The most effective marketing tactics are often the ones that align with instinctive human behavior. I believe voice marketing has increased in importance because of an important human behavior: being lazy.
Humans are intrinsically lazy and wired to find the path of least resistance. This is why there’s a premium on products that have put convenience at the forefront of their marketing strategy. Seamless made it easy for you to get food delivered. Uber made it easy to get a taxi. Netflix made it easy for you to watch movies.
Now, combine the convenience of speaking, rather than typing, with the power of search to result in an extra valuable tool: voice search.
The effectiveness of voice marketing has improved due to the increase in usage of voice-enabled smart devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home. In fact, according to 2017 data by Pew Research Center, 46% of Americans have already used a voice assistant. Furthermore, according to Statista (subscription required), 82% of those who have used voice assistants have searched for information on things like news, weather, recipes or appointments, while 35% of users purchased products.
At JumpCrew, we help our clients use voice marketing to connect with potential customers who search for answers to their questions. We also help clients determine if Alexa skills should actually be built for a particular campaign. We have found that answering questions using search engine optimization (SEO) increases brand awareness because the searcher was not thinking about the brand when asking the question. We have also found that building an Alexa skill can help increase brand awareness and lead generation for brands aiming for those goals.
Ultimately, it’s important to take a holistic approach to voice marketing, as outlined below.
Brands need a two-pronged approach to voice strategy to win in 2019.
Brands need to evolve their voice strategy if they are going to win in 2019. In the past, companies rushed to build Alexa skills like moths to a flame because they were the shiny new objects to chase. However, building an Alexa skill just to build it is a waste of your clients’ money and time, and is “so 2018.”
To win in 2019 and beyond, you have to leverage SEO so that your website is the answer to questions on search engines. Build an Alexa skill only if it will add additional value to consumers and accomplish a business goal.
Here are the two things you need to do:
1. SEO: Targeting Google’s Answer Box
Google’s answer box helps power voice search on Google Home. SEO can and should be leveraged to rank in this space. Use keyword research to find the questions your potential customers are asking. A few tools to find keyword data include Google’s Keyword Planner, SEMrush, Conductor and Moz.
Next, create and optimize articles on your website to answer these questions. Structure them in a bulleted, table or list format so that they will easily be picked up and added to Google’s answer box.
Finally, use structured data. Google and other search engines have been pushing webmasters to use structured data to organize their content. Google helped develop Schema.org as a code base/vocabulary that allows brands to mark up their data and add more information so the search engine knows exactly what it’s looking at. Structured markup like this is one of the ways to make sure that the content can be read out loud and function on Google Home devices. Google offers a Structured Data Testing Tool to ensure your markup is correct.
2. Building An Alexa Skill
In my opinion, there is nothing special about building an Alexa skill. Alexa skills cost time, money and resources. But there are numerous platforms that allow you to build Alexa skills without coding, including PullString, Orbita and Storyline.
There are six steps in the Alexa skill development process:
• Ideation: First, you should brainstorm Alex skill ideas. Remember that skills can have multiple functions. The questions you find using keyword research should be used to help generate ideas.
• Conversation Design: Your goal should be crafting conversations that are natural and help the consumer get the most out of the skill.
• Test: Once you have designed the actual skill in the platform, you will need to test it in a controlled space to make sure it works.
• Deploy: Once the skill is fully tested, you’ll want to deploy it to Amazon’s marketplace so anyone can have access to the skill.
• Voice Analytics: The skill-building platforms allow you to get voice analytics data as the skill is being used. This allows you to optimize the skill based on how people are using it.
• Launch Campaign: You should always execute an awareness campaign to let people know you have launched a skill.
I believe voice marketing will increase in value as the adoption of voice-enabled devices increases. This is because it taps into human behaviors. Brands need to use SEO to target Google’s answer box because it powers voice search on Google Home. They also need to be thoughtful in building and promoting Alexa skills. Finally, to build an Alexa skill, you don’t need to spend a million dollars. Use these tips above to get it done.