16 Aug Learning how far your message reaches by Googling yourself
CHICAGO—If you buy into the concept that any ink is good ink and if you believe that name and brand recognition is the first step to sales, then it’s worth a couple minutes a month to Google yourself.
I have a huge media department. It’s almost an entire hanging file folder in my office and an electronic folder on my hard drive. Unfortunately, both contain only what I wrote and said. They don’t contain what people heard or where they heard it.
Consumer products companies and even larger business-to-business companies have the luxury of budgets to measure brand recognition, attributes and reach.
Most of the rest of us don’t have that kind of money. If we did, we’d be spending it on better software, another color printer or some other form of business operations improvement (or we’d be in Europe). You can create a surrogate of sorts by periodically Googling yourself – or specifically, your spokesperson’s name, your product name and your business name.
Particularly if you’re a new business or you’re actively marketing through events, articles and other public platforms, Googling can give you a sense of how far your message is going and the perceived value of what you’re saying to the audiences who are picking it up.
When combined with anomalies in your Web traffic (as an example), Googling can also give you a sense of whether you’re successfully driving your marketing program (especially when you have a long sales cycle and little interactive feedback from prospects).
Want a couple examples?
You write an article for a daily trade publication. A week later, you inexplicably get a huge traffic spike on your site. You Google your article headline and find out that an association you’ve never heard of is now posting your article for its members and commenting on its insight and value.
They’ve also clicked through to learn more about your products or company.
You now have a soft introduction—a third-party recommendation of sorts—to an organization for follow up. They probably have meetings, newsletters and places for you to write. They probably have speaking opportunities and can provide demonstrations, too.
If this group thinks enough about what you have said or written, you have a far more likely shot at selling them your product than a “cold” approach to someone else (provided, or course, that the group is within your intended target audience).
Even if it’s not the right audience, that’s good information. It tells you that you may not be on the mark. If the Ladies Tea Society is touting your new tech clothing line and you were shooting for nuclear scientists, you’re probably a little off.
In the same vein, Googling your competitor’s name, executive name and product name can tell you who’s interested in your product category. If your product is newer, faster, better or cheaper, this is a natural target for you to call to say so.
You noticed in Nano News that they quoted Competitor A. You were just calling to agree that while its product is nice, the reporter may be interested to know that nine out of 10 customers favor your product.
You’d be pleased to come out and give the reporter a demonstration, invite him or her in to see it or have the person log into your secure customer site to try it and then have your senior executive available to answer questions.
Sometimes people get articles in publications because they offered to write one. Seriously. They picked up the phone or wrote an e-mail demonstrating that they had something credible, interesting and topical to say to the publication’s readership and the editor gave a deadline and a target word count on the spot.
The publication itself represents a target list you might consider purchasing. There may be an entire market segment you hadn’t considered.
The publication may be starving for articles and have an attractive editorial calendar that coincides with your marketing and sales cycle. Maybe the Ladies Tea Society has money, is willing to spend it today and could be the unexpected incremental revenue that gets you through a cash crunch.
Googling yourself can also help protect your brand reputation. It can identify Web sites that have linked to you with which you might not prefer to be affiliated. If they’re linking to you on something else beside your homepage, you have legal grounds to insist that they remove the link (it’s a copyright issue).
I wrote an article earlier this year in 30,000-foot detail about marketing legal rights and trademark issues. Googling can tip you off that someone’s using your business or product name without your permission.
Finally, on a phenomenally bad day (and you know we all have them), you can Google and remember that you had six links come back from a year ago and now you have 30. So long as they are within your target market, you know your message is getting through (awareness) and you need to focus on interest, decision and/or action (AIDA).
While you can’t deposit that and pay invoices with it, it does give you someone to call, canvass or visit to ask why members from that group haven’t pursued more information. Even that can help you change your plans to make you more effective.
Cheryl Gidley is a former GE Capital executive and was the first chief marketing officer for the 650-attorney firm of Katten Muchin Zavis Rosenman. Currently, she is a managing partner at Gidley Consulting. Gidley can be reached at email@example.com.
This article has been syndicated on the Wisconsin Technology Network courtesy of ePrairie, a user-driven business and technology news community distributed via the Web, the wireless Web and free daily e-mail newsletters.