What Is Progressive Profiling?

Progressive profiling is a lot like dating. When on a first date, you’re likely to find your date dodging for the “bathroom” if you ask what his or her blood type is. Similarly, you wouldn’t want to ask a new lead too much information on the first visit or you’re likely to see them bouncing away from your offer.

With progressive profiling, marketers gradually gain lead intelligence while still growing lead conversions because leads aren’t turned off by the amount of information they are asked to provide. Because more form fields can decrease lead conversions, you shouldn’t ask for all the information you want on one form.  In dating, you progressively learn more about the other person or else your date may end earlier than expected.  With progressive profiling, you gradually learn more about a lead without them leaving your website sooner than expected.

How Does Progressive Profiling Work?

When a visitor fills out a form on a website landing page for the first time, they are required to only answer a few form fields with progressive profiling.  The next time that visitor fills out a form you replace the form fields with new form fields to gain additional lead intelligence. The below image displays progressive profiling on the HubSpot platform.


Here’s an example of a typical sequence that could be used with progressive profiling:

The first download your visitor encounters, you’d ask basic questions like the following:

  • First name
  • Last name
  • Email

On the second content download, you’ll get additional information for targeting and qualifying the lead like:

  • Role
  • Location
  • Employees

During the next conversion, you can get detailed information that will help qualify:

  • Phone number
  • Time frame to purchase

Prior to progressive profiling, marketers would usually create a different form for each stage in the buying cycle because they wanted the required form fields to match the value of the offer. For awareness offers like an e-book of industry statistics, you’d only include a few form fields, but for consideration offers like a case study, you would start to require more form fields that will ultimately help you qualify the lead. With progressive profiling, you are able to use the same form for different stages of the buying cycle. However, you should proceed with caution when doing this for a couple reasons:

  • A form field for one persona may not be relevant to another persona. In this case, create a progressive profiling form for each persona.
  • If a visitor’s first conversion ever on your website is on an offer like a consultation, you will not want to use the same progressive profile form as you did for an e-book because the basic information may not provide enough contact or qualifying information for sales.

When used wisely, progressive profiling allows marketers to gather basic information but also build lead intelligence on repeat conversions.  In a nutshell, it allows marketers to build lead data without being annoying or invasive.

Have you implemented progressive profiling? How has it worked for your company?