Progressive Profiling: Have you started this yet?

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A while back, I read this post on progressive profiling. The author makes a great case for why you should consider it:

  • Higher conversions
  • Better data
  • Better experience (for the end user)

If you don't know what progressive profiling is, it's simply this:

Instead of making every form collect the same amount of limited data (so that people will fill it out), and instead of creating really big forms with tons of questions (which no one will fill out), you create a set of questions (all the data you want), and slowly put some of those questions on different forms – but only after the other questions have been answered (hence the progressive nature and name).

Progressive Profiling – an example

Let's say I wanted to create my contact form and I added these fields:

  • First Name
  • Email
  • Comment

You know I want more than that, right? But I also don't want an intimidating amount of questions on my contact form.

What I want to know is:

  • What's your role in the WordPress community?
  • What topics on my site you're most interested in
  • Your company's name
  • Your website url

But instead of showing all those fields, I only want to add one field to my form each time. And I only want to move from one to the next in a priority, so that I get your role before I ask for your site url.

This way, if you come to my contact form page more than once, I collect progressively more information over time.

Not just for the enterprise

A client asked me about it recently, and because I work with enterprise clients I knew this was a regular feature of the larger automated marketing solutions.

For companies like my client, their goal is to make sure they stay focused on overall deal optimization rather than just form optimization. That's why they use progressive profiling.

But as I was thinking about the feature, I wondered if there was any way I could use something like this on my own site. 

Unfortunately, most form plugins don't / can't yet do this.

But that didn't stop me from doing some additional research. And that's when I found Jumplead and the Jumplead WordPress plugin.

I started a free trial

So I headed to Jumplead's site, signed up, and installed their plugin.

Then I activated the plugin and added my license code.

From there I created a form, with all my questions.

progressive profilingWhat you can see is that I was able to check a box (on the right) that said this field is a “progressive” field. In the details of the form, I was also able to specify that I only wanted 1 progressive field to show up at a time.

So to collect all this extra data, a person would need to hit my contact form several times. But that's ok.

You can envision how it would work for ebook download forms and more.

You can see it in action

The “Generate code” button on the form gives you a short code just like you get with Formidable Pro or Gravity Forms.

I pasted it on my contact page, and guess what? It's there and it's working.  

The moral of this story? Progressive profiling doesn't have to be something that's only for large enterprises. Even small businesses can do it.

About Chris Lema

Chris Lema has been working with WordPress since 2005. Over the years he's been a blogger, a speaker at WordCamps, a coach for WordPress product companies, and the founder of the conference for WordPress business owners, called CaboPress. Today he's the VP of Products at Liquid Web, where he manages the world's first managed platform for WooCommerce stores.

Chris Lema

Chris Lema has been working with WordPress since 2005. Over the years he's been a blogger, a speaker at WordCamps, a coach for WordPress product companies, and the founder of the conference for WordPress business owners, called CaboPress. Today he's the VP of Products at Liquid Web, where he manages the world's first managed platform for WooCommerce stores.

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