Personalized experiences start with data. That’s why any great personalization strategy always starts with a look into your own data, and how up-to-date it really is.

In fact, 23% of email addresses decay from your email marketing database each year. As a staple of personalization, if you’re not consistently updating your database contact information or have email addresses that are out-of-date you are not going to make the most of personalized marketing.

That’s why today, we will walkthrough a strategy for using Progressive Profiling to address and update your database and create killer personalization campaigns.

What is Progressive Profiling?

Progressive Profiling is an easy way to automatically queue new questions in forms so visitors see new questions in forms, allowing you to keep forms short. This solves a major problem for marketers, where we want to capture as much information as possible and keep forms short. That’s exactly what Progressive Profiling helps solve for you.

Instead of having one long form that attempts to capture all of a users information, you can queue new questions for returning users so they see a different version of the form. All of this information automagically syncs to the same contact record, creating a full-profile of your users.

Note: Progressive Profiling is available to HubSpot Professional and Enterprise customers.

Asking the Right Questions in Forms

Your strategy on asking questions should be similar to how you put together a puzzle. Consider the complete picture of what you need (your end goal) and fill-in pieces that are similar until you have every detail covered.

To highlight an example of how to fill-in the puzzle, let's use a fictional IT management software company that is looking to run a webinar to generate leads for Q1 sales. In the steps below, I'll walk through how to set this up in HubSpot forms.

Step 1: Within the forms screen, create a new form (or edit an existing form you are using)

Create-new-form
Step 2: Determine your default questions. First name, last name, and email are default but can be changed or removed if desired. I have added company as a required question for our example. As we talked about above progressive profiling replaces questions that have been completed by the user and queues new questions. In order to queue questions and replace them, please ensure you click the "make smart field" icon.

Default-Form-Questions-Smart

Step 3: After adding default questions, begin to add your queued questions. Each of the queued questions will display in the order you have them setup from top-to-bottom, and based on the number of spaces available in the form. To re-order questions simply drag-and-drop the questions in the preferred list. For example, in our default form above 3 of the fields are marked as smart fields and will be replaced with new questions upon the users visit to a new form. You should try to ensure there are enough questions to fill-in for existing questions that have been answered.

Queued-Questions-Progressive-Profiling

Step 4: Make sure all of your default and queued questions are in the order you would like them to display to the user. Generally it's best practice to have your most important questions answered first, and then progress to the questions of lesser importance.

How to Use Your New Data in Personalization

Now the fun begins! Based on all of the data you have collected from leads using Progressive Profiling you can start to segment your leads and invite them to the webinar with personalized messaging. Getting registrants to our fictional webinar is actually a two-step process, first, we'll put together an email to invite these leads to our webinar and then show an example of how you can personalize the webinar registration page with the information you collected. To get started, simply follow the steps below in HubSpot's Email App.

Email Invitiation

Step 1: Create your webinar email and determine how you want to incorporate your personalization information into the invitation. In my example, I used the form question "what is your biggest IT challenge" as a part of the invitation. To do this, use the personalization option highlighted with the arrow below. Then, select the personalization options from the list displayed. If you have a number of custom fields, you can also type to search for the personalization option. (Important: Make sure you have default values set for each of the personalization tokens you've included so the email will still make sense to recipients for whom you don't have that data. You can set up default values for personalization tokens in your content settings.)

Email-Personalization

Step 2: Create the remainder of your email invitation and be sure to include a call-to-action that will direct interested users to a personalized landing page.

Example-Personalization_Email_CTA

For more tips on creating and hosting a successful webinar, checkout these 10 tips.

Landing Page Registration

For the landing page, we'll create a Smart Content version of the page that makes it easy for mobile-visitors to register and also a version for all other visitors. To start creating the registration page, we'll use HubSpot's Landing Page App:

Default Webinar Registration Page: To create your landing page, go into the Landing Pages App and create a new landing page. After the creation of your page, define what the invitation should contain and how you would like to personalize this page. Just like in our email example above, we'll use the personalization option to insert custom information that we received using Progressive Profiling. At this stage, you should also consider the keywords for the landing page and ensure they are included within the webinar registration text, page title, page URL, and meta description.

Example-Webinar-Registration-Page

As you can see from this example, I incorporated some of the same elements, but also added personalization based on the users current solution and job title to tailor the invitation more to the individual and incentivize them to register.

Mobile Webinar Registration Page: The default page above is great for getting visitors on a desktop to register, but it has a lot to read for a visitor from a mobile device. As a result, we want to encourage visitors who receive the email, and click the call-to-action from their phone to also register for the webinar. In this case, we'll add Smart Content to the page and create a separate version of this page that only mobile users will see. 

Step 1:  Click the "Make Smart" option as shown below:

Smart-Content-Example-Webinar-Registration-Page

Step 2: Choose the relevant Smart Content option for your campaign:

Smart-Content-Personalization-Options

Step 3: Choose the type of device you want to create a Smart Rule for, and choose Create Smart rule on the next page.

Step 4: Enter the webinar registration page content that you would like to display to mobile visitors and create your page. Ensure that this page has the keywords for the webinar and is optimized based on your topic. 

Mobile-Webinar-Registration-Page

This is just one example of how you can use Progressive Profiling to fuel your personalization, and even make it more powerful with Smart Content. Even if you use Progressive Profiling or personalization in a different way than this example, both technologies are great ways to achieve your marketing objectives while providing a delightful experiences to leads and customers alike.

Do you have any ways you have effectively used Progressive Profiling and personalization? Let us know in the comments!

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Originally published Dec 9, 2014 12:00:00 PM, updated February 28 2018