What is Progressive Profiling and How Can You Use It?
When most of us think of progressive profiling, we think of forms and surveys where the questions get more relevant as we answer the previous ones.
The term has been re-purposed a bit for email marketing. Here, we're talking about gathering and progressively responding to behavior and preferences throughout the email relationship. Let's examine some examples:
Behavior: Prospect subscribes to your email program. The prospect then lets you know they make less than $50k per year and live in California.
Response: Send a welcome message thanking them for signing up and provide a call to action, and potentially, an incentive, to make their first purchase. Include products that are geared toward the prospect's income bracket and geographic location.
Behavior: Prospect clicks through on a particular product, let's say a grill, within an email but doesn't buy and abandons your site without clicking to another page.
Response: The prospect is likely interested in that particular grill but has not yet made the decision to purchase. They are likely looking around to see if you are offering the best deal. Send them a follow up message regarding that particular grill, reiterate your value proposition and think about providing an incentive to buy.
Behavior: The prospect clicks through on the follow up email and then clicks on several complementary items, places the grill in a cart then abandons.
Response: Personalize and trigger a cart abandonment email with clear reasons to buy that grill, previous customer reviews about the grill and complementary products that customers typically buy like a grill cleaning brush.
Behavior: The prospect converts on the grill and the cleaning brush.
Response: Send an order and shipping confirmation then follow up with a care guide trigger for the grill. After they've received the product and have had time to interact with it, send a product review request and reiterate how much you value their opinion.
Behavior: The new customer returns to your site and spends 10 minutes looking at patio furniture.
Response: Place the customer in a segment of folks interested in outdoor products and send a stream of messages addressing this interest with content around outdoor grilling, tips for dealing with California weather, furniture treatment on a modest budget and so forth. Perhaps a customer service rep reaches out to the customer directly to offer some consultative services.
Essentially, every behavior should get a response, and the response is in direct relation to the behavior conducted. That may mean modifying the content you send via dynamic content based on behavior or preferences, or it may mean a standalone response. You should be making a conscious effort to collect demographic and behavioral data so that you can act on it, whether it be age, gender, search or purchase behavior, or anything in between.
You can also use progressive profiling as a series of check boxes that you check off as subscribers get closer to the desired goal: the purchase. The more check boxes, the higher the score the subscriber receives, the more valuable they are to your business. Progressive profiling allows you to build a data file, or comprehensive profile, on each subscriber and customer so you can market to them smartly moving forward while removing the heavy lifting from the subscriber.
Regardless of the stage, it's important that you utilize every behavior as an opportunity to start a conversation and push subscribers further down the funnel.
What's your take on progressive profiling? Share thoughts below.
Email Marketing Strategist at Bronto
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About the Author
With a background in Account Management and Client Services at the top agencies in the Southeast, Kelly brings both hospitality and retail experience. In her role at Bronto, Kelly guides clients to strategically optimize their email marketing campaigns and drive ROI. Kelly’s specialty in the online retail space is evidenced in her work with clients listed on Internet Retailer’s Top 500 List. Kelly has been has been featured in Marketing Profs Get to the Point Email Marketing, Retail Email Blog, Email Marketing Reports and Internet Retailer. In her spare time, Kelly can be found training for her next marathon.