Create better content with psychographic segmentation

20th August 2019
Author: Chris McKay
Posted in: Behavioural science, Creation

Whether it’s Pepsi vs Coke, chunky vs smooth peanut butter, or skimmed vs whole milk, we just can’t seem to agree on anything. And let’s not even get started on politics.

Man shuddering

Due to different life experiences, everyone sees everything differently.

In fact, there’s even evidence that our tastes are decided by our genetic code before we’re born. We’re literally made to be different.

So what chance do marketers have in creating content that the majority of people will like?

They don’t.

You shouldn’t be making content to please the majority. You should be making content for lots of different minorities.

This is called psychographic segmentation and can help you create better content for your entire audience.

What does psychographics mean?

Psychographics is the study of people’s likes and interests. It will also score you some major points in Scrabble (you’re welcome).

You probably already know “demographics”. Psychographics goes a step beyond this surface-level information about a person and delves into who they are and why they make the decisions they make. This allows you to segment extremely accurately and deliver content uniquely tailored to them.

Psychographics VS Demographics

Both psychographics and demographics are ways of segmenting your audience, but the two differ in what they focus on:

Demographics:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Occupation
  • Ethnicity
  • Location
  • Education

Psychographics:

  • Personality traits
  • Activities and interests
  • Lifestyle
  • Social class
  • Principles and beliefs

Let’s take this information and build up a profile for John Doe:

John Doe’s demographic profile:

  • Male
  • 18-25
  • Marketing executive
  • White British
  • London
  • Bachelor’s degree

Even if this is all we know about John Doe, we’re already off to a pretty good start with our segmentation. We know enough about him to create better content than if we didn’t have this demographic data. But what happens when we do some psychographic research?

John Doe’s psychographic profile:

  • Cares a lot about his physical appearance
  • Passionate sports fan, heavy Instagram user
  • Leads a very healthy lifestyle
  • Tends to choose premium options
  • A strong advocate for combatting climate change – values sustainable products

As you can see, psychographics gives us a much clearer picture of who John Doe is, including what products he might be more willing to buy and how best to target him. By combining both demographic and psychographic segmentation, we can use that data to create better content for different groups of people, based on their psychological profile.

How to gather psychographic data

While you can get pretty much all the demographic data you need through google analytics, obtaining psychographic data is naturally more difficult. Unless you’re a mind reader or willing to literally stalk people, how can you get that valuable insight into their behavioral habits and psychology?

Psychic woman

Interview clients

Not the most time-efficient of methods, but depending on your industry, this could be an ideal method to gather behavioral data.

In order to get the most out of a client interview, there needs to be a strong relationship there already. Otherwise, the interview will make the client feel nervous and answer in a way they think you want them to say, which helps nobody.

But if you can have a conversational interview with a client and probe them for information about their behavioral choices in engaging with you and your product, you should be able to gather the data you need.

Questions can include things like:

  • What motivated you to buy our product?
  • How has our product helped the issues you were faced with?
  • Why did you choose our company over our competitors?

Customer surveys

If you don’t have the resources or the time to carry out these individual interviews, the next best option is to create a customer survey.

Thanks to platforms like SurveyMonkey, you can fully customize your surveys with psychographic-driven questions and send them out to large groups of clients, saving you time and effort.

The challenge of using surveys instead of interviews is that people will be less likely to take part. This is especially true with psychographic questions that probably take more effort to answer than simple “yes/no” questions.

You can always combat this by offering some sort of incentive (don’t underestimate the power of an Amazon voucher).

Market research

This is an option for companies that have a pretty hefty marketing budget.

Market research might be expensive, but you’ll struggle to find a more scientifically rigorous way of collecting psychographic data. By outsourcing this research to a good market research firm, you can also ensure that the data you’ve gathered has been properly vetted by professionals.

It’s not the cheapest option, but you’ll get what you pay for.

Focus groups

A great way to essentially interview a bunch of people at once.

By using focus groups to gather groups of people you’ve already established as being linked in some ways (potentially by demographics), you can delve deeper into how they would react in certain situations.

The main issue with focus groups is getting people to attend, but this can also be helped by incentivizing it.

Social media analytics

The capabilities of social media analytics are going from strength to strength. They might not be near the level of detail in google analytics yet, but they’re potentially a great resource for gathering psychographic data.

Because of the amount of personal information people upload to social media, you can get access to someone’s personal interests that you can’t find anywhere else, maybe even more than people would be willing to admit in an interview.

How to use psychographic segmentation to create better content

Now that we’ve gathered our psychographic data, how can we use it to create better content?

1. Align your brand values

If you know the values and beliefs of your most valuable customers, you can align the values of your branded content in the same way.

This is by far one of the best ways to encourage loyalty in your customers. If your content supports a certain cause that your customers are passionate about, they will passionately support you. 49% of consumers would be willing to pay more for a brand that supports the values they share.

When your customers are also your fans, you’ve essentially created an army of brand ambassadors who will get out there, share your content, and hype you up to their network (who likely share the same values and are therefore more likely to feel connected to your brand).

baby cheering in a crowd

2. Generate new content ideas

If you only know the industries and job roles of your audience, your content will be limited to that.

But people have wider interests outside their jobs.

By using psychographic data, you can create better content that matches the personal interests of your audience as well.

The challenge is not moving too far away from your business’ area of expertise.

For example, if you work in technology and you look at your Facebook followers’ lists of interests and find that their number one interest is “dogs” (it almost always is), are you really going to start blogging about dogs? Probably not.

But, if you find that a top interest is “the environment”, it’s probably pretty easy to create content that connects your knowledge base (technology) with their interest (tackling climate change).

3. Tailor communications

We all know generic email blast marketing doesn’t work. People want to feel special.

The more personalized you can make your email marketing, the more engaged your audience will be. A study by Experian found that personalized emails deliver 6X higher transaction rates, but 70% of brands aren’t using them.

With psychographic segmentation, you can create separate email lists based on what kind of content different people want to see, what blog posts they would be most interested in, and what questions answer their unique problems.

You can also dramatically increase your email open rate by personalizing the subject line based on psychographic data.

4. Improve conversions

When you’re monitoring people as they move through the funnel, wouldn’t it be great to know why certain groups of people fall off at certain points?

That’s how psychographics can help you create better content that prevents this.

If you apply the psychographic data to the custom conversion pathways you’ve set up in google analytics, you can better hypothesize why some people are put off by certain landing pages. 

The more you know about your prospects, the better you can optimize the copy, branding, and images on landing pages to be most attractive to them. Without this behavioral insight, you could be alienating the people most valuable to your business as soon as they arrive.

Grandpa from the Simpsons leaving immediately

Psychographic segmentation isn’t the miracle cure for content marketing, but every marketer worth their salt will tell you the more you know about your audience, the easier it is to create content they’ll actually want to engage with. And there’s no better way to understand people than by psychographics.