Have you ever wondered about the type of people your customers are? This isn’t a rhetorical exercise; it’s part of the job of a marketer.
Understanding your customers' desires, values, and mindsets opens the doors to connect with them on a deeper level, much deeper than your competitors would ever dream of.
Psychographic surveys are the key to unlocking that door. If you want to know more about psychographic surveys and what they can do for your store, this article is for you.
What is a psychographic survey?
Psychographics describes the analysis of psychological peculiarities your audience has, such as their:
Psychographic surveys will allow you to create detailed customer profiles, which you can use to refine your marketing copy and improve your customer experience.
Here is what a customer persona might look like for an artisan furniture and home decor store:
If you haven’t built your own customer persona yet, feel free to use this template as a starting point, and then start adding the information you collect from your customers via surveys.
Psychographic survey vs. demographic survey
Psychographic surveys show how people think about your products and brand, and what they should buy to fulfill their desires and needs (their “why”). The data you acquire in them is called “qualitative” because it can’t be quantified. It may be harder to analyze but also more enriching.
In contrast, demographic surveys show who your targets are (from the outside), including their age, gender, location, and job title, among other things.
Although the data you can acquire with a demographic survey is qualitative as well, it’s more ambiguous. It’s “hard” data — still useful but not actionable.
If I told you I’m a 32-year-old copywriter who lives in Lisbon, do you know anything about me? You can make some wild guesses and nothing more. But if you knew that I’m motivated by financial independence, you could market your products more effectively.
At the end of the day, psychographic surveys aren't better than demographic ones, or vice-versa. Both are needed.
Moreover, mixing the qualitative data from these surveys with the quantitative data from your analytics tool will get you even crisper customer profiles you can act on.
How you can use psychographic profiles in your ecommerce marketing strategy
There’s a reason behind every action your visitors take on your store. If you could understand what that was, you’d be able to know what makes people want to buy from you and what stops them from doing so.
Suppose you’re selling natural solutions that can help reduce back pain. If you were given the power to read the mind of one random first-time visitor, you would see a string of thoughts that go something like this:
“My back’s killing me; let’s hope this supplement can do something for me.”
“So it’s $29.95? It’s too expensive.”
“Oh wait, but they were featured in Health magazine; I love that magazine!”
“They also have a lot of five-star reviews from other people like me, nice!”
“And they use organic ingredients. And recyclable packaging too!”
“I wish they accepted AfterPay, I’d love to pay this in installments.”
Some of these thoughts show universal preferences buyers have, such as the desire to see what others do and think (“social proof”). But other thoughts reveal unique aspects of that visitor’s personality, like:
- She wants a pain-killer, but she wants to take a natural approach first
- She’s budget-conscious
- She likes to be informed about health
- She cares about the environment
Perhaps a demographic survey could give you some context into this individual. For example, you may learn this person, like most of your audience, is retired and lives in a low-income community. With the demographic and psychographic data in hand, you could:
- Position your brand as a champion of natural solutions that fight against the powerful “Big Pharma”
- Highlight your environmentally friendly manufacturing processes
- Write blog posts that inform your audience about topics related to living a pain-free life as a retiree
If you asked this individual why she decided to buy your product, she may say she liked the reviews. But she wouldn’t be able to tell you with much detail all the other things that went through her head while she was purchasing your product.
Unless you conducted a psychographic survey.
Marketers use a mix of interviews, polls, user testing tools, and surveys to run psychographic analyses.
For us, surveys are our favorite approach.
Because surveys are easy to create and conduct, they are cheap and don’t represent a large obstacle for your visitors.
40 Psychographic survey questions to ask
In this section, I want to show you 40 psychographic questions for your survey. The questions include custom fields you must fill in with information related to your company or objective.
Almost every question starts with “What,” “How,” and “Why” — these are called “open-ended” questions. The answers to these questions will give insights into how your respondents think freely.
Here is a quick example of a psychographic survey question about customer’s values:
Any questions that start with “Do” or “Are” (or their past tense equivalents) are only used to qualify the respondents. Always follow them up with an open-ended question ☝️
Multiple-choice questions should be used when the possible answers are inherently restricted, like a watch retailer asking their buyers about their favorite strap material.
When running surveys, never assume you know the answers beforehand. When in doubt, let the respondent add their own responses by presenting an “Other” option.
Without further ado, here are the 40 psychographic survey questions categorized into six groups:
- What’s the #1 thing you care about when buying online?
- What are your favorite online retailers?
- What do you like about them?
- What causes you to buy from them?
- How often do you buy online?
- What worries you about buying online?
- What do you look for in a brand before making a purchase?
- Who are your favorite experts in [industry]?
- What sites, magazines, or forums do you read?
- Do you listen to any podcasts about [industry]? If so, which one(s)?
- Are you subscribed to any YouTube channel about [industry]? If so, which one(s)?
- Do you follow any social media influencers in [industry]? If so, which one(s)?
- Have you ever been to a conference or convention about [industry]? If so, which one(s)?
- What are your favorite brands in the [industry] industry?
- How did you find us?
- What was your first impression of our store?
- What would you say is the #1 thing you like about us?
- If you had to summarize what we do in one sentence, what would you say?
- If you could change something about our store, what would it be?
