Progressive Profiling

How to generate more leads using progressive profiling

What is progressive profiling?

Progressive profiling is a form strategy designed to gradually build up a profile of your prospects each time they interact with your product or service.

Progressive profiling allows you to keep forms short and to the point, starting with the most basic information like name and email address, but gradually leading towards much more in depth questions that can help you better understand where your prospect is in the buying cycle.  

As the prospect’s interaction with your product; service or content continues you’ll build brand trust, enabling you to ask for more information, tailored to the intelligence you’ve already gathered, building up an accurate profile of your prospects over time.

How does progressive profiling generate more leads?

At a basic level, reducing the number of fields required on a form can increase your form conversion rate by x%.  This simple change can increase the number of leads you’re able to generate through your website. Multi-step forms lower the threshold for completion, making it feel less like a chore to complete a form.  

Progressive profiling not only allows you to increase the number of leads you’re generating, but it improves the quality of the data you hold on that prospect, enabling smarter segmentation and as a result, an improved user experience which is likely to have a positive effect on your brand perception with your audience and increase the likelihood of converting a lead into a paying customer. 

The top 5 benefits

  • Reduce the number of forms you need to create – By using progressive profiling you’re able to ask the right questions regardless of which landing page the prospect is filling out their details on which reduces the need to create new forms for every single landing page.  However, you should be careful to create separate forms for content where more specific questions are required.
  • Streamline the prospect journey – Using tools and strategies like progressive profiling to streamline your prospect journey is a good idea.  The user experience will be easier, they’ll feel more comfortable with your brand as you’re not requesting in appropriate information and they’re more likely to convert.  
  • Qualifying leads – By gaining additional information each time a prospect converts on a page, you can ask further qualification questions which will help identify relevant leads more quickly.  
  • Allow for more targeted lead nurturing – By increasing the depth of the profile you’re building for your prospects, you can use this information to target the prospect with more relevant follow up information based on their data as opposed to simply segmentation by the subject of the lead magnet.
  • Speed up the buyer journey – With more information on a prospect, you’ll be able to target them with more relevant offers, products or services which will result in a shorter buyer journey.

How to use progressive profiling with the 4 biggest marketing automation platforms

All the major marketing automation platforms allow you to set up progressive profiling.  For ease, we’ve identified the instructions to implement it on the four biggest marketing automation providers. 

Eloqua 

Marketo 

Pardot 

Hubspot 

Progressive profiling is a powerful form strategy, which when used with the right marketing automation software can increase conversion and speed up your prospect’s buyer journey.  Progressive profiling is just one of a number of form strategies you should be testing.  For more ideas see our blog on Maximizing Web Conversion from Organic Traffic. 

How much you could improve your web conversion by?

By analyzing your current web conversion rates and optimization practices, we can estimate the projected uplift in leads you can expect from working with GatedContent.com.


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Lead generation

Most Marketers are missing out on high value leads – are you one of them?

Successful lead capture is about more than just great campaigns and sticky content. It’s about broad reach and consistent effort across every channel or platform your business is engaged with. 

Focus on campaigns

Marketing has a tendency towards a hyper-focus on “campaigns,” and especially “campaign launches” or “rollouts.” A lot of attention is paid to a campaign up until it’s launch, and then everyone rushes around preparing for the next one. 

There are two typical reasons marketers focus on campaigns: 

  1. Campaigns are controllable events with specific goals and deliverables
  2. Campaigns are a simpler, quicker way to deliver value, especially if operating in a global enterprise organization. 

Top Rank claim “Campaigns should be intertwined with an overall, always-on strategy to create marketing harmony and get the ultimate value out of all your efforts”.

 

It’s the ‘always-on’ strategies where a lot of marketers are missing out on leads, because they are distracted by the pressure to deliver multiple campaigns and new content. 

There’s often a huge investment in new content creation and short campaigns to promote it, but far less focus on driving long term value from that content.  

Rockwell Automation

This was the challenge faced when GatedContent.com worked with Rockwell Automation.  Like many enterprise organisations, this world-leading industrial automation and information company found themselves struggling to maximise the benefit of their content investment. In spite of a library of hundreds of valuable assets – spanning whitepapers, case studies, data sheets and guides, they weren’t seeing a return.  

