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Why “I Found You Online” Just Doesn’t Cut It

Whenever a new customer contacts your business, one of the first questions you should be asking them is, “How did you hear about us?” Often times, their response will be, “I found you online.” Now, you may feel satisfied with that answer and stop questioning the customer right then and there. You know that somehow, some way, this person tracked you down and chose to contact you instead of your competitors. However, from a marketing perspective, you should not be satisfied with this response because “I found you online” doesn’t actually tell you anything at all.

Once you really understand the answer, you can do something with that information. Knowing exactly how people find and come into contact with your company will help you allocate your marketing resources appropriately. For example, why continue to purchase newspaper advertising if you’re not gaining valuable referrals from it? That being said, you should not make rash decisions based on what a handful of customers tell you. Marketing budgets for specific time periods should be adhered to, and changes can be made at the end of a fiscal quarter or year. You also won’t want to base marketing decisions solely off of the answer to this question, which we’ll discuss a little bit more in a minute.

There are a few different ways that you can capture this information. On your Contact page, you can include the question, “How did you hear about us?” Use a dropdown to provide the customer with several, specific options for answers such as: Google, Facebook, television, local radio station, trade show or referred by friend/family. You can also ask them over the phone when they first call your company. If they provide the initial vague response, you can ask a second or third question to try to get more specific feedback.

You may find that some people are resistant to answering several questions, especially if they’ve experiencing an issue that they need help with immediately. Consider utilizing an optional phone survey with monthly prizes, or sending a welcome email with an internet survey included. Adding a little incentive or allowing the customer to answer the question on his or her own time may help curb the issue.

Even though you ask this important question of your customers, unfortunately, you can’t trust these responses completely. People may not actually remember where they first heard about you and choose the best answer that they can think of. In order to get the most out of your marketing, you want to utilize a variety of methods and strategies. That means a customer can see your business in a variety of places, which is great, but not remember specifically where they first heard about or saw you. They may also be in a hurry, and choose the first answer option just to move on with the conversation or process.

TIP: The responses received from customers should be analyzed in conjunction with web analytics that provide important, concrete pieces of data such as traffic source, keyword, location, landing page, and more.