What Is Progressive Profiling

What is progressive profiling

Progressive profiling is an advanced way of gathering information from your leads and customers.

This is usually done through a software but can also be accomplished manually.

A good way to understand what progressive profiling is to think of it as going on several dates with someone.

You learn more about the other person as you go on several dates. You can’t expect to learn everything about a person in one date. Based on how each date goes, you’ll know whether to go on the next date or not.

That’s similar to how progressive profiling works in digital marketing. You get to know more about your leads and customers over time.

You might be asking how does progressive profiling work.

How does progressive profiling work?

In dating, you can ask questions or they tell stories about themselves. Through a series of dates, you get to know whether this is a relationship you’d want to pursue or not. You would know if you are compatible or would only end up fighting each other.

In digital marketing, oftentimes, the only way you get to know about your leads and customers is through form submissions — what they fill out on your forms.

Sadly, majority of websites use only a contact us form where it asks for names, email addresses, phone numbers, and a message.

These basic data does not give you enough information about them to help you determine whether your organization is the right fit for them.

And that is exactly what progressive profiling solves.

By getting more information from them, you get to know more about your leads and customers. You get to know what their biggest problems are. You get to know what they like or dislike. You get to know their preferences.

All these information allows you to craft personalized messages that will resonate more with them which will result to better experience for them.

What makes progressive profiling effective/different

Progressive profiling is powerful because you get to ask information from your leads and customers without making it feel like an interview.

For example, there are 20 data points you want to gather. Apart from the basic information (like names, email addresses, and phone numbers), you also want to learn about their biggest pain points and challenges, their communication preferences, topics that are interested in, address, and many more.

This is different for every organization. A B2B might want to know information like the job title, role, and department; whereas a B2C e-commerce pet store might ask for pet names, breed, species of the pets.

If you ask these questions in a single form, you probably won’t have anyone submitting that form.

But with the right software, you can ask the same 20 questions but the person only see 5 questions at a time.

On the backend, you select 5 questions that you set as the default questions everyone sees, then the remaining 15 is queued. For example, here’s a list of data points you’d like to gather:

  1. First name
  2. Last name
  3. Email address
  4. Mobile number
  5. Biggest challenge
  6. Persona statement
  7. Role
  8. Job title
  9. Department
  10. Email frequency preference
  11. Address
  12. City
  13. Topics interested

A new website visitor will see your default 5 questions.

Assuming they liked your content, they decided to download an ebook. They fill out the 5 questions — 1 to 5 above.

After 2 days, they went back to your site and found another ebook they like. They then see the queued up questions instead of the initial ones.

Usually, email address is kept there in case to make sure the data you gather is associated to the right person. Instead of seeing 1-5, they’ll see questions 3, 6-9.

Then on the 3rd date if you will, they’ll see 3, 10-13. And so on until you finish asking your queued up questions.

Word of caution — the dark side of progressive profiling

This is often overlooked by marketers who want to implement progressive profiling. It takes a lot of work to do so properly.

First, you have to setup your forms. Make sure you’re only asking relevant questions. One way to determine if they are relevant is to ask yourself this question, “does this information allow me to sell better to this person?”

If the answer is no or maybe, then that’s a sign that it shouldn’t be there.

Go back to the example I shared earlier. If you’re a B2B, knowing job titles is important. It’s better to know who you’re talking to.

But if you’re an eCommerce store selling pet food, accessories, and cute costumers, then asking for the person’s job title doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t help you get a sale later on.

Next, progressive profiling works under the premise that your leads and customers submit a form multiple times. If you don’t have marketing offers that will entice them to convert multiple times, then you are definitely going to fail.

If all you have are newsletter signups and a contact us form, you won’t get to “profile” your customer.

This is the main reason why progressive profiling is so difficult.

You need to continuously create content that your audience will find valuable. You put them together as a marketing offer (or lead magnet or trip wire), setup your landing pages and thank you pages, create your thank you email and update your lead nurturing sequences.

But the benefits outweigh the costs.

Progressive profiling allows you to gather more information about your leads and customers slowly. You can personalize your content and messaging around the data you gather.

The more relevant data you gather, the better you can make business decisions and sell to them later on.