As an international organisation with stakeholders around the world, it was essential for the company’s website to cater to multiple languages and multiple countries. Without a way to centralise their content gating strategy, and report on global content performance and marketing attribution, accurately calculating the ROI of the company’s content efforts seemed impossible.

Making the most of organic traffic

Rockwell needed to start making their content assets work harder for them. They had high levels of organic traffic to their website, but this traffic wasn’t converting and high value leads were regularly being missed. Their focus was on conversion from campaign pages, so more general web traffic was being overlooked.  

The solution was utilising relevant assets from their content library right across their website.  Web pages with no call to action were reviewed, and relevant content assets were gated and  added to the page.  For Rockwell, this resulted in a 700% increase in organic traffic conversions from their previously underperforming site. 

Formulating a content gating strategy that’s quick and easy for marketers to deploy without technical support gives marketers the opportunity to squeeze the value from their organic traffic and reduces the instance of missed opportunities. 

If this is something you’re considering for your own business, we’d advise starting with a thorough audit of every page of your website and current content library, then consider how your gating strategy will work, particularly if operating across multiple jurisdictions.  

GatedContent.com is the world’s number one enterprise web form and content gating platform. Providing global data governance whilst scaling inbound lead capture for marketing automation.  If you’d like to find out more about how we can help you increase conversions from your organic web traffic get in touch here




How much you could improve your web conversion by?

By analyzing your current web conversion rates and optimization practices, we can estimate the projected uplift in leads you can expect from working with GatedContent.com.

Marketo to Sunset Forms 1.0

In May 2021 Marketo are deprecating their Forms 1.0 functionality.  All customers should have migrated their use of Marketo lead forms to the 2.0 methodology by that date.

What is the impact?

The Marketo Forms 1.0 functionality operates like most Marketing Automation forms. When you create a 1.0 form in Marketo you can embed it into a page using an embed script or you can submit directly into it from your own bespoke HTML form. With 2.0 Forms  you can no longer submit directly into Marketo from an external form, you must embed the actual Marketo form using their scripts.

Why are they doing this?

Marketo claim that 1.0 Forms are targets for bot attacks, where remote servers can spam a form endpoint with junk data, leading to non-existent leads or overloaded systems. While there are other methods to support reduction of form spam, Marketo have chosen this restriction as a primary tool in fighting bots.

What action does Marketo suggest customers take?

Marketo suggest moving to one of two methods to deploy lead forms on your website. The first method is to use the default embed functionality from Marketo where you paste the provided JavaScript into your website to generate the form. Any additional styling, dynamic functionality or data manipulation (e.g. capturing query string data) would need to be coded into the page. 

The other method is to use Marketo’s server side submission process, this would entail submitting your website forms to your web server and then perform a server to server API call to update or create your contact data in Marketo.

Both of these methods have drawbacks from a scalability and flexibility perspective. 

What action do GatedContent.com customers need to take?

GatedContent.com customer using Marketo as their receiving Marketing Automation platform do not need to do anything. GatedContent.com forms will continue to submit leads into your Marketo master forms. All the great functionality of GatedContent.com will continue to work.

Maximize web conversion

Maximize web conversion from existing and organic web traffic in 2021 [Part 2]

Part 1 of this piece focused on changing market dynamics. We looked at the steps marketing teams need to take to enable web visitors to convert and how to scale that effectively. Here in part 2, we’ll cover more specific conversion rate optimization strategies you can deploy to make it much easier (and therefore more likely) for customers to convert.   

As a brief reminder of the context of this conversation, COVID-19 has meant a significant change in B2B and B2C consumer behaviour. Most buyer’s time is now being spent at home on the internet.  Countries with a lockdown have experienced a minimum increase of 30% web traffic.  

GatedContent.com spoke at B2B Marketing Virtual Expo on the subject, 2020: The Year Web Conversion Became Business Critical. We led with advice about how to make the most of this year’s surge in web traffic, in the face of dropping direct response conversions and a lack of opportunity for face to face selling.

