If you’re not using Google Alerts in multiple ways, you’re missing the boat. A Google Alert is a daily email that Google will send you for any term or phrase that you provide. The email contains a link to the web page(s) that mentioned your term or phrase and a short blurb. It takes just seconds to set up and it's free!
By far, the most important Google Alerts to set up are for you, your company, brand name, product name and/or any key employees. This way you'll be "pushed' information immediately when someone is talking about you or your company on the web and, if necessary, be able to respond quickly. Domino's Pizza learned this lesson the hard way when it did not promptly respond to an unfavorable YouTube video made by some employees who were making a special type of pizza (use your imagination).
You should also set up Google Alerts for your main competitors and best customers. I'm sure you can see the value of knowing if your competition is rolling out a new product or is closing its doors. Likewise, wouldn't you like be one of the first to send a congratulatory email to one of your top customers when they win an award or achieve some other success? And, of course, if a customer is having financial difficulty, then you're going to want to know that information as soon as possible. Google Alerts allows you to accomplish all of these things.
Finally, I recommend setting up Google Alerts for key terms and phrases in your industry. In this way, you will be updated on industry news and get good content to write about in your blog, newsletter or elsewhere.
Matthew Weiss is an admitted business learning junkie. He reads only business books and magazines (well almost only) and attends dozens of business workshops, keynotes and panel discussions each year. In this blog, he provides quality, take-home value from "all of the above" and shares his personal thoughts and experiences. Weiss is a New York traffic lawyer and sole owner of Weiss & Associates, PC, a boutique law firm specializing in vehicle and traffic matters throughout New York State. He is also the former Global Learning Chair for the Entrepreneurs' Organization. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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