How to use progressive profiling with your HubSpot forms

Last Modified: 09/12/2013
Progressive profiling is only available to Professional and Enterprise HubSpot customers.

What is progressive profiling?

Progressive profiling is a powerful technology that can help increase conversion rates and give you more insight into your leads by asking the right questions at the right time.

It replaces questions we’ve already asked a visitor with new questions in the order we decide. That way we can increase conversion rates by keeping our forms short, but also learn more about our visitors over time as they come back to our website and are asked different questions each time.

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Why is progressive profiling useful for marketers?

Progressive Profiling offers a range of marketing benefits, the key ones being the ability to:

  • Increase conversion rates by controlling form length - If you are focused on optimizing the conversion rates of your landing pages, you are probably always looking for opportunities to shorten your forms. With progressive profiling, you are a step closer to doing that! For instance, you can have a form of, say, three fields that is purely optimized for increasing conversions. As a contact fills out these three fields and revisits the same page (or another page with the same form), they can be presented with three (or more) other questions to answer. In this way, you are in full control of the number of questions you want to surface to your contacts to ensure your forms are converting at a high rate while still collecting valuable information.
  • Qualify contacts as they reconvert on your landing pages - By hiding questions that a contact has already filled out, you improve the usability of your form and increase its conversion rates. In most cases, the majority of the contacts in your database are not brand new. They are existing contacts who come back to your pages time and again and still fill out your forms. You have the golden opportunity to learn more about these people by asking them new questions in place of form fields that they have submitted in the past. This enables you to get to key questions that further qualify your prospects.
  • Reuse the same forms across different landing pages - In the past, you had to create multiple forms to gradually nurture your contacts and slowly push them down the sales cycle. For instance, you might send a segment of new contacts a short form of three fields and then another form, this time with five or more fields. To do that, now you no longer have to create two separate forms! One form can serve both purposes, thus proving to be an excellent tool in your marketing automation strategy.
  • Collect insights to better target to your contacts - Collecting information through progressive profiling also enables you to enrich the information you have about your contacts and customize your communication to different segments of your database based on it. Now you can get even more nuanced with your lead nurturing and persona building efforts!
  • Shorten your sales cycle - Lastly, through its emphasis on introducing qualifying questions as contacts return to your landing pages and forms, progressive profiling contributes to your marketing efforts in shortening the sales cycle. For instance, on a lead’s fourth or fifth visit to your site, you can pose more sales-centric questions, such as “Are you currently evaluating vendors” or “What other products are you using?”

How is progressive profiling designed?

Progressive profiling is designed according to marketing best practices.

That is why it is...

  • Easy to use - You don’t need to go through any configuration or setup process to start using progressive profiling. You don’t have to learn a new approach to using forms. You can simply continue building your form the way you used to, adding additional fields you have been wanting to ask in the progressive profiling queue. By tagging each of your fields as smart (by checking “hide field if data previously captured), you make it eligible for progressive profiling. So after it has been filled out by a contact, that contact will see a different question in its place.
  • Giving your control over the order of questions - Start with the questions that you have been already using on your forms and that you cannot operate without. Add additional questions you’d like to introduce, listing them by importance, leaving the last ones as nice-to-haves or the most advanced and sales-centric questions that might usually impact conversion rates negatively. For instance, your original questions can contain “First Name,” “Last Name,” “Email,” “Phone,” and “Company Name.” Tag the ones that you want to disappear and be replaced by new ones as smart fields. Then simply drag the divider to the point where you would like to separate the fields a contact sees on her first visit from all the rest.
  • Quick to add to existing Forms - By simply dragging the divider up and down your form, you can break down your form to first ask the most basic questions and then introduce the more advanced questions at the end.

What are some specific examples of progressive profiling?

  • Great for secondary calls-to-action - Once you launch a marketing campaign, you should always know what its secondary call-to-action is and how it is embedded in that campaign. For instance, if you create a marketing ebook, what call-to-action are you embedding in it? What about your marketing webinars and videos? These existing leads should visit a customized form posing questions that are more appropriate for their stage of the buying process.
  • Great for lead nurturing in Workflows - As you nurture people through HubSpot Workflows, you will most likely want different form fields to be exposed to contacts at different stages of the buying process. For instance, you can start nurturing Subscribers (people who have just opted in to receive your email newsletter) with one short form. Once they convert on it, you can use that very same form (with now new questions thanks to Progressive Profiling) on another page to convert them to the next lifecycle stage.
  • Great for paid marketing - Send the traffic from a paid marketing campaign to a landing page with Progressive Profiling. The unknown visitors will see a set of very broad questions while those who are familiar with your content and company, will be asked a more specific set of questions. In this way you optimize your campaign for both high conversion rates for new visitors and lead quality for known contacts.
  • Great as a survey tool on your blog - Blog readers tend to come back and read your content more frequently than any other website visitors. Take advantage of their engagement and learn more about them. Use a Progressive Profiling form on your blog to learn more about your blog readers. You can even craft the questions as a survey, thus helping you get answers to key business questions that help you improve your strategy.

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