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is all about improving the user experience, boosting your commercial position is somewhat secondary.  You need to make changes based on improving a prospect’s user journey and reduce friction as much as possible, which will impact their feeling towards your brand and increase the likelihood of conversion. 

Step 1 - The 3 critical ways to approach CRO strategy

Take a robust approach to split testing

Just like with a media campaign, you would test calls to action, creative and copy.  This should be the same approach with form strategy.  In reality however, people create a form once because it matches their data requirements of what a lead looks like, and then they put it on the website and forget about it.  Because it’s so difficult to go through the process of remapping fields and redeploying every time you want to make a change, people don’t do that so forms stay static which is a huge missed opportunity. Split testing form messaging, length of field and specific questions will allow you to determine which factors affect conversion the most for your audience.

Form simplification

  • Gating levels – One area that’s vital to test on forms for web conversion is different gating levels.  Asking the question, what is the data requirement to call a conversion a lead, then working back from there will help.  For example, should you ask for first and surname, or just first to make it simpler?  Is it a lead requirement for sales that you need a phone number or could that come later down the line?

     

    The question is, at this stage of a buyer journey, would it be better to significantly increase the number of conversions by reducing the amount of form fields required, with a view to subsequently converting at a higher rate through nurturing via email, retargeting or progressive profiling?
  • Modal vs. inline – Should the form be modal, where it’s a button on a landing page then a form pops up?  Or should it be inline where you show all the fields on the page?  Should you look at different buttons and anchor tests that lead to forms.  There are a number of options here that could significantly impact your results so thorough split testing is imperative.  

  • Progressive profiling – Progressive profiling helps build a picture overtime.  The more information gathered indicates increasing buyer intent and enables organizations to build a more accurate picture of the prospect through tracking of multiple web sessions, page visits and content consumption.  This means you’re able to better target that individual overtime with increasingly relevant content and offers, giving a far greater chance of a sales conversion.  

  • Multi-step – multi step forms reduce friction on an individual form by showing less fields at a time and indicating the progress through the form to the user.  This approach results in a more informed user journey with fewer fields to fill out per page, reducing overwhelm and where the time it’s going to take is explicitly indicated making it more likely the conversion will be seen through to completion. 

  • Pre-population – Filling out information in advance or narrowing a list of options as you type are both tactics that can really help the prospect move towards a form conversion.  

     

    • Pre-population are automatically fills out pre-defined fields based on information already held on that prospect, helping the user avoid having to retype in information when you’ve already got it.
    • Typeahead narrows down a list of options as the prospect types.  Using this tactic improves the user experience by supplying a list of possible choices based on the text they’ve entered while filling a form or searching something — similar to the Google Search bar.
    • Geolocation helps automatically populate the country field in a form by using the IP address.  This can be manually updated by the user if for example they’re using a VPN and their location isn’t clear.  This really helps when segmenting user data by location, and allows content like data protection guidance to auto-update according to the rules in the country the user is operating in.

Conversational marketing

Platforms that have AI technology, incorporate conversational marketing is an area where we’re seeing significant improvements in conversion rate for web traffic.  Exploring how you can have a conversation to drive an engagement with a prospect on your website, rather than serving a full form straight away will significantly improve the quality and volume of leads. 

Case Study Example – ChowNow 

US based food ordering service ChowNow worked with GatedContent.com to implement a CRO project based on making more of their existing website to drive high quality leads.  The process we took was: 

  • Testing and optimization of the text, style and place of their demo request button 
  • Removed 2 form fields through split testing conversion rates 
  • Integrated GooglePlaces data to improve UX and data selection 
  • Tested inline vs. modal forms

This project resulted in a 50% uplift in conversion rate in demo requests which is a fantastic example of the impact split testing forms can have.  What would a 50% uplift in inbound leads do for your business?  

Step 2 - Are you making the best use of your data?

In this section we will explore data measurement, governance and insight. Looking at how you can use the data you’re capturing to drive insights that allow better decisions down the road on both marketing optimization and from a commercial pipeline perspective is a critical building block when addressing CRO.

