6 tools to kickstart your customer research

Business Hack #1

Market research can be complicated. But it doesn’t have to be, which is why we’ve put together the essential hit-the-ground-running customer research kit to help you get real results.

When you’ve got 100 things to do every day, it can be difficult to give every aspect of your business the attention it deserves.

This is why we’ve created monthly guides under the Business Hacks series which will be full of helpful tips, insights and quick-wins to help your business be ready for anything. These series aim to help you understand your customers better and help you unlock customer insights to build marketing strategies, and then activate them across your social media platforms. Gathering information about your customer doesn’t need to break the bank – you can get the same insights as big businesses by using the hacks we talk about below.

In this hit-the-ground-running customer research guide we will help you discover how to make Claire from Edinburgh (who loves cats and tulips) and Phil from Walthamstow (who hates chocolate but loves his Xbox) fall in love with your product and start believing in your brand. Get started below:

Google-Trends

Google Trends

Reckon you could make use of near real-time updates on exactly what the internet is talking about?

Google Trends will show you the most commonly searched terms online at any moment.

Since it’s free to use, there are limited options to edit or refine the information you can see. However, you can use the Graph Explorer tool to add your own search terms and analyse them by region, related terms and seasonal/time sensitive events.

Cost

Free – no sign up required

Use it for

  • Raising your business’ profile
  • Keeping up to date with popular topics
  • Developing a communications plan

Application

Discover what people are talking about and use this to help create content (social media posts/customer emails) that reacts to it.

Find out more.

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Charlie

Do you like to research people before you meet them but rarely have time?

The Charlie app searches through 100s of sources and automatically sends you a streamlined page of info on everyone you’re going to meet with, before you see them.

They estimate you can save 30+ minutes a day – or 57 Google searches – so you can turn up to meetings prepped with critical insights about your clients that have been delivered direct to your inbox.

Cost

Free – sign up required

Use it for

  • Meeting prep
  • Sales partner research
  • Supplier research

Application

Get the edge in business meetings by knowing everything about people before you arrive.

Find out more.

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Survey Monkey

Want a quick and easy way of getting feedback from your customers but aren’t sure where to start?

Survey Monkey is a quick and easy way to create online surveys and polls, which can be sent to your existing email list or a targeted SurveyMonkey Audience.

There are various packages, each offering different levels of data analysis and support. The free version allows you to create and send polls of up to 10 questions to 100 people, giving you the chance to test customer reactions. The paid versions integrate with other digital services like Eventbrite and MailChimp.

Cost

Free to £85 per month per user

Use it for

  • Discovering customer opinions
  • Discovering customer profiles
  • Data analysis
  • Email marketing

Application

Send surveys to customers after they’ve bought a product or engaged with your brand to gauge the general opinion.

Find out more.

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Facebook Audience Insights

Want to write and deliver social posts that people can’t ignore?

Facebook Audience Insights is designed to help marketing become more targeted by showing you insights about your audience.

You can aggregate information about location, demographics, purchase behaviour and more. This information is sourced from three locations; everyone on Facebook, connections to your page or event and a Custom Audience (i.e. existing customers).

Cost
Free – just log in with an existing Facebook account

Use it for

  • Discovering customer profiles
  • Keeping up to date with popular topics
  • Understanding customers’ needs and preferences

Application

Discovering specific information about target groups: age, gender, lifestyle, education, location, proximity to your store, how they like to shop (online/in physical store) – and using this to shape your marketing content.

Find out more.

Consumer-Barometer

Consumer Barometer

Ever wondered what makes people buy from websites and how you can use that information?

If you’re in ecommerce, then this hack is a must-have. Consumer Barometer will let you know what makes customers take the plunge and click purchase on websites.

By helping you understand how people use the internet, it provides global insights into how people shop, why they do what they do and who can be leveraged to boost your digital presence and impact.

Cost
Free –  no sign up required

Use it for

  • Understanding marketing channel usage/trends
  • Exploring customer journeys from awareness to purchase
  • Discovering specific details about your customers

Application

Discover how to identify fans of your brand online and build a digital connection with them through social media interaction or specially targeted offers on their device of choice.

Find out more.

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YouGov Profiles Lite

Want to know public opinion about an obscure or very specific subject?

YouGov Profiles Lite probably has a breakdown of… most things! You can search for any brand, person or thing and discover a segmented breakdown. Paid subscribers get access to a huge database of information that covers over 120,000 topics with replies from over 250,000 people.

A quick search will reveal a huge amount of useful data, including demographics, lifestyle, and favourite brands, to favourite TV shows, online usage and their favourite people to follow on Twitter and Facebook.

Cost

Free to paid (contact YouGov directly for prices)

Use it for

  • Keeping up to date with popular topics
  • Finding where your customers are
  • Performing competitor research
  • Discovering specific details about your customers

Application

Run a brand building exercise by checking what you already know about your business and work out what to add by performing competitor analysis.

Find out more.
Now you’ve discovered how to do customer research like a pro, stayed tuned for next month’s guide on how to develop a marketing strategy to make the most of your new data. Check below to find us on social media to see all of our latest content. To see how your business compares to 5,000 other UK businesses, visit our Ready Business Indicator here.