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4 ways to ask your customers, "How did you hear about us?"

Last updated

26 July 2023

Author

Dovetail Editorial Team

Reviewed by

Tanya Williams

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According to Deloitte's Annual CMO Survey, marketing efforts will total about 13.6% of a company’s overall budget this year, 3.9% more than the previous two years. If you’re planning on diverting more funds and time to marketing and advertising efforts, you need to be selective about which platforms will benefit from that portion of your budget.

It's important to zero in on the most effective platforms to earn a greater return on investment (ROI). Once you discover which of your marketing and advertising plans are the most effective, you can reroute your funds and efforts.

One of the ways you can achieve this is to ask your customers, job applicants, or event attendees, "How did you hear about us?"

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Why do you need a "How did you hear about us" survey?

If people found out about your company via your website, it isn’t too difficult to discover this. There are a few different methods for tracking web traffic. You can calculate, track, and analyze collected data through analytics applications or testing.

However, what about the people who have come to you via a non-digital marketing effort, such as local flyers, in-person events, or word of mouth?

One of the most effective methods for finding out how customers found you is to ask them the direct question: "How did you hear about us?" By asking this simple question, you can avoid wasting money and time on marketing platforms that aren't providing a decent level of traffic and conversions.

What’s more, it allows you to personally engage with your customers, showing them you care about their experience with your business.

What to include in a “How did you hear about us” survey

A survey specifically looking for information about the source of your traffic should contain a single question. All you want to know is where your customers heard about your business.

To make it easy for the customer to answer, list all the places they may have first heard about you, including online, local community, or referral sources. Also, include an “Other” option for them to type their own answer.

“How did you hear about us” survey methods

There are several methods for asking customers how they heard about your business, and different points during the customer journey at which you can ask the question.

You can post these surveys at any time while people are engaging with your website or your business, including:

  • Before a purchase

  • After a purchase

  • During the checkout process

  • While applying for a job

  • During the hiring process

  • On a lead-capture form

  • While signing up or registering for an event

Here are four ways to ask your customers, "How did you hear about us?" to find out which advertising and marketing platforms are most productive in sending traffic your way.

Basic “how did you hear about us” survey

This type of survey is used to find the most common ways customers hear about your business or a particular product or service.

For example, by conducting this survey, you may find customers discovered you primarily through coupons or deals you might offer. This kind of survey is usually posted during the purchasing process.

Lead capture “how did you hear about us” survey

You would use this method while asking a potential customer for their name and email address (usually to add them to your mailing list). At the end of the short form, add the question, “How did you hear about us?”

“How did you hear about this event?” survey

Events are a great way to introduce your company and the products and services you offer to a targeted segment you're hoping to attract. Asking attendees where they heard about your event will give you a clear direction for advertising future events.

“How did you hear about this job?” survey

This survey is great for learning the best sources for job applicants. In this survey, you can list all the digital job boards and any locally posted or broadcasted advertisements that you may have used to attract applicants.

You can then use this information to pare down the places where you advertise jobs, to save time and money in the future.

Why should employers ask, "How did you hear about this job?"

Marketing and advertising campaigns can be used not only to sell products or services. They can also attract quality talent to your business. Discovering which campaigns are attracting the best talent will save you resources in the future, as you will know which efforts are paying off and which ones aren’t bringing in applicants.

“How did you hear about us?” question options and alternatives

Variations of this question may yield more information than just how they heard about your business. You may learn about customers’ experience with your product or service when they answer alternative questions.

Try asking some of the following:

"Who referred you to us?"

This answer will not only tell you the referral's source, but it will indicate that the source of the referral is a satisfied customer when purchasing certain products or using particular services. Make a note of this valuable information in your customer relationship management system.

"Was it easy to find us?"

Some people might go to the ends of the earth for a great product or service, but others won't. If people can't find you, they may go to someone else's business that's more accessible, even if their product is inferior to yours.

Asking this question will confirm if people in your target population can easily access your product or service.

"How would you rate our signup process?"

Again, you’re looking to validate accessibility. If your signup process is difficult or time-consuming, people may quit before they’ve signed up, losing you potential customers.

“Were you looking for a company/product/service like ours when you found us?”

If the customer says yes to this question, this indicates they are interested in or are already using what your company provides. They are likely to become a repeat customer if they’re satisfied with what you offer.

“How likely are you to recommend us to others?”

The answer to this question will tell you whether the customer is satisfied with their experience with your business and your products or services.

If they’re more likely to recommend you to others, their satisfaction level is high. If they’re not likely to recommend you, it might be helpful to ask follow-up questions, such as what can be improved.

Sample response choices to “How did you hear about us?”

Once you decide where and when to ask the question, you'll want to determine the “how did you hear about us” answer options for your survey. Include a multiple-choice list of all the marketing and advertising campaigns you actively use, whether paid or free.

Let’s look at the types of channels through which people may have heard about you.

Advertisements

This option can include any digital, publication, or broadcasting adverts you use to promote your offerings. The answer will help you decide whether to continue funding all these methods or direct funding and efforts into fewer marketing channels.

The internet

By listing all the online marketing channels you use, you can determine which are most effective. Remember to include search engines, individual social media platforms, and customer review sites.

Word of mouth or reviews

92% of consumers trust referrals from people they know. These customers bring a pre-existing level of trust when they first interact with your business.

Even customer testimonials, reviews, or a community forum can instill more confidence in a consumer than just advertising. So, it's essential to know if this is the source of your traffic to gauge overall customer satisfaction.

Events

Another way of promoting your business offerings is through digital or in-person events.

Digital events include webinars or live social media events. Local social outings or vendor events are in-person marketing efforts through which potential customers can get acquainted with your company and products or services.

Other

Sometimes, people can't remember how they heard of your business, or maybe you didn't provide the answer they would have chosen in the multiple-choice options.

It’s a good idea to include an "other" choice in the list of possible answers. Include a space for them to write their response so you can see if there are common options you weren’t aware of. You can add these as response choices in future surveys.

How to use the data from a “How did you hear about us?” survey

Once your survey starts generating answers, you can build a roadmap for conducting your advertising and marketing campaigns. Alter your budget to increase your efforts for the most commonly indicated advertising and marketing methods on the surveys. If the "other" category is selected most often, you'll have to redesign the survey to reflect those other options.

Listening to what your customers say will help you operate a cost-effective and efficient business. You no longer need to waste time and money on efforts that don't improve customer service and your ROI.

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