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How to Gather Customer Demographics Without Prying

Do you really know your customers? Unless you’re investing time in gathering demographics, the answer is almost certainly, “no.” It takes effort, patience, and careful cultivation, along with hand-crafted personas, to really get a feel for who you’re marketing to.

But asking for information? That isn’t always easy, especially in a world where sites like Facebook fumble private data every (seemingly) every few months.

Here’s the thing: people are skeptical, and if they feel like you’re asking for too much, they’ll refuse to give anything at all. Here’s how to gather your much-needed demographics without making your audience feel like you’re prying.

Ditch the Long Forms

Long forms are bad for a few different reasons:

  1. They’re annoying to fill out.
  2. They eat up much too much of your visitor’s time.
  3. Depending on what you ask, they may be perceived as over-intrusive.

The last one is especially true if the information you’re asking for doesn’t match what you’re providing your visitors in exchange. For example, if you’re sending out a newsletter with information about content marketing, you don’t need to know their home address, their yearly income, or whether or not they’re married. That’s over-intrusive and will stuck out like a sore thumb.

Conversely, if you’re automating the process of setting up a new website for them, you may need to ask a few questions. It’s okay to extend your forms, in this situation or situations like it, to get must-have info (like domain name or address).

Overall, try to keep your forms short whenever you can. It’s just good advice.

Don’t Hold Content Ransom

There’s nothing more annoying than trying to get basic content from a website and suddenly realizing they want your entire life story to see the whole thing. News sites are slowly switching to gated content to try and bump up performance; unfortunately, it’s largely had a punitive effect on them. People just leave, and that’s what will happen to you, too.

Instead, give the content and then offer additional content for signing up. Keep signups simple; you only need an email and name to send out a newsletter. You can work on calls to action once you’re connected.

Use Social Logins

Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram give you a quick and easy way to get information without being a bother: social logins. Instead of having separate logins for your platform, you can allow your visitors to login via social media APIs.

Social logins work by granting you access to minor info the platform already has about the user. By logging in with the platform, the user agrees to grant you access to that basic info, passing it on to you. The entire process takes just a few seconds. No need to enter anything but username and password.

Gathering demographics is no picnic. There are now more channels to track and monitor and adjust than ever before. If you need a hand, reach out to Go Digital WSI.