This is what makes progressive profiling so powerful.

Are you using progressive profiling in your forms? Would you like to learn more about how you can implement it in your organization?

Let me know in the comments below!

Buffer and IFTTT Integration: How to Post to Multiple Accounts (A Workaround on the Single Account Limitation in IFTTT)

IFTTT and Buffer Integration

[Important Update] As of April 17, 2019, Buffer already discontinued the feature I used in this post. That means the contents of this post won’t work anymore. I’ll update this again once I find a workaround.

Are you using IFTTT and Buffer to schedule your social media posts but can’t seem to post to selected accounts?

The basic recipe for IFTTT goes like this: If (insert activity here), then add to Buffer. For example, mine looks like this: if I favorited an article in Pocket, add to Buffer.

pocket buffer recipe

Problem 1: IFTTT Only Allows You to Post to a Single Account

As simple as it sounds, this setup is actually not that straightforward. If you tried this yourself, you’d realize that IFTTT only allows you to post to a single account in your Buffer profile.

You can customize this in the settings. On a browser, login to IFTTT. Click on your profile > Services > Click on Buffer > Settings (top-right) > Edit Connection. Mine is set to my Twitter profile.

update buffer settings in ifttt

But, that’s now what you want, right? You want to be able to post to multiple accounts at once, or all of them.

The Solution: Email to Buffer

So, after spending time researching, you probably found your answer: Email to Buffer. While not originally designed for IFTTT, you can actually use this method to post to one or all your accounts.

All you need to do is connect your Gmail account with IFTTT and create a recipe with the that portion using Gmail.

ifttt pocket to blank

Problem 2: Email to Buffer Posts to All Your Accounts

The email to Buffer works just fine when you want to post to all your accounts by default.

It’s simple to setup. You only need to remember these two things:

  1. Subject line —> contains the text/caption you want to post
  2. Body —> contains the link and image you want to be included

If you think about it, this gives us another problem. What if you don’t want to post to all your accounts, but only to selected ones?

For example, you have a Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram connected to a free Buffer account. When you use the email to Buffer method, you’ll get an error if the post you tried to send doesn’t have a photo.

In my case, after I favorite an article in Pocket, the IFTTT recipe will run and send an email to Buffer.

But since I’m sharing an article, there’s no image.

This will give an error and won’t schedule anything to Buffer.

Solution: Advanced Commands

In your email settings in IFTTT, you can actually choose certain profiles or accounts to send to. Here’s an example where I only chose to post on my Twitter and Facebook accounts:

email to buffer advanced controls

This solves our problem already, right?

We get to choose which profile to send by using the @s command and adding the social media accounts.

Not quite.

Problem 3: Multiple Accounts in One Social Media

If you’re like me (I’m have Pro account, btw), I have multiple accounts under the same social network. For example, I have 2 Facebook Pages, 1 Twitter account, 2 Instagram profiles, my personal Google+ and LinkedIn accounts. (Feel free to follow me and say hi! 👋)

If you use the settings above, Buffer will post to the two Facebook pages I have in my Buffer account. And that’s something I don’t want to happen.

Both pages are for different clients.

So, this method won’t work.

Potential Solution: Use @p to Identify Specific Profiles Instead

There’s the profile method: @p profile_name. This might work, but it depends on your setup again. For example, here’s how it might look:

email to buffer advanced controls 2

If you noticed, I have two “Ariel Lim” in the field. This represents my LinkedIn and Google+ accounts. As you can see, this already poses an issue.

I actually don’t know which of those two accounts my post show up. If I only use one Ariel Lim, will it post to my LinkedIn or Google+?

Here’s another scenario where this becomes an issue. My Twitter and Instagram profiles have the same name — @aylim14_.

So if I want to post a link, and since Instagram doesn’t support posts without images, this will give you an error.

Potential Solution: Combine @p and @s Depending on What You Need

In theory, yes.

But with all my experimentations, I can’t get this to work.

For example, I only want to post to my Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and one Facebook Page. I’d have to use something like this:

@s Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+
@p Facebook_PageName

But this seem to always give me an error.

Again, depending on the specific names in your account, this might work for you. You have to test it yourself.


