Have you ever found yourself stuck on a form only to find that you need to fill out information that you’re not comfortable sharing, or will consume too much of your time? Has a gated form ever felt like a nuisance to you when all you ever wanted was access to a simple download?

If you’ve answered ‘Yes’ to any of these, imagine how your customers must feel!

“Gated forms” are one of the most powerful techniques in gathering customer information. They enable the process of capturing customer data which puts prospects right where they should be – in your sales funnel. But the problem with gated forms is that they require action from users; and many users are not willing to budge.

The question becomes: how much information should be requested from the prospect to get the marketing material?

How effective you are at capturing customer information is directly proportional to how and how much information you request. Less is always more, and asking for information incrementally could work to achieve more. This is where “progressive profiling” comes in.

Be Progressive!

Progressive profiling allows your forms to only ask for information that’s not already known. Imagine a customer visited your website and filled out a form leaving behind such information as their name, email address, company name and telephone number. Once they’ve filled out these fields, they gain access to their asset. Once they’ve gained access to the asset, they get an email sent to their inbox. When they click on that email, they see a link to a webinar; and once they’re on the form to get access to a webinar, they are asked a set of questions once more. Except this time you ask for things like title, company size, where they are in the buying cycle, etc. This is the beauty of progressive profiles.

Your web forms become a tool to intelligently, progressively, learn more about your prospects over time. Progressive profiling achieves proper form etiquette. No need to ask everything at once – give a customer a chance to interact with you, and they will eventually provide you with all the information you need.

Long versus Short Gated Forms

Many companies use two forms – a “short” gated form, and a “long” gated form. A short gated form works with repeat visitors to give them access using only their email address. This may be for an item such as a newsletter subscription or new blog post alerts.These forms usually work in combination with long gated forms. Once a visitor on a website fills out the short gated form, your marketing automation platform captures that information, checks to see if they were already in the database, what activities they have performed in the past, etc. If it’s their first visit, their next visit to a standard or “long” gated form will already have their email address, so it will default to the next series of questions in the progressive form.

It’s all about Etiquette

This is the essence of proper form etiquette. The idea is never to make prospects uncomfortable with what information you are requesting. Gathering data has to be done courteously and respectfully, and should match to what they are gaining access to (the more important the asset, the more you can ask for). Customers never want to be pressured into doing business. They want to learn about a product or brand on their own terms. By helping customers throughout their buying journey, they won’t feel as though they are pressured into buying. This is one of the most important ways top performers achieve success – they know when to ask the right questions.

How effectively are you at properly sharing your assets with your customers?

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