Wouldn’t it be nice if you could receive an email whenever Google finds out something new about you? Or when your competitor makes the news? Or there is a news story developing that affects your business? Or a customer is blogging about your product? One option would be to go to Google and do a search for these things. But that is just another task that you need to put on your calendar to get done. You could have your assistant monitor that for you, but you know that your assistant has better things to do than perform web searches for you and this method doesn’t guarantee that something won’t be missed.
There is an answer!
Google Alerts is one of my favorite tools! I have been using it for years to keep track of things I care about. Here are some of the words I monitor:
- “Steve Gasser” or “Stephen Gasser” This tells me whenever my name shows up on the Internet. It is amazing how many Steve Gasser’s are on the Internet.
- “Pignon Haiti” I was on a mission trip to Pignon, Haiti in 2007. I like to stay on top of the current news there.
- “China International Adoption” Whenever China makes the news for adoption, I like to know about it.
- Competitor names from around the country. This helps me stay on top of what others in my industry are doing.
- “vimm.com” I also like to know whenever my website address shows up on someones website. This will give me an email when someone else references my website.
- “Vivid Image” This will give me a ‘heads up’ when my company name shows up online.
I get an email once a day on one of these keywords or phrases – but you can select how often you receive the emails.
ONE ACTION ITEM: Do this now! Don’t wait! Go to www.google.com/alerts and create an alert for your business name or your personal name. Here are some tips. 1) When you put in your search terms consider putting them in quotes. ie: “Hutchinson MN” If I just said, Hutchinson MN, it would pull results with Hutchinson OR MN in the results. By using the quotes, it is looking for “Hutchinson MN” together. 2) Start with a Comprehensive search. 3) I like to get emails once a day if there is news 4) Add the email address you would like to use to receive the alerts.
Other Possibilities and Inspiration
- If you own an electronics store, use it monitor problems or praise on the latest plasma TV. That way your sales people are better educated than your customer who has spend the last several days researching their new TV.
- If you are an accountant, use it to monitor the latest news on tax laws or particular ‘grey’ areas.
- Teachers can use it to find inspiration on new techniques to teach math to their students.
- A restaurateur can monitor the ‘talk on the streets’ about her/his competitor so they can capitalize on the problems and turn them into opportunities.
- A real estate agent can use it to monitor when people post comments about moving to or out of a particular city.
- Monitor the latest news on cancer treatments so you are the first to get the latest findings.
- Get an instant notification when your local politician is quoted on a blog or forum.
What other ideas do you have? Leave a comment below.