Customer demographics help define audiences and understand the types of interactions and user experiences you want to build out for those audiences. Ideally, you would start to understand a client’s audiences when you are onboarding the client and beginning to understand the client’s core business needs. This starts with interviewing business stakeholders to understand the ideal customer and identify the customer journey that has the client end up purchasing your product. How extensive the demographic data needed will depend on the client’s product offering and the types of interactions that are typically necessary in the decision cycle. In many cases, clients will not have the stomach for a lot of audience research and building out specific buyer personas. They will want to jump to doing the work. This is understandable and may need to be approached in different points along the way, as you identify gaps in the existing user experience. But, these are important elements to building out a marketing strategy.
How customer demographics can help
Specifically, knowing the digital consumption patterns and preferences of your ideal audience(s) helps understand what channels and platforms you need to be active in the conversation along the consumer journey. For decision cycles that are much longer, say 9 to 10 months, there is more of a need to be present and supporting the client long before they are ready to make a purchase. Supporting their needs and garnering trust in the relationship early is important to establishing a connection that may, or may not, lead to a purchase later.
Different ways to approach customer demographics
You will probably be able to build out basic audiences at the outset. Depending on the client need, there may be a big need for user experience improvements and building out user flows for each audience category and conversion path funnels. User flows help identify the ‘flow’ within your website that you expect a visitor to take. You can build this out to different channels prior to your website as well. You can set up conversion path funnels within Google Analytics to show the intended sales funnel that your audience will take and start to analyze when people drop off from that flow. This will identify steps to improve the conversion rate and tighten the sales path and identify new opportunities.
If you don’t think your client understands the defined customer audiences very well, you can set up surveys to ask your audience specifically. If you already have an existing audience through email subscriptions you can survey your existing users through Survey Monkey or another tool. But, if you don’t have an existing audience, there are tools available to get feedback from a defined audience, such as Google Surveys, though there is a price for it.
The other option is to define what you know about the audience, set up a few conversion path funnels, and start to gather the types of hypothesis that you think need to be tested. Then you can do a usability test to observe what tasks a user performs on the site. This can be done remotely or in person.
The final option is to guess based on your knowledge of user experience best practices. It is best not to put a lot of stock in making educated guesses but there could be some blaringly obvious problems that could be fixed first if the client is looking for specific results. It is important that you understand the before and after and figure out what the specific measurement model will be to know if the test is a success or not.