Beyond Google: How to Find Your Prospects Online (Part 2)

Beyond Google: How to Find Your Prospects Online (Part 2)
Michele Linn - Wed May 20, 2009 @ 02:04AM
Comments: 53

Last week, I started discussing how to find your prospects online. To quickly recap:

  • Identify keywords that are relevant to your audience, including title, industry, your product/service name, competitors and key influencers (analysts, authors, speakers, etc).
  • Start searching. Last week I covered how to find which forums, LinkedIn groups and blogs your prospects are participating in.

How to find prospects onlineThis week, we'll look at additional places where your prospects may be looking for information: publications and associations. Then we'll finish by talking about searching your competitors' websites and Twitter to find additional places your prospects may be hanging out.

Publications

Your prospects likely read a handful of publications. Like blogs and forums, it is worthwhile to follow these publications so you can understand what issues are hot. However, when looking at publications, keep your eyes open for two more things.

  • Editorial calendar: I always check out the editorial calendar to see what topics the publication will cover. If there is a topic that is relevant, consider pitching an article. Every publication has its own criteria it is looking for, but, in general, they look for articles that are educational and focused on current trends (i.e. not promotional).
  • Authors and journalists in your niche: The second thing you want to pay attention to when looking at publications is which journalists are writing about your niche. Connecting with these key individuals (commenting on their articles, following them on Twitter, etc) can be really useful.

How to find: There are a few ways I find publications that may be of interest to my prospects:

  • Run a search of authors and influencers on Google, and you'll likely discover places where they have been published, which will lead you to more publications to check out.
  • Search for publications that cover specific fields (e.g. IT or marketing) and industries (e.g. consulting or health care). Your prospects likely read both types.
  • Set up Google alerts on your keywords. I think this helpful for a number of reasons, but one of my favorites is that it often provides me with publications (and blogs) that I may not have considered.

Associations

Are there any associations where your prospects congregate? Consider becoming a member (or having one of you subject matter experts do so). In addition, associations often publish newsletters and have speaking opportunities, which can be fantastic ways to promote your message.

How to find: For this, it's best to ask your prospects, but a Google search can also provide some new ideas (I know this article discusses ways beyond Google to find your prospects, but this really is the best way I have found).

Competitor's website

As I am sure you have done, it's good to check out the websites of your competitors to find out what they writing about and where they are being published. However, keep in mind that they may be working from the same set of assumptions as you are, so while it can be interesting to see what they are doing, it does not mean they are doing the right thing. This may sound obvious, but it's quite common to think, "Oh, my competitor is doing this so we should, too."

Where to look: Here are the places of a competitor's website that I key into:

  • Look at all of the product/service pages that are relevant to your space; there may be good stats and embedded links.
  • Find the "resource" section where they list white papers, webcasts and other materials.
  • Check out the press room where they list their recent articles; this can provide some good ideas of publications you can look at and/or journalists to follow.

Twitter

I'm a relatively new convert to Twitter, and I'm hooked. Now when I am searching for info, I routinely use Twitter to get a quick pulse on what is being discussed. It's amazing how many new blogs, publications and influencers I have come across. And, like everything else discussed, it's fantastic to be able to monitor conversations.

Where to look: There are LOTS of ways to use Twitter, but here are the two ways I typically search for information:

  • Twitter Search: This is great for one-off searches and for users who don't have a Twitter account (anyone can use Twitter Search).
  • TweetDeck: For the keywords I monitor daily, I use TweetDeck (my favorite Twitter application).

There are so many ways to find your prospects online beyond this list, but this is how I typically get started. How do you find your prospects are online? Are there any tips you can share?

Read more Savvy B2B posts from Michele.

Comments: 53

Comments

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