A combination of demographics and psychographics will help you sell

demographics and psychographics
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Katie Deverill
Operations Manager
Company Check
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Do you want your audience to become your clients? Do you want customers to come back and buy from you again? I imagine that the answer to these questions is a yes for most business owners and salespeople. I can’t wave a magic wand and make those things happen, but I can equip you to make them more likely.

Demographic and psychographic data and insights are key to seeing your audience as the collection of individual humans that it really is. Making use of them will help you to refine your sales process, saving you time and money.

What’s the difference?

Most of us have heard of demographics before. Demographics are ways of categorising people (your audience) into different chunks based on quantitative data. Demographics can include age, gender, first language, the device someone is browsing your website with etc.

This information alone is helpful in starting to understand something about your audience and for working out who your target audience is. Psychographics go even further, adding insight to demographics and helping you to understand why people want to buy from you.

Broadly speaking, psychographics look at intentions and behaviours. They include the hobbies or interests of your customers, their behavioural patterns, the KPIs of their businesses and more. Psychographics essentially tell you why people are interested in your products and, as with demographics, information from existing customers can be generalised and used to inform your sales strategy for attracting new customers.

Why should you care?

As I just hinted at, understanding demographics and psychographics can help salespeople to become more proficient in winning new customers for the business. They help you to pinpoint who is buying from you and why.

Both aspects are important. Not every 40-60 year-old British man wants to buy a suit from you, for example, but there are distinct psychographic groups who would. On the one hand, you’ll have men looking to buy a suit for a single occasion, like a job interview or an awards ceremony and on the other hand you’ll have men with a lot of spare cash who enjoy buying and wearing suits. These groups are within the same demographic, but have different motivations and will be attracted with different sales messages.

Equally, psychographic information without demographics isn’t overly useful. It’s nice to know that people buying your CRM software tend to be ambitious, hard-working and loyal to their company, but it’s also crucial to know that they tend to work for businesses with 25-50 employees and they tend to be sales managers, both of which would are demographic categories.

Used together, building an integrated, psychographic and demographic picture of your audience can help in a variety of ways. You can check leads against your target audience to determine which ones are worth following up and targeting as sales prospects. You could then use more specific information about the prospect to target your sales message and work out what the best pitch will be. Applying this data is about making your sales process more efficient, aiming to cut out leads that would never amount to a paying customer.

This information is also helpful for attracting repeat customers. If you know who they are and why they’re buying from you, you’ll be able to give them the right reasons as to why they should continue to do so. Repeat customers are an essential part of most businesses’ incomes and you should devote at least as much time to understanding them as you do to leads and prospects.

It should be noted that these applications slide into marketing as well as sales. The reality of modern business is that the two departments need to work together a lot of the time and both can be more successful by gathering and sharing the sort of data that I’m talking about. It will ensure that messages are consistent and that the two teams are on the same page with regards to who their target audience is and how they reach them best.

How to build demographic and psychographic data

Everything I’ve said so far is a nice theory, but it needs fleshing out to be truly practical. How do you gather actionable demographic and psychographic data?

For demographics, a lot of information is already easy to access. Google Analytics provides you with bucket loads of information about your site’s existing users, including location, gender and device. You can also infer a lot about users’ intentions (psychographic data) from the pages that are most popular, the pages with the highest bounce rate and the flow of users through your site.

Beyond analytics data, surveys are a good way to gather data. They’re not always successful, but one tactic is to ask loyal customers for feedback about recent products, slipping in a couple of demographic questions at the start.

For businesses who tend to have a lot of interaction with clients, such as many service-based businesses, there’s often nothing better than talking to them. As you get to know them, try to understand why they chose your business and what motivates them to continue being your customer.

Gathering data from your existing customers allows you to see trends which can be turned into a more refined target audience. It’s likely that people with similar demographic and psychographic profiles to your loyal customers will also be interested in what you have to offer. You can also refine your sales messages for existing customers to be more in line with what you now know they’re looking for.

Now it’s over to you. It’s up to each sales and marketing team to make the most of the demographic and psychographic data that they gather, forming targeted pitches and messages that recognise the situation and motivations of each prospect or existing customer. Don’t be afraid to spend more time personalising your messages; you’ll gain that time back and more as you cut out the failed pitches and the dead-end leads that were never going to buy.

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