How to Build a Buyer Persona with Psychographics

Demographic vs Psychographic data

Conversion Rate Optimization is to a large extent based on the analysis of your customers data. Those factors that tell you how to better convert your visitors into customers. We often talk about how the onsite retargeting tools and CRO techniques should be used to improve conversion but don’t explain enough about why and where the data comes from. 

In this article, I will explain what personas are and why they are so important, and explain the difference between Demographic data and Psychographic data. 

Demographic data is only one half of the picture

Frequently, e-commerce website owners have trouble understanding buyer motivation, why are they buying, or rather why do some buy and not others? Often this is because they are not asking the right questions from their website visitors or customers. If you don’t know why they buy you cannot improve your product to meet buyer’s needs, and you can not effectively personalize their website experience to increase conversion.

But demographic data is only one half of the picture, to understand why your customers are buying you need to build buyer persona’s, and to do this you need to collect Psychographic data which in turn helps you to understand consumer behavior. 

You need to collect Psychographic data to understand consumer behavior.

Don’t rely on demographic data alone. I am getting ahead of myself here, let’s review the basics first.

What is a buyer persona?

A person can be grouped according to their similarities with others, features that might include both demographic data and psychographic data. It is only by combining these data types together can achieve optimal results in your CRO endeavors.

The data profile or buyer persona created enables the segmentation of the individual into a group for which personalized content should be created that speaks directly to them.

This is done in order to explain exactly how your product or service can solve their pain points. Here is a good time to explain the difference between Demographic and Psychographic data and provide an example.

Demographics Definition

Demographics is the study of populations, and with regards to marketing, demographic data is used to improve targeting, to reach buyers rather than anyone else. Demographic data enables companies to cut costs or/and reallocate marketing budget in a more effective manner, thereby improving conversion rate and increase sales.

Individuals (website visitors) are segmented into groups according to their shared characteristics, for example, age, sex, education income, and employment or marital status.

In the online world, such demographic data is held by advertising platforms such as Google Ads or via social media platforms like Facebook. While the use of such data can improve targeting, it is only half of the picture and therefore if you rely on Demographic data alone your CRO tactics will only bring limited success. 

Psychographics Definition

Psychographics are what could be defined as everything else that’s not covered by demographics in relation to the buyer persona. Unfortunately for marketers, Psychographic data is the kind of information that tends to be rather personal, and therefore it is harder to collect, purely because people feel uncomfortable in giving out such data, in addition, it’s harder for businesses to justify the collection of such data, let alone sharing the data with others.

Psychographic data would include a person’s values, beliefs, and interests, every additional bit of personal data contributes to build a better picture of what motivates them to buy. Individuals with a similar Psychographic profile can be targeted in a similar way, just as people with similar demographic data in their profiles can be segmented and targeted.

How to Collect Psychographic Data Responsibly

Trust is hard earned by big brands and small e-commerce websites alike and so before attempting to collect and store Psychographic data it is essential to ensure that the data collected will be safe throughout the customer lifecycle and beyond.

You are responsible for your customer data whenever and wherever it is it is stored (legally liable), even on social media platforms like Facebook for example. It is therefore essential that you choose your tools wisely, making sure that their security is up to scratch and compliant with all the rules and regulations internationally (such as EU GDPR).

It is also vital to seek consent/agreement from your website visitors with regards to data collection and data usage.

One of the first things a business should do when building a website to market a product or service is to create a customer journey map (CJM) to better understand buyer motivation.

A CJM puts marketers in the shoes of their customers and enables them to better plan and create content that meets their needs, which in turn is necessary to build a conversion funnel, two topics that we have already covered.

The content you create can provide the most valuable data you need, it can tell you about both your website visitors, and customers’ interests are and much more besides. It’s not just what you write about, it’s about HOW you write it.

Within your content plan, you need to have content that appeals to different types of human personality. Some people rely on their instincts more than others when making a buying decision while others take a more analytical approach.

