CXL Growth Marketing Minidegree Review 3 of 12: Understanding Users

Understanding the Customer

This is my week 3 review of the CXL Minidegree in Growth Marketing. You can preview it here: Growth Marketing Minidegree | Training Program by CXL Institute. Alternatively, you look at the other programs that CXL offers here: Digital Marketing Training Delivered by The Best. (

In this instalment we will cover understanding users. This builds on the previsous module whose focus was on adopting User Centric Marketing. There is a misconception that understanding users is a costly exercise. However, this is not entirely true. There is existing information we can use to help us understand users without commissioning expensive research.

Sources of User Information

Sales Teams

Sales people interact with users everyday. They will know the questions they ask, the problems they seek to solve and their motivations. They will have information on customer objectives, the reasons some customers don’t buy and why some customers love the product or service. They will have testimonials and customer complaints. They may have a database of commonly asked questions. They will know features of the product or service that customers love, and features that customers wish you had.


Your analytics team will also have a wealth of information. From tools like Google Analytics we can learn what search terms are bringing people to our site. We can compare our language and that of the target audience. We can also get data on the most popular pages on our website and how long people spend on each page. More time spent on a page probably means that page has information that people are looking for.

We also need to analyse our social media statistics. People share and interact with content that they like. Information on who the audience follows, who they talk to etc, gives us important insights into their motivations. For whatever project you have,

Information That People Are Asking About Online

We can also find out the exact questions that people are asking related to our product and service. One tool that does a good job is Answer The Public. Answer the Public uses Google Suggestions to provide a map of common questions around a topic.

Using Surveys to Understand The Audience

Used strategically, surveys are important in getting to understand users. However, there are pitfalls to be avoided in designing and administering surveys. The most important key is to have a clear idea of what one wants to do. There is a danger that other departments or people in the organisation will add on to the questions resulting in a bloated survey.

Another common mistake is asking questions with no clear idea of what the answers will add to our understanding of the user. Before drafting a question, we need a specific idea of how the answer will help us to understand the user. if you can’t clearly answer in your own mind why you’re asking questions, then you probably shouldn’t be writing a survey and it’s not the right time to do it. What should we focus on when running a survey? Beyond getting people to identify some very basic segmentation about themselves, don’t focus, really, on who your audience is. Instead, focus on what they want to do. Okay, so in particular, what tasks do they want to complete? What questions do they want to answer? What’s their goals? What’s their pain points? Are there any objections that stop them from acting?

Getting More People To Respond To A Survey

A common problem is getting more people to respond to a survey. There are some specific techniques that can be used to help with that:

Placing The Survey At The Right Place

Some marketers place the survey on the first page of a website. Immediately on getting to the site, the user is confronted with a group of questions. This show little consideration for the users. People visit websites to complete specific tasks, not to fill-in surveys. A good approach is to allow them to complete their tasks before asking them to fill-in a survey.

The best point to put a survey in front of people is on exit intent. It’s at that moment when they’re about to leave the website, or alternatively, after they’ve completed some other action, like make a purchase. It all depends on the content of the survey, but you certainly shouldn’t jump on them the minute they arrive.

Keep The Survey Short

This is an important fact that is often overlooked. The instructor gives and example of a class that he was selling. He was struggling with how to increase the conversion rate. What was it that was stopping people buying it? It could’ve been any number of things. It could’ve been price; it could’ve been that they didn’t know who he was so they weren’t sure about the content. He had this whole list of different reasons why the conversion rate wasn’t as high as he wanted it to be. He ran a one-question survey that was triggered on exit intent, saying, if you decide not to enroll today, which of the following reasons stopped you? He gave a list of reasons, and at the bottom, he put “other”. That one simple question transformed the marketing approach to that master class.

Sometimes we have more than one question to get the information we need. However, the central insight remains the same: keep the surveys short.

Use The Right Types of Questions

Closed questions tend to have a higher response rate than open questions where people have to think too much. So, take, for example, that survey example above. It was a closed question. Here are a set of predefined options for you to select with. There was another option in case the predefined options didn’t fit with them, but generally, it was a closed question. Also, explain why you’re asking. Why do you want to know this information? What are you going to do with it? And also, don’t ask for personal information. People sometimes use surveys as an opportunity to start collecting email addresses, but if you want people to actually complete the survey, you shouldn’t be asking for information like that. It’s just going to put them off.

Its also a good idea to start with a simple question. If you’ve got multiple questions in your survey, start with the easiest one to answer. We know this from telesales. One of the first things people will ask you on a tele sales survey is what your name is. The reason they ask that is because it’s so easy to answer it; we don’t have to think. People don’t like thinking when they’re asked to complete a survey. If you can get them to answer one question because it’s blatantly obvious and really simple, the chance of them answering the rest of the questions go up significantly.

A Few Personal Notes

  • I am still struggling with time allocation as these studies are coming during a busy time at work
  • The flow of lessons is done very well
  • I wish there was a facility to discuss the concepts with the instructor and other students within each module. That way, all previous questions and discussions on the content by other students would be located conveniently. As it is, discussions are in a different part of the website