When you think of Google Alerts you probably think of the periodic emails that show up in your inbox when your company, your name, or your product has shown up in the press – but online alerts can be used for so much more than that.
Your online presence has two distinct roles to play – the first is to be a digital version of your brick-and-mortar company, the second is to help build relationships with your current and future customers. And you can be creative in the way you use alerts to help you with the latter.
While it would be nice if your customers spent all their time online looking at your website and purchasing your products, that’s probably not the case. They are searching, reading reviews and blogs, and interacting on forums. And you can use all of those searches and sites to your advantage. By creating alerts for common phrases and questions that could be a natural ‘conversation starter’ with a customer, then respond on the forum or blog that triggered the alert.
The use of the phrase ‘conversation starter’ was no accident. Simply responding ‘if you are looking for a business that does this – check out our website’ will not win over many readers. You need to engage.
SmallBizTrends recommends that you “comment, and more importantly, provide value. … Provide something substantive that shows you genuinely are interested in giving to the community rather than only taking from it.” That might mean offering a few free tips and tricks in comments and forums to build up trust. That trust could lead to dedicated future customers or referrers.
While Google Alerts is probably the best known service, there are others like Mention which can often provide more results from blogs and smaller, non-news sites that are worth investigating.
Those alerts can help you get a better read on your customers and on your competitors as well. Setting up alerts for your competitors will let you know not only what they are up to, but how they are selling it.
Check out their social media and set up key alerts to get a glimpse into their promotional activity. Getting a sense of their marketing tactics can help you see the choices your customers have before them and could give you an idea for a new way to market to them.
This doesn’t need to be something you do on an ongoing basis, but a regular check in can help you stay ahead of the game. You can not only clone their best ideas, you can improve them.
While using alerts for staying on top of your own news is helpful, it’s merely the tip of the mentions iceberg.
If you would like assistance on how to use Google Alerts, please contact us at www.BuddinghAssociates.com.
Pepper Erdmann is a Marketing Manager at Buddingh & Associates, Inc., an award-winning strategic marketing consulting firm in Naperville, IL. Contact her at (630) 961-4504 or visit www.BuddinghAssociates.com.