naturally.
Lets take a more in-depth look at the advantages of progressive profiling.
Build Relationships Naturally
Have you ever seen a TV or movie character with amnesia? They introduce themselves over and over again, asking the same questions in a continuous loop. This is pretty abnormal social behavior, right? Well, that is what your forms are like for your leads without progressive profiling!
Natural relationships are built slowly over time. You don’t ask for the same information over and over again and you certainly don’t try to learn somebody’s life story on your first meeting. Here are a few best practices for progressive profiling (and relationship building):
- Start with important info first (i.e. Name, Email, Company)
- Start broad and get more specific
- Use more specific questions later in the sales cycle
Reduce the Friction
Getting more conversions is all about reducing friction for your prospects. You want to overcome all objections and hesitations to make the conversion process as smooth as possible. Progressive profiling helps to smooth out the process on a number of fronts.
Because you are collecting more information over time, you are able to keep your forms shorter (we recommend no more than 4 form fields) and easier to complete. By never asking the same question twice, you are also able to avoid annoying repetition in your fields. Both improvements make form completion a smooth, more natural process for your prospects.
Gain More Information!
By asking the right questions of your prospects at the right times, you are ultimately able to collect more information about each prospect. Although marketing automation platforms can pull in massive amounts of data for a given prospect from a third party like LinkedIn, obtaining this information from the prospects can be more reliable.
The more data you have on your prospects, the more powerful your marketing can be. Lead nurturing, segmentation, and sales intelligence all rely heavily on the data gleaned from your marketing and more data means more accuracy and ultimately more effectiveness.
Want to learn more about progressive profiling? Read about it in our “Best Practices Guide to Landing Pages“ white paper!