Google Alerts is a free tool that can streamline your marketing research and increase your web site traffic. Although Google Alerts has been around a long time, it’s still one of the best ways to track what’s being said about any topic in the digital world.
How does it work?
It scans news, blogs, video, discussions, and books to find items that mention your topic. Then it delivers the results to you via email.
To set up an Alert, all you need is a Google account. It’s super easy, but if you’d like visual instructions, here’s a video on How to Set up a Google Alert.
Spy on Your Competition
You can use Google Alerts is to stay ‘in the know” about what your competition is doing. For instance:
- What positive or negative feedback have they received?
- How active are they in social media?
- Have they stumbled upon a new marketing ploy?
- What new links have they acquired?
All these things are important focus points when keeping up with your competition. Plus, they may give you new ideas for your marketing strategy.
Build Your Brand
Now that you know how to track your competition with Google Alerts don’t forget to keep track of your own business! This keeps you ‘in the know” about your online reputation (allowing you to respond quickly to both positive and negative mentions) and gives you expanded marketing opportunities.
Finding forums or blogs where your brand is being mentioned gives you the opportunity to join in on the conversation to enhance your brand recognition.
For example, when a blogger gives you a good review, thank them in the comments, and then write a quick post about it on your site. In that post, tell your visitors about all the good things they said about your brand, and include a link to the original post.
If the item that positively mentions your brand doesn’t actually link to you, send them an email thanking them for the mention, and ask them if they’d like to provide their readers with a link to your site.
Paying attention to negative mentions is important, too. For the most effective damage control, respond calmly with explanations, corrections and even apologies, if appropriate.
Find Great Content Ideas
Let’s say you run a bed & breakfast close to Yosemite National Park, and want to create great content about eco-tourism.
All you need to do is create an Alert with that term. Google then treats it as a keyword, performs a search, and sends you the latest results on a regular basis (once a day, once a week, or “as it happens”).
A great way to win new customers is by creating fresh, up-to-the-minute content that relates to recent happenings in your field. Google Alerts gives you a head start in this, because you always know what the hot topics are.
Content Your Audience Really Needs:
Following the latest buzz related to your business’ keywords helps you get to know your target audience better: their wants and needs, their likes and dislikes, and what they passionately desire. Armed with this knowledge, you can create content that really speaks to them and answers their needs.
That’s exactly the kind of content you want. It inspires your visitors to share the content with their friends, and to come back to your site in the future.
Give it a Whirl
So head on over to your Google account and create your first Alert.
It only takes a couple of minutes to set up. It’s fast, it’s free, and it brings you a wealth of information that can help you grow your business.