In an effort to show, rather than tell, I’m putting forth my personal Top 10 Marketing Tools in a series. I asked the Oregon Entrepreneurs Network’s marketing committee to send me a list of their top 10 tools, and will be posting about them over on the OEN Blog.
(It’s spring break, so I haven’t seen any of them yet… So here’s my second in the series, to inspire action when they return:)
Tool #2: A Smart Search Engine
I have to admit, I’ve used Google for traditional searces for years. But when I went out on my own, I discovered that a roving worklife meant I was never sure I would be at the same computer all day. I’ve long been a fan of SaaS technology (software as a service - where you go online and login to manage information) and iGoogle, the personal Google service, has saved my bacon many times.
They’ll tell you - when you type in “what is igoogle” to your google tool bar in your browser - which is fantastic in and of itself - that:
Google offers the ability to create a personalized iGoogle page that gives you at-a-glance access to key information from Google and across the web.
- Your latest Gmail messages
- Headlines from Google News and other top news sources
- Weather forecasts, stock quotes, and movie showtimes
- Bookmarks for quick access to your favorite sites from any computer
- Your own section with content you find from across the web
I don’t use it as a personal “portal” to all things online. I use it because:
- It gives me access to Google Docs and Spreadsheets, where I can set up living documents to capture and share notes, track action items and collaborate in meetings with clients. No matter where we are, we’re quite literally all on the same page.
- I used to be on a Dell with Outlook and a Blackberry, and could never get my calendar to synch with my PDA. (A great lead-in to Chapter 3) I kept my calendar online in Google’s calendar application, and while I wasn’t able to view my calendar (again, I’m not technical or patient enough to set it up correctly) from my blackberry, I could get to it from any computer connected to the internet. (A great selling point for SaaS) And, it would send alerts to my blackberry, which helped me get to meetings on time.
Beyond iGoogle (back to just plain Google for a bit), I use Google as a spelling tool and a dictionary. It goes like this:
You can’t get a fast read on whether you’re spelling a word correctly or not than to type it into your Google toolbar - take one of most commonly misspelled words - accomodate. If you’re unsure, in a flash you’ll know,
“Did you mean: accommodate?”
(While you’re at it, check out the results around the spelling correction in Google - you might see some smart search engine marketers trying to capture common misspellings for their clients.)
I use Google to quickly find sources for quotations - who knew John Heywood wrote: “Many hands make light work…” You can also find complete song lyrics in the same way.
But there are cooler things :
- like putting your UPS tracking number into Google to find out where your package is
- putting your flight number into Google to find out where the plane is…
- figuring out who called you by knowing where the 541 area code comes from… instantly
- …and don’t even get me started on Google maps - it’s the greatest thing for those of us who used to have to rely on CitySearch to find restaurant phone numbers… thank goodness for Google.
…those are the quick timesavers that make Google one of the Top 10 Marketing Tools I use.