Global compliance

Are you ensuring your compliance with required legislation (eg. GDPR or CCPA) and are your web forms always robust in how that data is captured?  Do you have people deploying forms that don’t meet those requirements or don’t map to the right field for marketing opt-in?  Compliance is a huge risk for businesses and the repercussions of getting this wrong can affect your brand reputation, not to mention significant fines.  

If you’re looking to leverage data for ongoing segmentation and nurturing, all of these things rely on data quality at the point of capture.  It is very difficult to go back to update and improve data quality later.  Making sure data is clean at the point of capture, and that global compliance is consistently adhered to is critical to enable marketing to be effective so ongoing nurture can be carried out. 

Attribution

A lot of people look at attribution as ‘where a lead came from’ working on a first or last touch basis.  What that restricts is really understanding what journey that lead has taken and which touchpoints that lead has experienced.  If you’re in a B2B environment with extended buyer journeys you’re going to have a series of touch points before that person becomes a lead or a closed won deal. 

Understanding those touches, piecing them together and ensuring you capture that data in a clean way then means you can inform justification for marketing budgets going forward.  Part of the evolving role of the marketing ops director is finding ways to gather that proof to support future investment decisions.

Conversion performance

We’ve mentioned CRO and split testing, which applies to both a form, and the page it sits on.  Understanding the conversion rate of the form vs. the page is critical to understanding whether it’s the form, the page or both that are causing problems.

The other aspect of tracking conversion performance is enriching the data you’re working with.  For example, you might have data capture on forms that covers job function or seniority.  Rather than using that information standalone, you can pass all of that data into web analytics which allows rich insight to look at how specific buyer personas are engaging with your content and web pages and what downloads are they’re consuming.  Instead of just knowing your highest performing assets, you know the highest performing asset by persona.  You can also tell which channels drive web visits from which persona. That level of insight is invaluable. Making sure the data on your forms is being leveraged and used more broadly is a great opportunity to drive value from forms beyond simple lead capture.

We hope this short series has helped give some clarity and actionable examples of how to maximize web conversions from existing and organic traffic.  If you’d like further guidance take a look at the resource below. 

For further guidance on web conversion optimization check out our Marketing Operations Guide to Web Conversion Optimization. 



How much you could improve your web conversion by?

By analyzing your current web conversion rates and optimization practices, we can estimate the projected uplift in leads you can expect from working with GatedContent.com.

Maximize web conversion

Maximize web conversion from existing and organic web traffic in 2021 [Part 1]

COVID-19 has meant a significant change in B2B and B2C consumer behaviour. Most buyer’s time is now being spent at home, you guessed it, on the internet.  

Countries with a lockdown have experienced a minimum increase of 30% web traffic. Even in a crisis, brands have an opportunity to take advantage of that uplift if they understand what their target audience needs from them at this time. 

GatedContent.com recently spoke at B2B Marketing Virtual on the subject, 2020: The Year Web Conversion Became Business Critical. We led with advice about how to make the most of this year’s surge in web traffic, in the face of dropping direct response conversions and a lack of opportunity for face to face selling. 

72% of marketers are telling us that in spite of decreased budgets, their marketing goals are likely to stay the same or even increase going into 2021, meaning conversion rate optimization has never been more important. This post will give you a starting point for optimization and provide some tactical ideas for you to test along the way.  

Aspire to earn customer trust in this period of disruption

Before you begin this exercise to maximize web conversion from organic traffic, you need to get clear on the big picture. The reality that the stats and anecdotal feedback are all supporting is that the majority of prospects are looking for authentic help and a deep understanding of their challenges. At this time they’re more interested in fostering connections for the future than making purchase decisions right now.

We’ve gathered some resources below that might help you think differently about alternative engagement strategies for your audiences during this period of long and uncertain buyer journeys, positioning you for success later down the line. 

Capitalize on segmentation strategies

Given the new digital landscape and cautious mindset in which buyers are making purchasing decisions, companies that capitalize on segmentation strategies will gain an edge. Such strategies will also enable more precise allocation of marketing efforts towards those areas with the greatest revenue potential.  Check out this guide to segmentation from B2B International.

