Guide to Writing a ‘How Did You Hear About Us’ Survey

Your Guide to Writing a ‘How Did You Hear About Us?’ Survey

By Joel Widmer | Content Marketing

Feb 07
A person takes a

What’s your favorite customer feedback tool?

Partial to Google forms? How about paper surveys? Maybe you’ve got software in your back pocket that tracks exactly how your customers are feeling about you, every second of every day.

Gauging reception doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming — not for you, and certainly not for your customers. In fact, some of the most valuable feedback can be gauged with a single question: “How did you hear about us?”

“How did you hear about us” options vary, but they all guide your marketing strategy.

What Is a ‘How Did You Hear About Us’ Survey?

If someone calls your business, it’s unlikely they were compelled to do so by a mysterious higher power. How did that customer find you?

A “How Did You Hear About Us?” survey fills in the blank. It’s a simple, single question you ask to collect information about how customers are finding your business.

Asking this question allows you to:

  • Understand how people are finding your business
  • Find out what they think of your business, both good and bad
  • Determine the effectiveness of your different marketing channels
  • Improve customer acquisition

“How Did You Hear About Us?” surveys are especially useful for businesses that aren’t able to automatically track where their customers are coming from. When you get a customer phone call, for example, you want to know how they heard out about you so you can nurse that customer acquisition channel!

Infographic: Guide to Writing a ‘How Did You Hear About Us’ Survey

Why Your Business Should Ask ‘How Did You Hear About Us?’ 

Asking your customers “How did you hear about us?” is a great way to receive straightforward feedback and improve your marketing strategy — the end goal being better customer acquisition.

Customers who are asked this question are more likely to respond with an honest answer. It’s easy, it’s brief, and they don’t feel like they’re being interrogated by salespeople with uncomfortable, open-ended questions — “What do you think of our business?” for example.

It also gives your business a sense of how well your current marketing efforts are working, which will guide future strategies. For example, if you’ve just poured tons of money into a new Google Ad campaign, hearing that an influx of new customers came to you after seeing your Google Ad is a great sign your investment is paying off. On the other hand, if no one ever picks Google Ads from your “How Did You Hear About Us” options, it’s time to rethink your campaign.

Quote: Guide to Writing a ‘How Did You Hear About Us’ Survey

When to Ask ‘How Did You Hear About Us?’ 

Asking for open, honest feedback can be intimidating, but “how did you hear about us?” is a different kind of feedback request. It warrants a direct, non-opinionated answer, and you don’t need to wait for the stars to align to ask it.

So, when do you ask? I’d say the best time is at the end of your first interaction with a customer.

For service businesses, like medical practices, this is something you can do toward the end of your first phone call with a new customer after you’ve collected all the important information you need.

If it’s online, you can ask this question in a simple digital form, either on its own or tacked onto the end of a series of other questions.

If you’re hosting an event, pose the question somewhere in your signup or registration form. That way, your marketing team will know where to engage customers when advertising for future events.

For all channels, be sure to phrase and position the question so it fits naturally with any other questions you’re asking.

Picking the Right Method of Asking

To really dial in your marketing, incorporate this question into every one of your lead acquisition channels. That includes phone calls, online forms, and even in-person events, if applicable.

Don’t worry about asking in too many channels — it’s highly unlikely a single prospect will end up answering more than once.

If you’re asking over the phone, you’ll need to set up a CRM you can use to aggregate the responses, if you aren’t tracking the call source already. This will eliminate the need and/or temptation to jot answers on sticky notes or the backs of envelopes. Paper may be convenient, but even if you’re the most organized person on the planet, paper gets lost.

Choosing ‘How Did You Hear About Us?’ Options

Ready to create your survey? Let’s get into some “How Did You Hear About Us?” options and how to use them.

To start with, choose whether to leave your survey completely open-ended and have customers type in responses, or offer a series of multiple choice options.

If you opt for the latter, the goal is to keep your form as simple and relevant as possible. The best way to do this is by including the top three to five lead sources through which your target audience finds you. Your answers might look something like this:

  • Search Engine (Google, Bing, etc.) 
  • Social Media 
  • Recommended by a Friend 
  • Email 
  • Other: ________

Think it looks like a pop quiz from high school? It should. Keep those options short and mindless. It shouldn’t take customers more than a few seconds to respond.

Including an open-ended “other” option is key. There are always going to be a few outliers who find you in unexpected, roundabout ways. Reserving the opportunity for them to tell their story keeps them from choosing an option that doesn’t fit but sounds close enough, which will skew your data. You might also get interesting new ideas for marketing channels.

Not Just for Customers

Have an open position at your company? You can ask applicants how they found your business, as well. Require prospective employees to select from among “how did you hear about us?” options as a part of their virtual or physical application.

Your answers may look like the following:

  • Company Website
  • Blog
  • Job Listing Site (LinkedIn, Indeed, etc.)
  • Employee/Customer Referral
  • Other: ________

Posing this question is a great way to refine your recruitment process and improve your hiring strategy. Plus, it helps gauge each applicant’s level of interest in the job. The answers can signal to you who’s had your company on their radar for a while and who’s robotically mass-applying on LinkedIn.

Nail Those ‘How Did You Hear About Us’ Options for Great Insights

Getting relevant and actionable insights into customer behavior and preferences is crucial to the success of your marketing campaigns, so it’s important to get your “how did you hear about us?” options right. When you do, the data will come pouring in!


About the Author

Joel Widmer is the Founder & CEO of Fluxe Digital Marketing—a content marketing shop that helps smart businesses create, produce and promote their content through a unique one-on-one interview process. When he’s not working, Joel can be found trying new restaurants with his wife, son, and daughter.

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