How many fields does your email sign-up form have? One? Two? Twelve? We all want to know as much as possible about our subscribers. That makes it tempting to ask for a slew of information up front. Unfortunately, the more fields you add to a sign-up form, the fewer opt-ins you’ll get.There’s a bunch of case studies documenting this. Neil Patel removed just one field from one of his opt-in forms and saw the conversion rate jump 26%.
With a change like that, it definitely seems like it’s a good idea to limit the number of fields on your opt-in form. You might even want to include just one field – the email address. Some marketers recommend leaving the name field off.
But you don’t have to give up on that extra information forever. You can get most of the information from those fields that you just removed – but later on, after your subscriber knows you better.
This technique of asking for information later on is called “progressive profiling”. It lets you have your slim little opt-in forms, and still get all the information you want. Problem is, progressive profiling usually requires a developer help you set it up. It’s the sort of fancy feature reserved for marketers with big budgets.
But not always. And not if you’re using GetResponse. With a little ingenuity, you can do progressive profiling with a standard GetResponse account. I’m here to show you how.
Let’s assume you’ve got an opt-in form that looks like this:
Nothing fancy here. It’s basically the default opt-in form from a GetResponse account, pasted into a WordPress page. All I’m asking for is the visitor’s name and email address.
This opt-in form is attached to a campaign I’ve created in my GetResponse account. The campaign’s name is “intro_list”. I’ve got eight “people” (actually fake people with email accounts I’ve created and control) signed up for this list. Here’s what I know about each of them:
Here’s how those same subscribers look in my GetResponse account:
Here’s the information I’d like to get from them:
- Type of business
- Location-based (but with an active online marketing program)
- Location independent
- Technical ability with online marketing
- Complete newbie
- Basic (I can set up a simple WordPress site and manage my GetResponse account)
- Advanced (I can install and configure fairly complex WordPress plugins and can do advanced stuff – like hacking progressive profiling – in my GetResponse account)
Notice how short the list of information I want is. This isn’t fifteen fields’ worth of questions. It’s two questions. If I ask too much I’ll end up with an unmanageable amount of information.
Also notice the type of questions I’ve asked. This is information that is core to my business and my marketing strategy. I will use this information to inform every piece of content I create.
I could have just asked for peoples’ gender. That’s a common bit of information to collect. But I’m not an online retailer selling clothing, so gender doesn’t really mean that much to my business.
Choosing the right information to collect is really important. It’s also a spot where a lot of marketers muck things up. So be careful. If you could only ask 2-3 questions of your audience, what would those questions be?
Now that I’m 100% confident I’m asking for the right information, here’s a map of how that information breaks out:
Now we can start to build this out.
How to automate progressive profiling with goals and/or segmentation
There are actually two ways to set up simple progressive profiling in GetResponse:
1) Create goals.
This is the harder way. Setting up goals involves adding tracking code to your site, which might be difficult if you’re not used to working with code. Goals also have a few other settings and requirements that might be considered advanced or technical.
2) Create segments.
This is the easier way to do progressive profiling in GetResponse. To do it, you’ll have to
- Create and send an email
- Create a segment based on who clicks specific links in that email
- Choose that segment when you want to send an email tailored to that audience
What I like most about this method is it doesn’t require you to create a bunch of new campaigns. You can do all your information gathering, sorting and sending inside one main campaign. This makes creating and sending email updates easier. You can also edit segments after creating them, which makes them much more flexible than creating separate campaigns.
Because of all that, I’m going to use the segmenting approach to show you how to do some simple progressive profiling. Here goes:
1) Create an email message that has a bunch of links in it. My “subscribers” (again fake people who I’m pretending to be) can pick which segment they’ll end up in based on which links they click.
I’ve got two options for how I present these links.
A) I could send one email message dedicated to letting people tell me more about them. The welcome email would be a great choice. As you know, welcome emails get unusually high click-through rates. And asking people what they want to know in the welcome email is a nice way to show them (not just tell them) that I want to give them the best experience possible. Here’s what that welcome email might look like:
B) I could also include those links in the footer area of my email messages.
