Build richer personas with psychographics

Create a more complete view of your ideal customer using psychographics.

By understanding how what you offer fits into your customers’ lives you’ll create effective messaging and more tailored products and services. Your customers will believe that what you do you do for them.

Image of a person with no clear face - get to know your customers better with psychographics

Demographics describe who your customers are. They can be dry, too prescriptive, lead to stereotyping, and be more of a hindrance than a help. But I’ve talked about that already!

If you really want to understand your customers you need to use psychographics. It’s these that will tell you why your customers buy.

Demographics may highlight the type of challenges your customers face, such as health issues that may come with increasing age or stretched household budgets for those with young children and low incomes. They don’t tell you what drives your customers to take action. 


You’re most likely using psychographics already when you talk about your ideal customer or niche. 

Anything that describes their personality, opinions, attitudes, interests, beliefs, values and lifestyles is psychographics. They’ll give you the details of what makes your customers’ hearts sing and what turns them off, any pain points that they face in their lives, the doubts and niggles they have about the products or services you provide and how you can help your customers in a way that they will find valuable.

You’ll use psychographics to fine tune the products and services you offer and your customer journey to maximise the value you give to your niche. Doing that will make your customers feel that you’re a match made in heaven and are more likely to want to buy from you again and again.

Create brand evangelists!

Don’t forget your brand in all of this. It’s important that your brand fits into your customers’ lives too.

Use the pscychographic profiles of your most loyal customers, your tribe, and compare your brand values with their values. How do they match? What are they seeing in your brand that’s resonating with them and making them become your own personal cheer-leading squad? Hopefully what they see and what you set out to portray are the same – then encourage people to become loyal brand ambassadors for your company and put your brand values into everything you do. Nurture brand advocacy.

Got a bit of a mismatch between your brand values and what your customers are seeing? Ask yourself why. Are the customers, your loyal followers, the people you set out to attract? Are your brand values what you’re portraying? Are they still current? Do you need to revisit them? 

Image of a person with no clear face - get to know your customers better with psychographics
What you need to know about your customers

Think about your customers as people. A group of individuals, all with their own personalities, opinions, interests, activities, aspirations, challenges and so on. There are things that they have in common and it’s these you need to focus on. Get specific, avoid generalisations. For example, do they try to eat healthily or do they goal-set their macro and micro nutrients? Why do they do it?

The more you look at your customers’ psychographics, the more you’ll find relate to one another in some way. Patterns will begin to emerge. There’s every chance you’ll find some anomalies too, where there are inconsistencies that need exploring. You might find a group that you hadn’t realised were perfect for what you do.

Personality matters

Who are your customers as a person? What do they believe in? What are their morals? What motivates them? What is their outlook on life?

Opinions count

How do they feel about […]? How important is it to them?  How well do they understand it? Have they got some preconceived ideas about it?
The importance is likely to be influenced by their beliefs, particularly deep seated ones. It’s very hard to change a person’s opinion if it’s already fully formed.

What’s their attitude like? Generally and towards more specific things? 
Sometimes attitudes are formed before someone considers using or experiencing something.

Interests are more than interesting

What are they interested in? How interested are they in […]? How excited do they become from using or experiencing […]? What level of anticipation builds when they think about using or experiencing […]?
Start with a broad relevant subject, for example films – do they enjoy watching films? Then narrow it down – what type of films do they enjoy watching? Then narrow it down further – why do you enjoy films?

Activities take time

What do they do in their spare time? What do they really enjoy doing? What do they spend money to do? How engaged and invested are they in this activity?
For example, do they go for a quick run wearing an old t-shirt and jogging bottoms to keep fit, or do they run to achieve a personal best, wearing moisture-wicking layers and bespoke running shoes, subscribe to ‘Runners’ World’ and post their routes on Facebook?

Aspirations are emotional

Who do they want to be in the future? What are they working towards? What do they need to do to achieve this?
It’s not just about who they are now, but who they want to be. 

Challenges are hurdles

What’s stopping them from achieving their goals? What’s causing them problems in their life? What do they lie awake and worry about at night? What is their inner most fear?
It’s the problems customers face that create the need for what you offer.

Psychographics are easy to find out

If you’re not sure about the answers to all these questions, there are several ways that you can get to the information you need.

Ask your customers

It can be as formal or informal as you like. 

If you’re keeping costs down, you can ask these questions yourself. Have a bit of a chat with your customers and get to know them better – if you’re not comfortable telling them what you’re doing and why then this is a good option, but it will take longer to get a robust view.
If you’re happy to tell your customers what you’re doing, then book a little extra time with them if you’re seeing them or talking directly to them. If you’ve got a Facebook group or something similar, ask the questions there. 

If you have some budget hire experts. Market research agencies will run focus groups or in-depth interviews with your customers. They’ll present their findings to you for you to use. All you’ll need to do is write a brief, talk it over, sign off the discussion guide, be debriefed and pay! Done well, it should be 8-12 weeks from start to finish, but the requirement for your time is only a fraction of that.

Some people use surveys. This work is best done qualitatively. You can ask a series of open ended questions that need people to type their answers, but it takes a long time to do and is boring and unrewarding for your customers, unless you incentivise them. Then you still have to analyse their responses. 
You can confirm your knowledge using closed questions such as “How much do you agree or disagree with the following statements …”, “completely agree, slightly agree, neither agree nor disagree, slightly disagree, completely disagree”. This is worth doing if you need to find out the proportion of customers that feel a certain way. It isn’t absolutely necessary unless you’re segmenting your customer base.

Examine your website analytics

Why have people taken action in the past? What motivated them to click, call or buy?

People’s motivations are exposed by the actions they take. 

Was it the wording on the call to action? Or was it the design of the page? Is the language turning people off because their perception of something is different to yours? Was it the emotional appeal of an offer or was it a discount code that made them finally purchase?

Check out social media platform analytics

Where else are you going to find people talking about themselves, their opinions, likes, interests and activities more than on social media?

If you’ve got an account on the platform, chances are you’ll have access to information about your audience. What are they talking about? What have they expressed an interest in? What have they searched for?

What now?

Now you know what’s important to your customers, you’ll know how to motivate them to take action.

Add this information to your customer personas. Write to the wonderful human being that is your customer about things that matter to them. Talk about how you can help them live the life they want to live and how you can help with whatever it is that’s holding them back. Be the person that makes a difference to them. See your business grow.