Collaborative sales and marketing

Now has never been a better time to solidify the relationship between sales and marketing.  We need to work together to create customer experiences that are appropriate to the landscape we’re operating in, repurposing content to make it softer and less sales driven and utilizing the extra time sales teams now have to create insightful webinars or live streams. For further inspiration and ideas for how marketing can now engage with sales, based on the shift in B2B buyer behavior, check out this from Mckinsey.

Live streaming

Live streaming is a powerful, organic and authentic way to connect with your target audience and personalize your message in a way that’s unique compared to other marketing mediums.  For a complete guide to live streaming check out Neil Patel’s blog here.

Step one to improve organic web conversion

Now we’re clear on the big picture, the best place to start with web conversion is to conduct an audit of all current conversion opportunities you have out in the public domain. The list below will help get you started.

Scaling web conversion

Traditionally marketers are focused on campaign execution and activity, but in the current climate creating and running new campaigns isn’t easy as they require high levels of resource investment.  You’ll see from the list above, landing pages; campaigns and technical builds all require time or paid investment.  Contact forms, direct outreach to sales and product demo requests tend to happen later in the buyer journey which isn’t happening at the moment. 

Your best bet for organic conversion is to focus on your gated asset strategy and virtual events/ webinars. Whilst budgets are tight, focus your efforts on how to use existing assets, or easily repurposed formats to drive greater conversions from organic web traffic. 

Step two to improve organic web conversion

Look at how you can do more with what you’ve already got.  Work smarter in a way that focuses specifically on your organic web traffic. 

Leverage content to convert 

Begin by reviewing your highest performing content assets. Gather a list of these and brainstorm how you might repackage these into different formats. For example, if you’ve got a webinar that converted particularly well at the time it was released, could you break it down into a shorter, easily digestible advice series? Similarly, could you identify high performing blogs, and turn that into a five minute video?  Integrate this new content across your web user journey sitewide to further optimize your SEO and increase the likelihood of content being found.  Make sure you review what content is gated and what’s not.  Are you offering too much for free?  Or not enough?  You need to strike a balance between lead capture for long term nurture, and positioning your business as genuinely helpful.  

Convert more organic traffic 

Review high traffic landing pages and optimize the most relevant ones for search intent. The key here is to think about your content in the context of your SEO.  You might have created content in the past that was themed to a specific campaign.  But now you want that content to be searchable and relevant to your website’s keyword strategy.  Then create and add relevant CTAs around the intent for that page. 

 

Scale across divisions/regions 

Repackage these first two steps and consider if you can’t execute new campaigns how can you look after the evergreen engagement. Talk your regional teams through that process, start using tools like Google Analytics or Search Console, create dashboards and train your teams to implement a repeatable process that adheres to their region’s SEO strategy.   

Step three to improve organic web conversion

Look at how you can remove technical barriers. Making more of the traffic you have usually relies on web development or technical input. The necessity for highly skilled resource slows activity down and makes it hard to scale. Enabling your teams to deploy CRO tests and changes quickly will be cost effective and allow you to carry out more activity in the time you have available. 

A good example of this type of enablement is form standards. If you’ve got different regions publishing different forms, can you work out a way that you can publish those forms via a template that doesn’t require technical resource to deploy changes? This enables teams to experiment quickly and test different types of conversions.  

Demonstrating a ‘what good looks like’ approach to organic CRO will really help your wider teams understand what you’re trying to achieve.  Going on to provide them the tools to make this process easy for them to implement themselves, as well as encouraging them to drive innovation through experimentation will all contribute towards your success.  

The second installment of this guide will cover in depth ways to improve conversion optimization once your prospect has found your content and using the data you’ve gathered from these conversions to inform your marketing decision making going forward.   Part 2 will be published soon, keep an eye out.    

For further guidance on web conversion optimization check out our Marketing Operations Guide to Web Conversion Optimization. 

How much you could improve your web conversion by?

By analyzing your current web conversion rates and optimization practices, we can estimate the projected uplift in leads you can expect from working with GatedContent.com.


Web Conversion Calculator

Marketing Automation Forms

Why are Built-in Marketing Automation Forms not fit for Purpose?

