Our past, present, and future customers are talking about our businesses and/or our industries in some way or another. Past customers might be giving you a referral or listing you as a resource, present customers may be keeping track of what you’re doing via social media, and future customers may be performing searches right now for the same products and services you offer.
So we can agree, there is a conversation going on about your industry, and hopefully your business, at any given time.
With all this talking going on, are you listening? Are you keeping track of what’s being said and searched? Are you joining in the conversation, either directly or indirectly?
How to Use Google Alerts to Listen to Your Industry (and your customers)
Your customers are talking, but are you listening? Don’t worry, Google Alerts is listening for you.
Google Alerts is one of those tools that the
- majority of us have heard of,
- many of us are using,
- some of us are pretty good at using, but
- not enough of us are using like we should be.
Google knows exactly what’s being said about your industry, your company, and your competitors. So pay attention! Set up Google Alerts to keep track of your company, your name, your industry and your competitors.
I already set up my Google Alerts, I’m done.
Whoa, not so fast! Google Alerts is not a set-it-and-forget-it tool. Why not? As your business changes, so will your need for information, such as
Industry developments. Key terminology and new developments in your industry are bound to occur, so you’ll need to make sure your alerts reflect these changes.
Competition. As your business grows, you will generate more income, which will continue to change your position in your market. Which means your true competitors may change as well. In addition, keeping up with competitors that are entering or exiting your market should be of value as you build a strategic plan to capture market share.
Drama. Let’s not forget this reason to keep your alerts current – scandals and drama. If your industry has some strange happenings, or some crazy breaking news, you may want to set up alerts to capture those conversations. Your alerts might just show you a new opportunity for your business!
I was going to list all the different alerts you should set up. Fortunately, as I was writing this post, I read a tweet from Stephanie Chandler that pointed to one of her articles all about Google Alerts.
It was a great article, so I thought to myself, why reinvent the wheel? Here’s the article – 10 Ways to Use Google Alerts for Business and Social Media (Plus Bonus Tips to Improve Search Results) – and it‘s comprehensive. If you’re an expert at using Google Alerts, then you’re probably familiar with everything outlined in this article. However, if your strategy could be more effective, read her article.
How to get started.
Between my post and Stephanie’s article, you can probably tweak your Google Alerts strategy to make it more efficient and functional.
First, outline the ways Google Alerts can benefit your business and set up your alerts.
Next, set up your Google Alerts at http://www.google.com/alerts.
Then, set up a specific email folder(s) for your alerts. Or you can set up a specific email address just to receive those alerts. The point is to make sure you have these alerts in an organized place so you can look for patterns, read them together, and make decisions based on what you find. Don’t let them sit idle in your cluttered inbox.
Now you’ve turned up the volume on all the web searches and conversations that are relevant for you and your business. Be sure to take a few minutes each quarter to make sure all your Google Alerts are still working, and that they’re still relevant. Remember my don’t set-it-and-forget-it speech earlier?
Your peers and customers are talking whether you’re listening or not, so why not listen in the easy way?