The Real Solution: Use Unique Profile IDs for Your Social Media Accounts

After a lot of experimentation and help from the Buffer support team, this method allows you to post to selected profiles without worrying about errors or which one of them will it be posted on.

Here’s how this might look.

email to buffer advanced controls profile id

My Setup

If you noticed, the color turned to green because this is for a different recipe and app — Feedly.

The recipe goes like this: if I add an article to a board in Feedly, email to buffer.

I have several recipes for this because apart from my own reading, I use this to stay updated on my client’s industries. And if I also handle their social media accounts, this is how I curate some posts.

I read in Feedly. Then, when I read something I like and want to share, if it’s for Client A, I save it to a personal board (Board A). If it’s for Client B, it goes to Board B.

Each of this workflow has its own IFTTT recipe. The email to Buffer, therefore, has to be customized so that when it’s for Client A, I only post on Client A’s social media accounts, and not Client B’s.

Here’s how you do it.

Step 1: Locate your unique profile IDs

You can find your unique profile ID inside Buffer by logging in then clicking on each social account, check the URL and get the alphanumeric text there.

buffer locate unique profile id

Go through each of your accounts using this process and save it to a place where you can easily reference it. This is what you’ll use in step 2 below.

Step 2: Use it with the @p method

Once you have each of those unique IDs, it’s time to create your recipes.

Again, this depends on your specific workflow. In my case, I have 2 separate recipes for my 2 clients. That way, when I add an article to Board A, it gets scheduled to Client A’s social media accounts and my personal Twitter account.

I also have another IFTTT recipe for Client B, where I share to their Facebook Page only.

As you can see, this method solves all your worries when it comes so posting to Buffer from an IFTTT recipe. You can customize this further depending on how you see fit.

For example, I created another recipe where after I publish a post on this website, it gets added to only my Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. It doesn’t get posted on my client’s accounts.

Your imagination is your limitation.

Did this solve your Buffer-IFTTT problem? Let me know in the comments below!

Future-Proofing Your Business

img 3624

One of the things that frustrate me the most is inefficiency. We’re in Q4 of 2018 right now, but a lot of business owners seem to still live in the 90s.

I’m speaking for both here and abroad. So it’s not that the Philippines is behind on technology adaptation. The problem is that of the people running the business.

I am reading this book about the history of businesses and I got reminded of this quote again:

There are no business problems, only people problems.

Failure to adapt is a sure-fire way to kill your business.

Just think about it, if everyone else is moving forward and you stay still, you’d get left behind.

Below are a few myths and tips you need to know in order to survive in today’s business environment.

Don’t fix what’s not broken

Earlier this week, I wrote about planning for the future, one of the things that business owners need to overcome is taking no action when everything seems to be working just fine.

Don’t fix what’s not broken.


While that may be true now, that won’t be true in the next couple of years. The world doesn’t stand still. And it won’t wait for you to catch up.

I have one client who refuses to invest in a modern infrastructure. One that is a necessity in today’s business environment. One that is already a given.

After all, they have been doing what they are doing for more than decade.

Don’t fix what’s not broken, right?

Then, something happened.

This year, the months that had the highest sales for the past few years plummeted down to ~50%.

A sudden technological change from Google and Facebook brought about the immediate cause of the decline in sales.

But if you look further back, it’s the failure to modernize whatever was necessary when things were going ok.

Now, we’re scrambling to update and upgrade everything so we can stay relevant. So we can get back to where we were before.

As a consultant, it frustrates me because I know I could have done something to avoid this scenario. But I wasn’t able to convince the owner to work on it soon enough.

Always be changing

The only way to ensure your business stays in business is to always adapt to change. Don’t change for change’s sake; rather, continue adapting to the needs of your customers.

You’ve heard stories of brands that failed to adapt. Nokia. Blackberry. Kodak. And that’s just to name a few.

One of the things that makes the big brands we’re familiar with so successful is the careful application planned obsolescence.

From the consumer perspective, planned obsolescence has a negative connotation.

It goes like this:

This company is producing products that break down quickly or needs to be replaced frequently. It has low quality.

But, looking at it from another perspective, planned obsolescence may be the only way to keep your business alive.

