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The most valuable registration field: How did you hear about us?

How did you hear about us?

I first answered this question when joining Linode. I remember thinking "Wow, this is a great time to ask me!" because the real answer was still in my short term memory.

When I launched LinkPeek I applied this technique. After an amazing launch (thank you colleagues from HackerNews) the true significance of this field was exposed. I would argue that the answer to this simple question holds more value than collecting a username.

Here is why:

It may seem obvious after reading this post, but this is what I learned and I am sharing to help other startups.

Asking "How did you hear about us?" will help you determine:

  • how your customers found you
  • which of your marketing efforts are working
  • where to spend money or time marketing (and where to stop)
  • your true target market
  • how your customers will use your product

Here are some other benefits to this technique. It opens a dialog or conversation with the customer, which in return should help lower friction during the sale. You already have the the customer engaged during the signup process. I am firmly against the traditional method of surveying customers. I believe the same data can be collected without being abrasive or wasting the customers time.

"How did you hear about us?" is the gift that keeps on giving.

It is commonly accepted that shorter registration forms lead to better conversions. I totally agree, but in this case the sacrifice is worth learning more about my target market and customer needs.

How to ask this question properly:

  1. Just ask! I second guessed my decision to add this field right before launch but that anxiety promptly faded after reading the first answer.
  2. Don't use pre-filled answers! Having pre-filled answers is counter productive because you will not learn anything new. You are forcing the user into choosing one of your answers...
  3. Allow the user to type as much as they like! A few of my customers nearly wrote a book in the text field.

If you liked this post, you should follow me on twitter `here <https://twitter.com/RussellBal>`__.

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© Russell Ballestrini.