If you could buy only one tool for your small business marketing toolkit that single tool should be Google Alerts. The good news is – Google Alerts is free. You will need to set up a gmail account, but that is also free. On a macro level, you should have Google Alerts set up for the vertical markets or industries that you serve. You may also want to add a geographic component to that such as “Austin nonprofit” or “Minneapolis QSR.”
On a micro level, I recommend setting up a Google Alert for customers and prospects (both the company name and the individual contact name). I wrote about Google Alerts for customers here. By having your prospects on Google Alerts, not only does it educate you on what is going on with the individual (promotions, awards, certifications), but it gives you intelligence on the company. It also gives you a warm and friendly reason to stay in touch with your prospects and may give you that slight competitive edge.
Finally, set up a Google Alert on your name and your company name. If you do not receive alerts on either during the course of a week, it’s a sign that you need to tend to your online presence.
Small Business Marketing Toolkit Pt 1 Website Grader
Small Business Marketing Toolkit Pt 2 Short Sweet Blog Content