There’s more to lead capture forms than meets the eye. Most businesses are keen to improve form conversion rates and increase their pipeline volume, the challenge is knowing how to do that.  Marketers often attribute poor conversion rates to an issue with their product or service offering or the volume of traffic they’re driving to their page.  In fact, there are several factors involving the lead capture form itself that might be influencing the volume and quality of your conversions, but these can be really difficult to identify.

Form standardization and efficient deployment are critical success factors when it comes to conversion rates. More often than not though, built-in forms used in marketing automation platforms don’t have the technical capability to deploy and test quickly and effectively.

This is why it’s important that marketers understand why the forms they’re currently using may not be fit for purpose, and more importantly, why they might be negatively affecting conversion rates

A quick example

Using one of GatedContent.com’s clients as an example, global imaging and information technology solution provider Canon’s challenge was how to deploy content gating. They’d made a significant investment in content creation, but with no gating strategy in place the company was relying on landing pages and forms built with third-party marketing automation platforms.  

Form development was labour intensive and highly complex. Over large-scale, pan-EMEA campaigns, the costs of deploying forms escalated rapidly leaving their content investment largely under utilized.

Canon found that the forms created within their marketing automation platform weren’t built for scale or regional differences. Minor changes were incredibly labour intensive to deploy and keeping track of where forms were displaying and how they were performing was challenging.

What are the specific problems with built-in marketing automation forms?

There are a few danger zones, particularly for enterprise businesses when it comes to using built-in forms. 

No country-by-country personalization 

Global privacy is a serious issue. Privacy laws vary by jurisdiction and it’s critical that you automate data capture to adhere to the rules and language of each specific country. Most built-in marketing automation forms don’t come with that functionality.

Most built-in forms are HTML

The fact most built-in forms are HTML means that if you’ve built a form and replicated that form across 10 pages on your website for various pieces of gated content, and you then decide you’d like to run a test to see if adding one extra field might impact conversion, that change has to be made manually on every page that hosts your form.  Alternatively, if all your forms were linked to one master template, you could make the change in the master and it would automatically deploy across all 10 pages saving huge amounts of time. 

Inconsistent profile data 

Regional marketing teams often use built-in forms differently.  For example when asking for job title.  Some teams might offer a free text box, others a structured drop down.  Fast forward to monthly reporting on trends in regional buyer persona engagement, this becomes a very difficult task.  

If profile data isn’t consistently captured across regions, or even across different regional teams, accurate segmentation can’t be carried out which can severely affect marketing performance. Drawing on the job title example above, when testing a new set of messaging with a group segmented by job title, results are highly likely to be skewed and conclusions difficult to draw because the original segmentation wasn’t based on a consistent set of data. 

Inconsistent reporting data 

Consistent reporting data allows us to look at conversion rates or attribute form completions to inbound activity.  Built-in forms can make it impossible to capture that data, for example, if each region has a different method of attribution tracking for each of those forms, using differing UTM parameters you won’t be able to take a holistic view of the most successful channels because the use of a wide variety of UTM parameters means the data isn’t comparable. 

Because of this example and others like it, built-in forms can make data capture for reporting inconsistent and identifying trends from these data sources impossible.  Without access to high quality trends reporting, you can’t make business decisions with any level of confidence, meaning data capture efforts are ultimately pointless. 

Time consuming and expensive deployment process at scale 

As you can see in the example from Canon, as soon as they tried to deploy content at scale, it became a very expensive process. Built in forms are labour intensive, they require standardization and automation in order to work at scale. For Canon, by standardizing their forms and removing the need for technical deployment, they saved in excess of 350 hours on form deployment, representing a £35,000 saving in agency and supplier costs. 

Built-in marketing automation forms work fine for smaller businesses or for companies with limited marketing requirements. But the bottom line is if you’re looking to scale your marketing activity or, like Canon, you’ve made a significant investment in your content strategy it’s critical you carefully consider each step of your form deployment and work on strategies to scale it effectively. 

How much you could improve your web conversion by?

By analyzing your current web conversion rates and optimization practices, we can estimate the projected uplift in leads you can expect from working with GatedContent.com.