In a world where everyone is overstressed, overscheduled, and over-caffeinated, managing our inboxes and to-do lists seems impossible.
But as she explains, that’s the problem the company’s email management platform has set out to solve:
“How do we as humans get a little bit of control back over our attention? Not just in how we’re marketed to—but how we’re connecting with everything out there—in this digitally noisy world?”
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One day, former GTM executive Andy Mowat sought out to solve the problem of overcrowded inboxes for good. Now he’s the Founder and CEO of an email productivity company adored by thousands of leading professionals.
Gated auto-replies let senders know they need to donate to charity before users see their message.
The platform makes senders pause and reconsider whether their message is worth sending, while also supporting worthy causes. In fact, Gated users can choose to support any 501 (c)3 that they love most. Plus, Gated gives users peace of mind knowing that their inbox only contains messages from people they know and those that value their attention. But what do Gated users really think about their email experience? To understand customer sentiment, Gated turns to typeforms. In this playbook, we’ll cover how Gated captures feedback with forms, maximizes form engagement, and turns form responses into customer-centric marketing.
The value of forms: Gated’s “first-party testimonial capture engine”
Lean startups like Gated need simple, straightforward tools for every aspect of the business. User feedback—which powers product improvements and helps Melissa market Gated—offers a treasure trove of value, and typeforms are a powerful way to collect that information.
Gated has three key audiences—users, senders, and nonprofits—each of which interacts with the platform differently. For an efficient data-gathering process, the team can send each group a thoughtful form, aligned to their needs.
Using forms as a main method of contacting users empowers Andy’s hands-on approach to founder-led marketing. He can thank them for donations, review user feedback, and stay plugged into the business.
“We started using Typeform to capture user testimonials. We’ve exponentially increased our responses with over 180 in just three months.” — Andy Mowat, Gated Founder and CEO
In addition to helping the Gated team understand the product’s impact, Melissa says that forms have helped build a “first-party testimonial capture engine.”
When a user expresses an interest in sharing their Gated experience, Melissa leans on forms to capture their testimonial directly.
Over time, the platform has built up a bank of reviews with third-party sites like G2. But Gated’s marketing started (and continues) by relying on the words of its customers to power social content, blog stories, and more.
When customers provide a Gated testimonial, Melissa uses their feedback to create a customized landing page that features their success with the platform.
When (and how) Gated implements typeforms
Gated has a small, scrappy team (<5 people) that serves three disparate audiences, which poses quite the marketing challenge. The team relies on a divide-and-conquer approach to work efficiently and ensure a designated point of contact (and a personal touch) with Gated’s audience.
Interacting with three distinct customer personas
Gated regularly interacts with three unique customer groups—each with its own specific needs, insights, and goals:
Users: Includes product market fit, email-related concerns, needs, and pain points
Senders: Includes overall reactions to the platform, their experience with it, and general feedback
Nonprofits: Includes understanding their biggest challenges, openness to Gated, and additional engagement
Understanding three separate user groups could be Melissa’s full-time job all on its own. Forms simplify these interactions and let her focus on the essential data from each audience.
“Instead of having a customer success team that can talk to every sender and every nonprofit, we basically have a Typeform flow that we bring them through.” — Melissa Moody, Gated Founder and CMO
Finding moments of delight
The team looks for “moments of delight” throughout each user and sender journey. When a customer encounters one of these "moments of delight", Gated introduces them to a relevant typeform.
For example, when a Gated user gets their first donation, or a Gated referral uses their referral link, the team sends users a form to ask about that experience. When a sender donates, Andy starts a conversation with them via a unique form.
The workflow for nonprofits looks a bit different. A dedicated nonprofit landing page offers more information about the platform and lets them know how Gated can help them raise more funds and amplify their impact.
From there, they can click to learn more, which takes them to a typeform that gathers basic information about the organization and offers marketing materials to further their engagement with Gated.
Balancing manual and automated workflows
Rather than being fully automated, many trigger points involve some manual support from a Gated team member. For instance, when someone shares kind words about Gated and tags them on social, Melissa sends a message to the individual with a relevant typeform and an invitation to become a Gated testimonial.
By using forms as a data-gathering tool, Melissa is able to create repeatable workflows. That way, she can scale and repurpose content based on authentic feedback; an efficient way to get the most bang for her marketing buck.
Maximizing responses, engagement, and in-depth insights
Along with having a rock-solid strategy for building and sending forms, Melissa also optimizes Gated’s forms to receive the most—and highest-quality—responses possible.
Here are three best practices Gated uses to maximize form engagement.
1. Bring your brand forward
Gated doesn’t have dedicated sales or customer success teams to ask customers what they love or dislike.