Let me explain.

If your strategy is to build inferior / so-so products to make a quick buck, you won’t last long. As economists will tell you, the market is efficient. It will adjust and self-correct.

So if you’re trying to increase your demand by making products that will break down faster than its normal lifecycle, the market will stop supporting you.

What I’m referring to in planned obsolescence, and one that is often taken out of context by a lot of people, is to continuously make your existing products look inferior to your new products.

Develop new products so good that customers would want to buy the new ones instead of keeping the old one.

It’s not that you created poor quality products before; rather, you strived so hard to produce something better that the old one.

In other words, it’s all about innovation.

Innovate or die

This phrase often comes up when a huge brand loses its luster. Most often, this is in the tech industry.

But what about the industries like those falling under services? Construction? Delivery? Infrastructure? Agriculture?

All these industries aren’t getting that much attention primarily because there’s not much innovation happening in them.

And that makes them very appealing to entrepreneurs.

Are you familiar with Revolution Precrafted, the first Philippine-based unicorn startup? They are in the housing industry. But they succeeded in innovating in an industry where not much has changed for a long time. They found a niche in the market where they can earn profitably at 30% margins when industry averages is at 6%.

Read this interview last June with the founder, Robbie Antonio to learn more about what’s happening with the company.

There’s a lot of opportunities in every market and in every industry. You just have to know where and how to look for it.

These kinds of posts – strategy, economics, management – will be the focus of my future articles.

Let me know what you think in the comments below! 👇

Planning for the Future

img 3612

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about the future. Both from a personal and professional perspective.

I can’t remember any single trigger or reason for this, but it’s taking up most of my time.

Before this, I’ve always been focused on the day-to-day activities.

How do I get these tasks done today?

(Or sometimes by the end of the week or month)

Rarely do I think about what will happen in 3-5 years’ time.

But now, that is all I can think about.

Maybe it’s because of my age? Maybe it’s about the fact that I’ll be migrating soon to the US to be with my wife. The fact remains is that now, I’m looking at the bigger picture and acting on it.

The mid- to long-term plans are no longer reviewed once-a-year. I’m acting on it.

Planning for survival

One of the things that I’ve been working on last few weeks is to build a go-bag or an emergency bag.

I’ve found this checklist that I’ve used as a guide to building the essentials here. I didn’t go mad and purchase everything there all at one. I did it incrementally. I also used the recommendations here on what food to stock during an emergency.

Now, the only thing I’m missing is the hand-cranked flashlight with a radio. I’m expecting this to arrive this week. I couldn’t seem to find a hand-cranked flashlight in the malls I’ve been to, so I opted to buy online.

I’ve also been sharing that with some friends and family. Lately, with all the disasters happening here and abroad, you can’t help but wonder when will this happen to me.

A few weeks ago, there was a forest fire near my wife’s place in the US. A few weeks ago, we had that category 5 typhoon. Then there’s the “big one” waiting to hit Metro Manila.

One of the rules of survival is you actually prepare for that event before it even happens.

I really don’t know what urged me to do this but it’s something I recommend you do as well. Go to this website, download the checklist as a guide and compete your own go-bag.

My dogs - Macchiato, Glitter, Truffle
[L-R] Macchiato, Glitter, Truffle
While I may have (almost) completed mine, I still have a lot to do. I have 3 dogs who I treat like my babies.

The next step is to build my pets’ go-bag.

Planning my career

It’s been two and a half months since I’ve been last employed. Since then, I have gone full-time into consulting.

I’ve taken on clients both here and abroad. And as any entrepreneur already know, it’s not easy.

There are good months. There are lean months. There are times when there’s too much work. And there are times when there’s none.

For some, I did an amazing work that they’re still with me. And for a few of them, I didn’t deliver as well as I could have.

But that’s part of the journey.

My journey.

Glitter overlooking Taal lake

There are so many things unknown. And that’s OK. It’s the reality of life. If we knew everything, then life would be so easy.

One thing I do know is that my journey doesn’t end here.

I’m in the middle of launching something awesome.

Something that resulted from me acting on what I see in 3-5 years. Something that takes away from the day-to-day.

I’m excited about this. And I hope you are too!