Tip of the Month


“Where did you hear about us? “

This is one of the most common, and least valid, questions lifelong learning programs ask of their participants.

It was also the biggest question in LERN’s webinar last month on Surveys That Work, a free webinar for LERN members.

The rule is that you don’t ask people what they think when you have data on what they actually did.  So do not ask ‘Where did you hear about us?’

Here’s the 5 most important things we know:

1. They don’t remember.
   LERN’s Senior VP Julie Coates asked the “Where did you hear about us?” question in a survey to participants 30 years ago, and intentionally put one answer as being TV, even though the program had never been on TV.
Some 10% responded with TV, making at least 10% of the results wrong.

2. Print brochure generates 70%.
   We know, despite what anyone says or thinks, that the print brochure generates 70% of your registrations. That has been proven over and over again by hundreds of lifelong learning programs.

3. Word of Mouth.
   Usually one possible response is Word of Mouth or Friend.  While word-of-mouth is probably the biggest non-brochure way people hear about you, the data is totally useless.
There is no actionable way you can target, plan or increase word-of-mouth.

4. Track instead.
   Track a promotion technique instead of having people guess, often wrong, how they heard about you.  You can track, and test, every promotion technique you use.
And you only have to track a promotion technique (social media, email, Facebook ads, etc.) once.  If it worked, it will work.  If it didn’t work, it won’t work in the future (for at least 2-3 years for sure).
Tracking tells you what the person actually did, not what they thought they did.

5. Resources for you.
   As a LERN member, here are free resources for you on surveys and tracking promotion.
– Webinar archive.  Listen to the full webinar, Surveys That Work, anytime. Just email info@lern.org to access the link.
– To find out how to track a particular promotion technique (social media, email, etc.) just email info@lern.org and ask for Technical Assistance. We can personalize our response to your needs.

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