But forms let Melissa ask customers and senders those kinds of questions through a branded, personalized experience.
Gated customizes each typeform with their colors, logo, and brand voice.
With Typeform, she incorporates Gated’s colors and logo into each form, and she builds form messaging and questions around their unique brand voice.
“You can use Typeform to create something that sounds like you…Typeform makes it easy—silly easy—to have something that feels like Gated.” — Melissa Moody, Gated Founder and CMO
Forms should offer customers an experience that feels like any other touchpoint with your brand.
Gated tip: Customize the voice, look, and feel of the form to make respondents feel like they’re in direct contact with your team.
2. Keep your forms short and sweet
With the customer experience in mind, Melissa works to keep Gated’s forms as short as possible.
Her aim is to streamline the customer experience, keeping it tight. That way, when they’ve finished a typeform, the user feels like they’ve completed a lot without doing a lot of work.
Oftentimes users need to take different routes to finish a form—especially because Gated has such distinct audiences. This is where Typeform logic features come into play. Melissa leads respondents down a different pathway based on how they answer key questions.
For users completing a testimonial, the typeform sends them down a different path depending on whether they want to use their LinkedIn headshot or upload a photo directly.
The goal is to make the form experience as low-effort as possible.
Gated tip: Make the form enjoyable for the user. This will create a natural flow leading to more completions. If they feel accomplished and not overwhelmed, even better.
3. Craft your questions carefully
To maximize the quality of data, Gated leaves many of their form questions open-ended. These questions give Melissa the full picture and allow her to maximize the marketing impact of responses.
But she also relies on survey best practices, like starting each form with a question that isn’t open-ended—yes/no questions, rated on a scale from one to 10, or multiple-choice.
Starting your forms with a softball question gets respondents to engage, which in turn nudges them to continue filling out the form.
When using a typeform to prep Finding Focus podcast guests, Melissa eases the user in with a rating question.
Gated tip: When building a survey, strike a balance between your research needs and the user’s needs. Don’t be afraid to ask thoughtful questions that spark meaningful responses, but you shouldn’t leave the user wondering what to do. Focus on creating forms that are a win for everyone.
How Gated uses form responses for customer-centric marketing
When a Gated form is completed, the responses feed straight into Airtable. Depending on the audience type and responses, answers are tagged with labels and action items for simple, straightforward follow-up.
Here are a few ways the team uses the gems customers share:
When a user or sender shares their experience with Gated—including a start-to-finish story with value-packed quotes—Melissa notes that they’re a great candidate for a testimonial. Then, she works their answers into customer stories for the Gated website and uses them as a sales tool.
She turns shorter sound bites and powerful quotes into social media touchpoints, using Canva to spin up shareable testimonial graphics Melissa also asks users for a G2 review when their responses indicate they might be willing to share their experience on the review site.
Additional marketing content
Some responses open the door to a deeper conversation—in those cases, Melissa follows up for a longer interview to create a guest post for the Gated blog.
Outside the written word, Gated produces the Finding Focus podcast and hosts webinars and Ask Me Anything (A.M.A) sessions. Melissa identifies guests for each of these content types through forms.
Forms often help Melissa find the next guest for the Finding Focus podcast.
For Andy, testimonials received via forms are great touchpoints for additional outreach to improve the customer experience. Andy connects with satisfied users and senders via LinkedIn and shares a templated response thanking them for sharing their experience.
Positive form responses also signal expansion opportunities for Evan’s customer success efforts.
He’s noticed a common pattern for Gated growth within companies. Five users quickly turn into 15. Happy users are a great chance for outreach to ask about other team member referrals.
At other times, key roles—like a CEO or executive user—might be ideal contacts for pitching company-wide use of Gated.
Customer testimonials: An early-stage SaaS marketer’s hidden advantage
Gated offers its users a breath of fresh air amid the constant swirl of a noisy world by helping them stay focused on the messages that matter most to them and their businesses. In the same way, forms help Melissa find her focus by simplifying the process of collecting customer testimonials.
With the help of stories from users and senders, Melissa powers Gated’s people-focused marketing strategies and repurposes real-world stories in multiple ways. Gated customers become an extension of her one-person marketing team, saving her time and strengthening every part of the business.
With the help of customer testimonials—and the support of a user-friendly form experience—no early-stage SaaS marketer has to miss out on the chance to supercharge and simplify their marketing efforts.
Your to-do list may still be long, but leveraging customer stories in your marketing—and the email magic of Gated—just might help you find a moment of peace.
Ready to transform your customer-focused marketing through forms? Get started with Typeform today.