02 Sep Google Alerts: One of the Easiest Ways to Support Your Marketing
Ever thought about setting up Google Alerts so you know when people talk about you or your company? Sure, this can be helpful for crisis management, but it’s especially awesome for marketing.
What are Google Alerts?
It’s a very basic (but powerful!) way to find out what people are saying online. Enter names (of people or companies) and/or keywords, and Google will let you know when those things are mentioned online.
Obviously, this can get out of control, so you want to use alerts judiciously. Go too crazy, and the nonstop notifications will have you questioning your life choices. JK. Kind of.
How to set them up
It’s ridiculously easy to set up Google Alerts. Navigate to this page. Insert names and keywords into this box:
Sit back and see what you learn. This is not a passive experience though. Pay attention, because alerts can inform and improve your marketing.
How to use alerts to support your marketing
Listen to what people are saying about you
Start by setting up alerts for your name and your company name. The more (positive) mentions you get online, the better. If people are actively talking about you in a positive light, you have great brand awareness and probably a fabulous reputation. You get a whole sheet of gold stars. Seriously. Be proud!
Once you get into a rhythm with these alerts, set up new alerts for the topics you care about and the products and services you provide.
Topic alerts will give you an idea of what’s trending in your industry. This is such rich fodder for blog posts – especially when you cannot think of anything to write about. You can also cover trends briefly in your next email newsletter or promote service and products aligned with those trends.
Let’s say Pantone releases their new colors of the year – and you happen to design products in that hue. Perfect time to promote them! Or maybe you have been growing a wide variety of radishes for years at your farm, and suddenly radishes are showing up on every restaurant menu. Time to reach out to your local restaurants!
You can also use this information to create a new product or service. If you don’t design products in Pantone’s new color of the year, this is your opportunity. Or you only grow three out of the eight trendy new radish varieties, time to start planting.
So far, we’ve only talked about the positive. You could learn that people aren’t thrilled with you, your customer service or the quality of your products or services. Take some time to be upset, and then make a plan. Respond thoughtfully and professionally if possible. If not, use the feedback to study your operations and figure out how to make improvements.
Keep tabs on the competition
It’s always good to know what people are up to, especially if you’re competing for the same pool of clients. When you set up alerts for your competitors (pick the top three so you don’t overwhelm yourself), you can learn what they are talking about and what people are saying about them.
What they are talking about:
- Are they promoting certain services or products?
- Were they nominated for an award?
- Are they speaking at a conference?
- Did they just land a big client? (Hopefully it’s not one you are also pursuing!)
- Did they form a new partnership?
And how are people responding to the services, products and information they are sharing?
What people are sharing about them:
- Are people recommending them (and are they recommending you, too)?
- Are they getting raving, poor or middling reviews?
- Are people talking about their prices, service, quality – and what are they saying?
You might learn that they are not as successful as you thought. You might learn that they are falling apart – maybe you could approach them and buy out their client list? And you might learn that you are considered the very best (congrats!). Keep at it!
Follow potential clients or partners
Setting up Google Alerts for potential clients or partners (like, say, an influencer) is a very smart thing to do. If you couple Google Alerts with light stalking on social media, you’ll always know what they’re up to and you’ll be able to seamlessly slip into the conversation when appropriate.
Perhaps they ask a question on LinkedIn – you can answer it before anyone else. Maybe they’ll be at a conference you’re also attending – you can ensure you “bump into” them. Or maybe they wrote an inspiring article – share it on social and mention it in your next blog post. If they’re smart like you, they’ll have alerts set up for their name and will see your blog.
Because newsjack sounds so much like hijack, it might sound creepy or illegal at first. It’s not. Used wisely, it can be a huge marketing opportunity.
Remember when some of the stadium lights suddenly went out during the 2013 Super Bowl? (I can’t believe it was that long ago!) Oreo jumped on this immediately and tweeted:
Power out? No problem. pic.twitter.com/dnQ7pOgC
— OREO Cookie (@Oreo) February 4, 2013
I’d like to shake the hand of whoever was handling social media for Oreo at the time. Brilliant.
You don’t have to do something nearly as dramatic. Before a predicted heat wave arrives, remind people you have plenty of fans in stock. On the flip side, remind people to come to your store and stock up on shovels, ice scrapers and salt before a big snowstorm.
Ready to use Google Alerts?
Great! Get your alerts set up, and report back to me in three months. What did you learn? And how did that inform your marketing? Shoot me a note here.