Image via Wikipedia
Tommy Lee gets it once a day.
He has his on/off lover and former wife Pamela Anderson on Google Alerts, so he can ask her about stories that break online, even before she’s aware of it!
Google Alerts are “emails automatically sent to you when there are new Google results for your search terms.” Alerts can be sent once a day, as-it-happens or once a week. You can get alerts on topics, names or search terms that show up in the news, on blogs, on websites, in videos, or in Google discussion Groups. If you chose the Comprehensive option, it will consolidate the results found in the news, blogs and websites. You can get it as an HTML email or text email and can create up to 1000 alerts. BTW, this is delivered to your in-basket for FREE!
With all the emails and other information coming at you via SMS, IM, Twitters, Facebook updates, Plurks, and RSS feeds, I’m sure you’re wondering why someone would knowingly add yet another information source. There are many reasons to set up an alert but below are the three main ones:
1. Catholic Guilt
You Google yourself but are too embarrassed to admit it. I don’t think the Vatican knows what Googling means but trust me, you won’t go blind doing it…unless you try to do it in the dark. Seriously, many individuals and businesses need to monitor what is said about them for a variety of reasons: personal and corporate brand management, compliance, consumer feedback and chatter, identify theft, or market research for example. Financial advisers for example should be reporting every instance of their name appearing online…whether they were the providers of the content or not. Better safe than penalized!
2. Competitive Intelligence
You can track trends, competitors and industries. Let’s say you’re a fence manufacturer. A Google Alert on eco-friendly fencing would have told you that TimberWolf now has complete fence kits available at certain Lowe’s stores. An alert on Trex (a competitor) would have shown that some people feel that Trex is less suitable for vertical applications like rails and fences. An alert on Fence, Deck & Rail products (FDR) would have told you the minute a study on this industry was released. You would know that the market for FDR is “likely to continue to correct downward into 2008, but should begin to pick back up thereafter.”
This is good information that can be used as part of your marketing, sales and web strategy.Would you rather let Google do the searching for you 24/7 or do it yourself? What if…gasp…your buyer actually told you about some competitive activity that affected the buyer and your company? This is one tool that can help you with that.
You can watch for new videos on a particular topic of interest, like
If you are working with a client you can use alerts to research their customers, their competitors and their competitor’s customers. If you’re a celebrity stalker, you can get the news as you make it happen!
Need to keep up with those old-school suspender wearing, cigar-chomping, name-dropping big boys in the ivory towers that say things like “Hey did you catch the game yesterday? Boy was <insert name of sports celebrity that you could care less about here> sure <insert appropriate expletive(s) here> on the <insert appropriate playing surface here> eh?“Get a leg up on the old fart by using technology!
Now that you know what Google Alerts is and three main reasons to use it (four if you consider tracking info on Pamela Anderson), can you think of a particular use for Google Alerts in your personal or corporate life? Have you had much success with it in the past? How would it fit into your own marketing, sales and web strategy?