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How we connect personally with new users by asking one simple question

The one question that helped us transform our marketing and sales process

Let me ask you a question

When a visitor gets to your website, there’s a whole world of possible reasons for how they got there.

Many visitors may reach your website from a quick Google search. Or they were scrolling through their Twitter feed and stumbled upon your site. Or they clicked through from a banner ad campaign you’re running.

Many of these traffic sources can be detected by all good analytics tools. But as we all know, that’s not the full picture.

Just looking at traffic referrers gives a very limited understanding of what is actually driving people to your website though. How do you know what spurred someone to search Google and ultimately reach you? How do you know if the conference you spoke at last week had an impact?

When it comes to growing your business there’s only so much you can learn from analytics alone. You often need to move beyond numbers and statistics to get to the truthful answers.

That’s why we ask one simple question in our signup process when visitors decide to start a trial of GoSquared. The question is intended to reveal the reason a visitor decided to check us out and ultimately sign up. The question:

“How did you first hear about us?”

The question involves just a few simple words, but the answers we receive have enabled us to improve many parts of our marketing and sales process.

Implementing the question

Where you heard about us

Out of all the engineering challenges we face, implementing this question in our signup process was not the hardest. However, there are a few key points about this implementation that are worth highlighting:

Open ended

Sometimes websites ask a question like this, but only allow you to answer the question by choosing an option from a drop-down menu.

It’s certainly easier to measure if you force visitors to select a category – you can easily see the number of signups from categories such as “blog posts”, “events”, “search” etc. But the issue with this is it relies on you choosing a set of categories upfront, some of which may be irrelevant.

In addition, the ability to enter anything in the text field often gives us some invaluable insight. This may be the name of another customer who referred the visitor or a short sentence about how the visitor bumped into us at a conference. Or sometimes we get less helpful albeit amusing responses such as “Batman referred me” – you can’t always win.


Importantly, the field is not required – so it’s not a blocker for people signing up in a hurry. Sometimes people are in a rush, and for some straining your memory to recall back to when you originally heard about us is just too much effort, so we don’t believe it’s a good idea to force this question upon you during signup.

We have tried requiring an answer to the question in the past, but we found the number of “junk” responses increased significantly. We’d rather collect fewer but more reliable responses rather than polluting the feedback.

On signup

We currently ask this question on our signup form, but we’re also looking into asking the question via live chat so visitors can let us know what brought them to the site. The intention here is to gather more insights from the large numbers of visitors who don’t decide to sign up.

What’s changed based on answers to this question

It’s great to collect more information on what is driving visitors to the site, but what have we changed based on this feedback?

Personalised onboarding messages

We’re now able to engage with new users during the trial period much more personally. If someone mentions that we met at an event, or that they watched a Youtube video featuring us, we can use this nugget of information to tailor our first message and engage the customer/user on the right level.

Our attendance at events

By asking this question we found that a lot of people sign up directly as a result of seeing us either speak at or sponsor an event.

Anyone who runs or attends events on a regular basis will know how hard it is to justify the time and expense as a marketing function, but thanks to asking this question we’re able to more confidently attend events.

Our weekly newsletter

We know a lot of people read GoSquared Weekly – our weekly newsletter on growing a SaaS business. However, it’s often hard to see how this translates into new business for us. Having asked this question for many months, we’ve proven that the newsletter drives a significant number of new signups each month.

Connect with existing promoters

When new users tell us they first heard about us through one of our existing customers (a common answer) then we’ll do whatever we can to thank that customer and often find a way to surprise and delight them, ultimately leading to a closer and more loyal relationship.

What will you find out?

We’ve found asking this simple question to be incredibly effective. How did your customers first find you? Have you tried asking a similar question to this? We’d love to hear about your experience!

Written by
James is CEO and one of the co-founders of GoSquared. He also likes to talk about design.

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