The image on the right is an example of how that might look. Basically, I’d just be embedding a really dumbed-down survey in the footer area.
Either way works, but with the footer example, you’ll be showing these options to people more often. That might result in more answers.
Segments are also cool because you can select multiple emails to add to the segment. So if I wanted to track clicks to these links from three different email messages, I could. More on that in just a moment.
Note that the landing pages for these links don’t affect whether or not our segmenting and progressive profiling works. However, it would definitely be nice for your users if you created custom landing pages for each of those choices.
2) Once those emails are created, I’d send them out to my list. For the example of the links in the footer, I’d be sending several emails out over the course of a week or more.
3) Once my subscribers have had a chance to click on the links, the fun really starts. I’ll head over to the Contacts > Search Contacts section of my account:
4) I’ll choose “Advanced Search”.
5) GetResponse will show the three additional fields you see below. The only one I’ll change is the campaign. I’ve set that so the system will choose only people in my new “intro_list” campaign. Here are how the settings look so far:
6) I’ll also click the blue link that says “Add condition” in the lower left corner. Once I do that, I’ll see another set of options:
7) I’ll choose “link clicked” from the pull-down menu:
And then “Newsletter” from the second pull-down menu. That’s the type of message I sent.
Next I’ll pick the specific email message I want to count the clicks from:
Then I’ll choose the specific link I want to create a segment for. Let’s start with “location based”.
There are four people are in that group (again, these are fake subscribers… it’s really just me clicking links to show you how this works).
I’ll click the blue “show contacts” button…
And see this:
I’ll choose “Save Search”
Give it a name I’ll remember:
And basically, I’m done.
I won’t get to see the magic until I go to create my next email message, and then choose who I want to send it to. Then, I’ll be able to see my new segment, and send an email specifically targeted to people who are location based.
It will look like this:
Notice how the campaign “intro_list” is not selected. If I had selected that, I’d be sending this special message to everyone in the campaign. Instead, I’m only mailing to the subscribers in the “Location Based” segment – a total of four subscribers right now.
If I wanted to send mail to all of the different preference choices I outlined before (location based, location independent, and the three different technical ability levels), I’d have to go back and repeat this process for each choice.
It is a bit of work, but after it’s done, I’ll be able to send highly customized emails to those subscribers. That means more relevant information for them, and higher engagement rates for me. Higher revenue, too.
More examples of how to segment your lists based on behavior or on people’s preferences
I’ve got to give a major hat tip to Deagan Smith for his great videos on segmenting email lists. The videos he made are about 2 years old now, and the GetResponse interface has changed a bit, but if you’re murky on segments and want a visual guide to using them, check them out. They’re professional, no-hype and include real-world tasks.
He’s got three videos about segmenting, and one about how to use goals:
- GetResponse – The Why & How Of List Segmentation, start with this video.
- GetResponse – How To Segment Your List Based On Specific Interests
- GetResponse – How To Create A Segment Of Your Hyper Responsive Subscriber
- GetResponse – How To Segment Your List Based On Funnel Goals, this video will be really helpful if you decide to do progressive profiling using goals, instead of using segments.
Don’t make the opt-in box the only place where you collect information about your subscribers. It should be only the first step – almost like an introduction.
Through careful use of segmenting or goals, you can continue to learn more and more about your subscribers, thereby doing the progressive profiling that usually only the most advanced marketers can do.
Just be careful what information you ask for. These systems are only helpful if they’re at least somewhat easy to use and understand. If you ask too much, you’ll have so much data that it will become unwieldy.
With careful, strategy-based questions, you can tailor your emails to your subscribers needs and desires. That has all kinds of great results, from earning more money to knowing that you’re among the very best email marketers – the kind of person delivering emails people actually want to get.
What do you think?
Would you ever set up something like this for your subscribers? If you would, which questions might you ask?