Progressive Profiling Your Subscribers

Although progressive profiling is not a new concept, it is a practice that many marketers seem to have side-lined of late. This is evident with the number of otherwise great websites that bombard would-be subscribers with a 15 field sign up form, all for the privilege of receiving a newsletter. Needless to say, it can (and quite possibly does) hinder ones sign up and conversion rates.

Registering for something or requesting a download should be a quick and painless experience that needn’t require handing over too much private information. So, when a visitor is confronted with a stream of increasingly personal questions with no explanation behind them, they are likely to abandon the process, permanently.

Ultimately you want to find out as much information about your subscribers as you can, but if you want to do it right, you need to do it subtly. Enter progressive profiling. What this clever little feature allows you to do is ask for information incrementally rather than all at once, thereby engaging with your subscribers in a slow and steady manner.

How does progressive profiling work?

It essentially builds a profile on your visitor over time as they engage with your website.

When a visitor first lands on your site and wants to sign up for your newsletter you could start by only asking them for their name, surname and email address. This then becomes the basic profile you have for them.

When the visitor returns to your website again, you then prompt a few more questions. An example could be their industry and job title. On their following visit, you could then ask them the name of their company, city and or country. This builds their profile incrementally without the need to get all the data upfront. What’s key when you are practising progressive profiling is to ensure that you are only asking two or three questions at a time to keep your abandon rate low.


Remember to reconfirm your privacy policy each time a subscriber converts, and reassure them that any data you gather is used to make sure your email campaigns remain relevant to them.

A great benefit of this tactic is that with each new interaction you find out valuable information about your subscriber. At the same time, they don’t feel uncomfortable with an intimidating sign-up form because the process is handled over a number of stages, which they can complete at their own pace. The result is that you are getting the information you need while giving your subscribers the best possible experience on your website and through your campaigns.

Progressive profiling keeps your subscribers coming back for more and helps them to feel comfortable when they give you their personal details during each interaction. Make sure you offer truly unique and relevant content from the start to ensure your subscribers are getting the value they are looking for.

Setting up progressive profiling questions might involve a bit of groundwork, but can allow you to develop strong online relationships with your customer over time.


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