Get to Know Your Audience with Progressive Profiling
July 15, 2020
Let’s talk about your database: the place where all of your customer and prospect data lives. How do you use it? What information helps you determine a qualified lead? What information do you wish you had? How do you get more information from prospects?
As marketers know, collecting the right data from your prospects and customers allows you to zero in on their needs and preferences, both stated and implied. By designing touchpoints to elicit new information from your returning visitors over time, you can build an increasingly detailed picture of your audience, enabling you to target more precisely and serve up more relevant content that can help you develop your visitors into customers.
This process of progressive profiling is an integral part of digital transformation. If you leverage your marketing tools to plan ahead and progressively build your contact profiles, you can get fresh information from your audiences every time they get information from you.
Understanding Progressive Profiling
You may have multiple forms on your website, including options like Contact Us, Subscribe to Our Content, Request a Demo, and more. Each of these forms serves a specific purpose, but, with repeat visitors, you may be collecting the same set of data with each submission. Progressive profiling enables you to capitalize on the opportunity to collect new information with each form-fill, hiding fields for which you already have data to collect new details from existing contacts.
Putting into Practice with Forms
When a visitor navigates to your website to download content, they are prompted to fill out a form with their contact information. For new visitors, these fields should be your must-have identifiable pieces of information, such as First Name, Last Name, Company Name, Job Title, Phone Number, etc. Submitting the form activates cookie tracking, associating any new activity and subsequent form submission(s) with this contact record.
Marketing automation tools like HubSpot and Marketo make progressive profiling options available through the functionality of forms. Cookie tracking can auto-fill known data into fields on future forms. In addition, marketers can queue up progressive fields to display when a known contact returns to download new content or fill out another form. For instance, if you have already collected Company Name and Job Title, consider collecting Company Size and Annual Revenue, which will appear in the place of those initial fields for a returning visitor.
Since form length may impact your conversion rates, keeping forms short and simple to complete will lower the barrier to entry for new and repeat submissions alike. The type of form and value proposition can play a role as well, so be sure to tailor each form and its associated fields to the audience you expect to submit it.
Analyzing Customer Behavior
If your tool stack does not include progressive profiling options, think about the order in which prospects tend to consume your content. Start by evaluating the leads that turned into customers. Did they consume white papers earlier than eBooks? Did they register for webinars after downloading a how-to guide? Depending on how your contacts have behaved in the past, consider changing one or two fields in the forms gating content they tend to discover later in the customer journey. This will help you build a robust contact profile with unique information at every stage.
Thinking Outside the Box
A contact does not need to fill out a form for you to collect data. Consider assigning contact properties or profile attributes based on click engagement and digital behavior. For example, consider introducing polls or self-selection buttons in your email content. Ask questions and assign subsequent values that allow you to gain meaningful insight from your contacts’ responses.
Focus on building lead intelligence from your repeat conversions, pairing behavior and activity with delivering a positive user experience. By employing these tactics to learn more about your audience, you can improve the value of their interactions with your brand, enticing contacts to return to engage with your content.
Unlocking Potential for Your Audiences
By collecting more information on your contacts, you can unlock opportunities in list segmentation and lead qualification. Knowing more about who your audience is, how they behave and what interests them can help you realize greater ROI in advertising and shorten your lead qualification cycle.
With additional data points, you can segment your prospects and customers even further than before. Build lists with deeper sophistication to evaluate your best opportunities. This can help you reach your audience on other channels as well, including on social media.
Further information on firmographic, demographic and behavioral activity and intention can inform which of your contacts are qualified and ready to buy. As they interact more with your brand, they generate more data for you to use in your targeting efforts, feeding your sales team more information to assist in their outreach and conversations.
By making your marketing automation and data collection tools work for you, you can save time and budget to devote to other initiatives, including content development. With additional gated content, you can drive contacts to fill out forms that will feed your progressive profiling efforts – which, in turn, help you hone your content strategy to attract, qualify and convert better leads.