The use of voice-enabled AI devices has exploded over the past few years. While still in its infancy and not yet widely used, voice marketing is shaping up to be an important part of a comprehensive marketing strategy for many major brands.
A number of household-name brands are now using voice marketing to sell their products. Major corporations such as Amazon, Walmart, Target, and Domino’s Pizza have already enabled voice ordering, with more brands to follow as time goes on.
People use voice assistants such as Amazon Alexa, Bixby by Samsung, Siri, and Google Assistant to help streamline their busy lives. For some users, voice marketing tools act as personal assistants that help automate some daily, repetitive tasks and reminders. Others use voice-enabled devices for spoken-word searches or for shopping.
As it grows in popularity and accessibility, voice marketing will become increasingly important for smaller businesses. If you want to stay ahead of the curve and learn the basic concepts behind marketing for voice, you’re in the right place.
Let’s jump into it.
What is Voice Marketing?
If you’ve ever uttered one or more of the phrases, “OK, Google,” “Hey, Siri,” or “Alexa…”, you’ve engaged in voice marketing.
- Voice-enabled speakers
- Mobile phones
- Smart watches
- Smart TVs
- Amazon Echo
- Google Home
Another important component of voice marketing is voice search optimization (VSO). VSO is the spoken-word version of SEO, and it relies on spoken language rather than text searches. Optimizing your content for VSO ensures users will be able to find your content through verbal search tools such as Google Voice Search.
There’s a learning curve when it comes to optimizing content for voice marketing. It requires marketers to be able to take the spoken word into account when developing and optimizing their content. If you want to make marketing for voice part of your business, you have to consider how users request information from their devices.
How Can Voice Marketing Help Grow Your Brand?
Right now, marketing for voice appears to be growing brands mostly through organic reach. Voice advertising on voice-enabled AI devices isn’t an open market just yet, so it may be some time before brands can invest in ads on voice platforms.
For some brands, voice marketing is mainly a matter of creating VSO-optimized content so products or services appear in voice search results. There may be certain niches that are in higher demand than others, depending on their audience’s buying habits.
Some tools such as Amazon Alexa are partnering with major brands to build skills and incorporate soft advertising into the medium. Major brands are creating Alexa skills that users can build, which incorporate those specific brands. Others are choosing one specific voice marketing platform to route spoken search users to their service.
One example of soft advertising via voice marketing is Jimmy Fallon’s partnership with Amazon Alexa. When a user requests a joke, Alexa “steps aside” for Jimmy to share a joke of his own. (My kids and I discovered this during their recent obsession with asking Alexa for jokes every day.) This was a discreet way of slipping in some promo for the Tonight Show, while simultaneously throwing some fun into the mix.
Marketers can build funnels based on voice marketing and the use of Alexa flash briefings. These are short audio bytes, usually two minutes long or less, deliver a bit of news, an update, or a brief insight for the day, on request. Users can compile their chosen flash briefings, then ask Alexa to play them when it’s convenient.
If you want to build your own voice marketing funnel using flash briefings, here’s an in-depth explanation of how to do so.
Voice Marketing Best Practices
When developing and implementing voice-enabled marketing for your brand, consider how people speak and what logical syntax their conversations follow. People aren’t going to voice-search the same way they search via text.
Voice marketing is an extension of conversational marketing, in that it relies on humanized interactions between the brand and the customer. Your content and search results should be intuitive, and should ideally anticipate the kinds of questions your target audience will be asking.
Should You Incorporate Voice Marketing Into Your Strategy?
Voice marketing isn’t yet a saturated space. For brands looking to incorporate voice-driven AI into their strategy, this can be a good or bad thing.
On the upside, your brand could (theoretically) corner the market in your niche if you jump into voice marketing sooner rather than later. The downside is that you might invest a lot of time and money into enabling your brand for voice search, only to find that the ROI isn’t there just yet.
You’ll also want to consider whether your target audience is a good fit for voice-search marketing. How likely are they to search for your products or services via voice? Make sure you consider your answer before you dive in.
One of the earliest adopters of voice marketing–at least, outside of major corporations–is indie author, entrepreneur, speaker, and podcaster Joanna Penn of The Creative Penn. As voice search began emerging as an important future component of marketing, Joanna immediately began incorporating information about it into her content to help other indie authors learn how to optimize their books for voice search.
This is especially important for authors who rely on Amazon for part or all of their publishing income. Because an increasing number of Amazon users are adopting Alexa technology and using it for searches and purchases, Joanna saw the necessity of learning–and teaching other authors–how to keep their books top-of-mind in light of this emerging trend.
Even if you don’t see an immediate ROI from voice marketing, it might still be worth starting–or, at the very least, keeping on your radar for the future. There’s no question that marketing for voice will continue becoming more prominent in the digital marketing landscape, so it’s not a bad idea to start early if you have the time and resources to do so now.
Are you interested in making voice marketing part of your overall brand strategy? What tools and tactics appeal most to you? We want to hear from you, so drop a comment below and let us know.
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