We all have these different aspects of our personality, but most of us lean toward being one “type” or another. Similarly gender differences in how our brains work enable us to produce content that is more relevant to one gender or the other.

This particular blog on Psychographics and the buyer persona, leads to an obvious question, “how can I collect psychographic data?”

So How Can I do this?

So much about marketing is about having the right tool for the job. With regards to collecting Psychographic data, a tool is needed that supplies the following features.

  • Is secure
  • Provides a means to collect visitor consent to your data use (GDPR compliance)
  • Provides a means to learn about your website visitors
  • Provide a means to create a conversion funnel
  • Provides a means to create a complete persona’s
  • Provide a way to segment users by their persona types
  • Provide a way to collect Demographic and Psychographic data from your customers
  • Provide a way to retarget visitors and customers
  • Provide a way to engage with your customers in a personalized manner.
  • Collect feedback from customers
  • Provides a way to integrate/sync your CRO lead data with your CRM
  • Provides the ability to do all of the above in a non-intrusive manner

This can be achieved with Onsite Retargeting with OptiMonk.

You need the right tool for the job.

Most people have no idea what data to collect in the first place and so this is an obvious place for an example (supplied to below). What data you should collect for your business varies depending upon the product being sold. For example a bag store selling a range of bags for different uses. Through content written about each bag, containing crucial information about function and purpose you can create persona’s. Examples :-

Bag store example

The DIY Bag

Let’s face it most DIY tasks tend to be done by men, since it is a traditional role for men, but someone shopping online for a DIY bag might be anyone. For example, It would be an birthday gift for someone who does a lot of DIY. It therefore requires further inquiry, and this should be done before purchase (we don’t know at this point that they will purchase). We need to ask the question:-

……. are you buying for yourself or someone else?

Here you could ask more in exchange for a discount coupon. Perhaps a multiple choice question regarding the use case enabling differentiation between home use and work use. 

If for someone else you could ask whether it is a Christmas present or a birthday present. Then if a Christmas present, you could offer to pre-wrap for an additional fee. The coupon message would also require either a email input or a subscribe with messenger. This data would allow both immediate retargeting prior to purchase and the future targeting of the visitor for related products, whether it is for them or someone else. 

If the purchase is for someone else then this allows the segmentation of the list for same time next year, since the first purchase was likely a birthday gift, again this is something that you can ask them that does not feel intrusive. A timely email the same time the following year with a discount code for repeat business is likely to be more effective than an untargeted email marketing.. You are reminding the visitor about the upcoming birthday / Christmas and their previous gift, bought from you!


The Baby Bag

Capturing data regarding a baby bag is invaluable because you can then retarget them later for Kindergarten bags, school bags and any other type of bag that a growing child might need over subsequent years. You are also likely to know what the child’s preferred branding is (for example a cartoon series such as Paw Patrol), however this is likely to change from one year to the next. If you have separated your styles into male and female sections, then you can use gender targeting.

The Travel Bag

Interest in high priced travel bag suggests a frequent traveller will be the recipient of the bag, which opens up a whole world of potential cross selling of travel related items. Here it would be wise to try to determine what age group the buyer is in (assuming the person is buying the travel bag for themselves), because style choice is often a determining factor in item selection. Future targeting could be age group segmented improving personalization and ultimately conversion.


The three examples above highlight what can be collected but also demonstrate the value of collecting data over time. A single person might well buy or just show interest in more than one product, further building your profile of them, every additional purchase helps you to build a more comprehensive picture about them enabling you to further personalize their experience and retarget them. As your segmented lists grow, it makes it easier to grow your online store, launching a new product that can be cross promoted to your existing and future customers. This brings me back to the tools, your tool investment is a long term decision since data consistency is paramount. You can’t just swap and change whenever you like without data disruption, it is therefore essential to consider your tool provider as a partner to long term success.

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