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I continue to be surprised by how little agency staff — especially producers — use Google Alerts.
Using Google Alerts is like having a personal virtual research assistant spending 100% of their time searching the web to find news, comments, and articles based on keywords and phrases you select. The advantage of this personal assistant is that it doesn’t get tired, nor does it forget to do a search.
And, this service will not cost you anything because it is provided for free by the world’s most popular search engine — Google (hence the name!).
I use Google Alerts regularly to scour the web, looking for information that’s of interest to me. As you can see in the accompanying screenshot, I have many search phrases. Google Alerts constantly monitors the web for new instances of your search terms. It then sends a daily email recap of the most important items for my review.
Setting up and using Google Alerts is easy.
- Just log into your Google Account and select “Alerts” from the list of Google products available. Alternatively, you can go to http://www.google.com/alerts.
- Create a new alert by merely typing in the search terms and/or phrases that you want Alerts to find.
- The full power of Google’s search options is available to you in Alerts. Be sure to review all the search options available to narrow your search to just the information you are interested in receiving.
- You do have the option of choosing the frequency (weekly or daily) of emails you receive with the search results. All of my Alert results emails are sent to me daily. You can then use Outlook Rules to automatically move those emails to a folder for review later.
- Google Alerts remembers which links were previously sent. This means that once you see an item listed in an email, you will not see it again unless the information has changed within that particular article.
There are several uses for Google Alerts within an insurance agency. Here are a few suggestions:
- Create an Alert with your agency name (s). Tracking when your agency appears on the web can help you protect your agency brand. This allows you to find out when your agency is mentioned on the internet. This can be especially important to be alerted to any negative comments that might appear.
- Create an Alert with the names of individuals and/or companies that are your current clients. This allows you to track automatically and monitor any information about existing clients. For example, you could find out when an existing customer has won an industry award. This would be an excellent opportunity to engage with your client and congratulate them.
- Create an Alert for topics for which you have an interest. This could be particular industries where you have a market focus or issues affecting your clients. In the list of alerts I have created, you will notice several around “machine learning” and “machine teaching.” This is a topic I am interested in because of the implications for the insurance industry.
- Create an Alert for insurance companies you represent. Who knows what interesting and helpful information you might discover.
- Create an Alert for vendors with which you have a relationship.
If you been using Google Alerts for a while, hopefully, this is a reminder to revisit your Alerts and update them as necessary. If you are brand new to Google Alerts, I hope I’ve given you some good reasons to explore this service to see how it can streamline your ability to keep up-to-date on a variety of topics.
Google Alerts is a core tool that allows me to keep automatically up-to-date on a variety of subjects.
How have you used Google alerts effectively? Please share your tips and tricks in the comments.