“Google Alerts” is one of the most powerful tools on the internet to stay on top of the information you need.

It  is a system that searches the Web, news sources, blogs, video sites and groups for new information related to any search term that you specify. Then, as the name suggests, this free tool “alerts” you via an automated email about new results.

Whether you are..

  • just starting out and want more information about the VA industry or
  • a savvy VA and want information to keep up to date with your clients or your competition,

Google Alerts can be your own personal research assistant to find the info you need and best of all….,

It’s free and really simple to set up.

Below are also 5 ideas how to use Google Alerts for yourself and your business.

Set up Alerts to …

  1. Find out what people are saying about your niche/industry: Receive updates on what is going on in the VA industry or your specific niche. For example if you create alerts for  key terms such as “Virtual Assistant”, “Becoming a Virtual Assistant”,  “Starting a Virtual Assistant business” etc, you will receive specific updates on  those specific terms, which can help you to
    • Understand and get more knowledge on the industry,
    • Get content ideas  for your own blog
    • Stay on top of news in your industry
    • Be notified of new developments and upcoming products
    • Discover new business related tools that you can use
  2. Find out what people are saying about You: You can set alerts for your own name, your business name, your website and/or your blog (eg without the www).  This can help you to
    • See what people are saying about you and your business
    • Use the info to follow up, send a thank you note or address an issue or a complain when it’s mentioned on another site
    • See if people are linking back to your blog or website
  3. Find out what people are saying about your competitors: Create alerts for your competitors’ business names or their websites. This can help you to
    • Stay informed of changes and trends in your niche that impact on your competitors and on you
    • Know about new products/services that they offer
    • Know who is talking about your competition.
    • Know where they get there back links from – to help you with your own website linking strategy
    • Ultimately helps you with fine-tuning your marketing strategy
  4. Wow your clients: Set up alerts for your clients’ name and business. This can help to
    • Impress your present clients if you are up to date with what is going on in their business and industry
    • Send them a note of congratulations if they had huge media coverage
    • Catch a negative mention about your client or their brand and offer ways to remedy the issue before they even know it existed.
    • Keep in touch with old clients. Use an important news mention as a great reason to catch up with them. It can perhaps lead to repeat business.
  5. Find new work opportunities. Set up alerts for jobs you’re interested in. For example a key term such as “virtual assistant odesk” will give you all the latest results of job requests posted on Odesk for the services of a virtual assistant.

Using Google alerts will have you tracking down anything you can think of in no time.

Try it out in your Virtual Assistant business to see what works best for you and please tell us below how you use this little research assistant to benefit your business.