- How does our brand make you feel?
- What almost prevented you from buying from us?
- What would you say is the #1 thing you look at when buying [product type]?
- Think of a time before you bought from us for the first time. Were you using a different product? If so, which ones?
- What did you like about it?
- What made you buy it in the first place?
- How long did you use it?
- What caused you to switch to us?
- What challenges did you experience the first time(s) you used [your product]?
- What surprised you the first time(s) you used it?
- How often do you use it?
- If you could change one thing about [your product], what would you change?
- If you had to explain to a friend what our [your product] makes you feel, what would you say?
- If you had to describe it to a friend, what would you tell them?
- How would you feel if you could no longer buy our product(s)?
Activities and leisure
- What do you like to do in your free time?
- Do you have any hobbies? If so, which ones?
- Which of the following activities do you like to do after work? (Show a list of options)
- What’s the one thing you need to improve in [favorite activity]?
- What’s your number one challenge in [favorite activity]?
- Why would you say you like [doing favorite activity]?
How to conduct a psychographic survey (on your website or via email)
Step #1: What do you need to know?
Before running a psychographic survey, you must define what you want to learn about your customers. Generally speaking, you want to ask questions from each of the six groups. Each one will give you a good view inside your buyers’ minds.
If you have one particular problem you need to solve, focus your questions on a particular category. For example:
- To reduce cart abandonment, use product-related questions
- To nail your value proposition, use brand-related questions
- To learn where to promote your brand, use industry-specific questions
- To learn about your customer’s mindset around buying online, use buying preferences questions
Step #2: Select the questions
If it were up to you, you’d probably ask the entire 40 questions shared above. The only problem is that your customers would hate you for it. As a rule of thumb, select not more than 15 questions. If you add more, you will have to give your respondents a good incentive (more on that later).
Step #3: Choose your survey tool
There are countless survey tools that will help you with this step. For instance, if you’re planning to conduct the survey on your website, you can use Getsitecontrol – a no-code website form builder.
With Getsitecontrol’s templates, you’ll be able to create a psychographic survey within minutes and choose a page on your website where you want to display it. For example, you can display a post-purchase survey right after checkout:
The best part about Getsitecontrol is that you can also use it to build your email list, promote products and offer discounts on your website.
To conduct a survey via email, you can use any online form builder, including free tools like Google Forms or Getform.
Step #4: Consider using a survey incentive
Whatever tool you choose, designing the survey and putting the questions shouldn’t take too long. When in doubt, keep it simple.
It would be a good idea to use an incentive for longer surveys, as most people won’t be moved to start it, and fewer will be able to complete them. You can use a mix of gift cards, gifts, and coupons to entice your respondents.
If you’re conducting a survey via email, this is what your message may look like:
If you’re conducting the survey on your website, make sure to let your customers know about the incentive right away. When offering a discount code, you can deliver it upon survey completion and use it as a purchase incentive, too.
Here is one example of what it can look like:
The incentive should be large enough to compel them to take the survey but not as large as to become the sole reason for their participation.
Step #5: Set up and run the survey
Ideally, you want to survey your existing customers. To do so, you can either display your survey right after checkout – on the Thank you page or Order status page – or send it to your customers via email.
For the former, create a website survey and paste your Thank you page URL in the page targeting settings. For the latter, use a segment or tag for your customers in your email marketing tool. If you haven't implemented email list segmentation yet, this is a good time to do it.
Then, write an email explaining what you want from them and what they will (or may) get from their participation. Keep it short and to the point. Reduce potential anxieties by telling them how long it will take them to complete it.
Finally, publish the survey on your website or send the survey via email and wait for the responses. The more responses you get, the better. However, this number will depend on the size of your audience. To be able to make data-driven conclusions, aim to get at least two dozen replies.
If you don’t get enough replies, or if they represent approximately 1% of your list, send another email a week later.
To encourage your audience to participate, use other promotional channels: floating bars on your store, your social media channels, and even paid ads.
Step #6: Analyze the results
Wait for at least a week to check the replies. Before that, you only want to see that you get at least two dozen of them.
Export the replies and use Excel or Sheets to organize them by creating a tab for each question. In there, put the question on the top row and the responses below them.
Categorize the responses in the empty intersection between the questions and the replies. Use one keyword for this process, as it will make it easier when you have to review this work.
At the end of the process, search for the keyword you used for each category, and see which ones show up the most. In the example above, if I searched for “Comfort,” I'd get that it came up twice. When you have lots of replies, searching will become helpful.
Such an analysis will give you a broader look at how your customers think. Use that information to improve your customer personas and refine your marketing strategy.
You already knew that your customers are real people with real-life problems. But did you know what type of people they really are?
With psychographic surveys, now you know. And with the information you gather from them, you can improve your copy as well as your entire marketing strategy. More importantly, you will learn more about your customers than your competitors ever will — a true competitive advantage.
Ivan Kreimer is a freelance content writer for hire who creates educational content for SaaS businesses like Leadfeeder and Campaign Monitor. In his pastime, he likes to help people become freelance writers. Besides writing for smart people who read sites like Getsitecontrol, Ivan has also written in sites like Entrepreneur, MarketingProfs, TheNextWeb, and many other influential websites.
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