As a business owner, one of the most important pieces of information you can know is what people are saying about you. This is particularly true in the online realm. It’s bad enough when a single dissatisfied or unhappy customer complains about your business or service to their friends and co-workers. But it’s many times worse when that person takes to the internet and blogs about a bad experience they had with your company.
If you knew about that complaint you could probably take steps to fix whatever problems exist. You could change that person from a dissatisfied complainer into someone who might rave about your attentive customer service and your business’ desire to make things right.
What Are Google Alerts?
Google Alerts can help by delivering this type of information to your inbox automatically. It saves you precious time. No more scouring the internet for hearsay.
Google Alerts is a free service that continuously monitors the internet for specified keywords and terms. When it finds a web page that contains those words, it sends you an email notice.
Step One – Go to www.google.co.uk/alerts to set up your alerts. The first box on the page asks for the search terms you’re interested in. Do as you would do with a standard web search through Google.com. If you want to search for exact phrases, use quotation marks.
As a minimum, set up alerts for your business name. Consider adding any common abbreviations or other names that your business is known by. Also set up an alert for your personal name. For example, Joe Smith.
Step Two – Choose your medium. Next you’ll be asked to decide what types of internet items you want Google Alerts to monitor. Your choices are: “Everything”, “News”, “Blogs”, “Videos”, “Discussions” & “Books”. Unless you have a good reason to be looking at only one type of information stream, select “Everything.”
Step Three – Select the frequency. You’ll then need to decide how often to receive your alerts. Your choices are: “As it happens”, “Once a day” & “Once a week “.
If the terms you’re monitoring are very specific or unusual, you can probably choose “As it happens.” Otherwise consider “Once a day” or “Once a week”. This will ensure your inbox isn’t overwhelmed with notifications.
Keep in mind that once your alerts are set up you can always go back and refine them. You may find you’re receiving too much or too little information from the service. You may also want to add or delete search terms.
The most effective way to use Google Alerts is to be active. When you learn more about what your customers are saying, you can change or add Google Alerts to make sure you’re getting as much customer feedback and discussion as possible.