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5 ways to use YouGov Profiler tool for your small business

Market research doesn’t have to cost a packet. We have moved beyond closed-door focus groups to mass collection of information on all aspects of people’s lives. And, despite the contestants on The Apprentice consistently ignoring it, market research really matters to businesses.


The good news is there’s a new tool in town: YouGov’s Profiler, which makes an incredible amount of information about consumer behaviour available to anyone for free. It crunches data from over 200,000 YouGov panelists into typical fan profiles for the brand, person or thing you’re interested in, covering everything from the magazines they’re likely to buy to their favourite foods.


As a savvy small business owner, you can put this wealth of information to work: here are five ways to use it for your business.


1. Understand your target audience


The Profiler holds masses of information about customers of thousands of brands, from their average age and income to what TV shows they watch and who they follow on Twitter. The database is limited to big businesses but with a bit of lateral thinking, small businesses can still glean insights into their target audience.

Have a think about your average customer and work out what other interests they have. Then study those profiles; they can tell you a lot about who your potential customers are. For example, if you’re a pet toy supplier look at the profiles for cat and dog lovers, or if you’re starting a clothing business then look at the profiles for the top fashion magazines.


2. Research your competitors


Search for your big competitors – if they’re in the database it’s a great opportunity to do some snooping. Finding out who your competitors’ customers are can help you position your business in the market. Do you want to target the same audience? If so there’s a lot you can find out about them here. You may even be able to identify a certain group your competitors are neglecting. If so how can you make your business stand out and appeal to this untapped customer base?


3. Develop your social media strategy


Brands that do well on social media tend to be those that tap into their audience’s wider interests. Once you’ve identified your target consumer, use the YouGov tool to find out what TV shows, sports and films they like. If your business can credibly talk about any of these on social media, you should build it into your regular posts to give your brand more personality. Irish bookmaker Paddy Power is a great example of a brand that does this well, with their witty commentary on sporting news.


But be careful not to get carried away with pop culture references. Make sure you’re always offering something genuinely useful to your audience that remains relevant to your business. For more advice on how to use social media check out the marketing section of our blog.


4. Find influential people in your area


Once you have a good idea of who your customers are, have a look at the “Online” and “Media” section. This is where you can find out who their favourite celebrities are and what pages and profiles they follow on social media. Is there a way you could connect with any of these influencers to get them talking about your business? For instance, if you’re a restaurant owner, use the Profiler to identify any celebrities you could invite for a meal or any local magazines that could give you a review.

YouGov social followings - O2 Business
The most commonly followed social media pages for Londoners


5. Plan your advertising


Once your business starts to grow you may start to think about some larger scale paid advertising. Choosing the right media outlets to target is vital to reaching the right audience for your product or service. This is where the Profiler tool comes in, showing you the most popular magazines, newspapers and websites for each type of consumer.


Take some time to look at the most popular media sources for your competitors’ fans – fans of things related to your business and those in the location you operate in to give you some ideas. It’s definitely worth doing some extra research. Many magazines and newspapers have freely available media packs with detailed audience data, but the YouGov tool is a very good place to start.


Have you found out anything surprising about your customers using the YouGov profiler tool? An unexpected penchant for oat cakes or Meatloaf, perhaps? Let us know over on Twitter @O2businessuk


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