Now that I have been using Google Alerts for a year or so, I reflect on life before Google Alerts and conclude that I was thrashing in the dark. I use Google Alerts for my business and as a way to be more effective for my clients. It’s a marketing person’s best friend. It’s amazing how much you can learn with regular browsing through the Google Alerts you have set up.
So what I do is set up a Google Alert for each vertical, niche and the key words my customers are interested in. There may be a geographic component to the alert, for example, “Nonprofit Austin” or “ERP Latin America.” There may be a product or service component to the alert, for example “MAS 500 Albuquerque” or “Blackbaud Raiser’s Edge customization.”
Then every morning, early in the morning, I skim through all the results. What is the benefit?
- Shows You Who is Active in that Space – I am on alert for who is regularly showing up in these alerts. I could be a known competitor or an unknown competitor. In the case of an unknown competitor, I discuss their appearance with my customers. Conversely, if the alert is not bringing back information on a regular basis, it indicates an opportunity to seize the space.
- Shows You the Quality (or lack thereof) in the Content in that Space – this is highly educational. If there is someone who is bringing their A game to the space, drill down, pay attention, read carefully and learn. More often, and this is good news, there is a lot of garbage in the space. This is a red flag for me indicating an area where my customer can enter the space and shine. Obviously people are searching on these terms and there are those trying to take advantage of that interest – I can identify a segment where my customer can outperform and raise the bar on quality of content.
- Are YOU Showing Up in the Space? – Today one of my customers had cause for celebration as a press release we distributed today garnered mentions in key online sites and placed them and the link into some of the Google Alerts we had set up. So seeing how your blog posts, your tweets, your articles and your website are doing with regard to particular set of key words is helpful in knowing how effectively you are cutting through the clutter, surpassing competitors and getting in front of the right prospects.
- Might Give Some Guidance on Where to Focus First – As you may have already concluded from the tips above, Alerts can be very helpful in setting your priorities. Whenever I can get a customer to abandon the notion of casting the strategic marketing net wide and instead focus on a beach head that can be more readily captured – it’s a victory. Google Alerts gives me the confidence and data to make the recommendations on where the greatest gains or the more ripe opportunity lay. No one has unlimited marketing dollars and to be able to more intelligently select the battles leads to greater success.
So make Google Alerts a part of your regimen. Take the time to set them up. Make the commitment to review them daily. And please, if you have a tip, or you utilize one of these tips and experience success, please share with us in the comments. Good luck!
Google Alerts for Beginners Part 1 – Customers