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Amazon’s Alexa is a popular piece of technology in the homes of many North Americans. Today, 16% of all Americans own a smart speaker, with 11% preferring the Amazon Alexa, but do you know how to incorporate Alexa skill development into your business?

While there is a current spotlight on all the cool things that an Alexa can do in your home (set a timer, pick a song, settle an argument with your spouse), there are also exciting things Alexa can do for your start-up.

How to Use Alexa for Business

Alexa is also helping businesses, particularly startups, to enhance their daily operations, collect early feedback, and deliver next-level customer service. Before we look at how an Amazon Alexa Skill could help your potential customers, let’s look at two main ways you can use this tool in your day-to-day operations.

  1. As a Shared Device

In the office as a shared device, Alexa can be used to save time by doing the following:

  • Begin conferences through audio commands by making use of a meeting room assistant
  • Ask for directions to your next pitch
  • Report a tech problem for one of your new tools or platforms
  • Order new equipment
  • Control your work environment without getting up from your desk (turn on lights, etc.)
  • Report issues to your own internal IT department
  1. As a Virtual Personal Assistant

In the office as a personal assistant, Alexa can be used to do the following:

  • Search for information or files
  • Manage to-do lists and set reminders 
  • Link corporate calendars to Alexa for Business, integrating with Office 365, Microsoft Exchange, and Google G-Suite calendars.

How to Use Alexa Skill Development to Drive Your Start-up Forward

Alexa Skills are like smartphone apps. They are created by developers from third-party companies. Some skills work entirely on their own, while others use Alexa to interact with something else, such as an online service like Spotify, or a smart home product like a Roomba vacuum. 

Perfect for startups, Amazon has made it easy to create your own Alexa skill. The system, which is called Alexa Blueprints, gives users the chance to build an Alexa skill without understanding the behind-the-scenes coding. By the end of 2018, there were over 70,000 skills available from the Alexa Skills Store and other third-party developers.

Of more importance to start-ups, smart assistants are making inroads through voice search. In fact, by the end of 2020, it is expected that voice searches will make up 50% of all digital searches

In 2018, 46% of consumers used smart voice assistants daily. Voice search is easy-to-use and effective. Alexa is a leader in smart assistants both in homes and businesses, so planning on how your start-up will use one as part of its strategy is key. This strategy can be to assist in the technology you are developing or to be first-to-market in voice search results when it comes to advertising for your product or service.

Alexa Skill development can introduce any of these skills to your startup: 

  • Email management
  • Website monitoring
  • Managing schedules
  • Making calls easily
  • Finding services
  • Managing invoices
  • Providing reminders
  • Tracking packages
  • Keeping track of business travel
  • Editing documents
  • Staying in touch with your team
  • Tracking your time
  • Managing HR
  • Tracking your fleet
  • Calculating business taxes
  • Sending SMS texts

Let’s say your start-up is an e-commerce brand. Consider what questions your customers might like to ask Alexa about their order. Things like:

  • Hey Alexa, when will my TechCompany order arrive?
  • Hey Alexa, do these TechCompany blueberry shoes come in another colour?
  • Hey Alexa, order me more TechCompany refills.

The last possible question also presents some interesting opportunities for marketing innovation in your startup. Building brand is going to be very important, because on top of the Alexa Skill development you invest in for current customers, you need to think about how you will acquire new customers through voice search. 

READ MORE: Internal Chatbots Can Help Employees

You will want customers to ask for your specific solution, because otherwise Alexa will provide the top-paying brand with the sale. Consider what happens when you ask Alexa to buy you more toothpaste. You didn’t specify the brand, so Alexa will send you toothpaste from the highest bidder. But, if instead you were clever in your marketing efforts on other channels and promoted your brand and its Alexa skill, you could have people asking:

  • Hey Alexa, order me more ABC toothpaste
  • Hey Alexa, what’s the best brand of toothpaste for sensitive teeth?
  • Hey Alexa, what’s the best tasting vegan toothpaste?

Really consider your audience and create a Skill with answers on your specific brand that can provide value to your potential customers, and then work on having your brand work for you, in order for people to ask for your product or service by name. 

Alexa Skill Development

Alexa Skills development not only frees you up to get to work on the really important tasks in your business, but by developing Skills for your customers and marketing efforts, you’ll be setting yourself leaps and bounds ahead of your competition. 

The Future of Alexa Skill Development Looks Bright

If the list of all the different Alexa Skills your start-up can use hasn’t convinced you yet, take a look at some of the things in development for this technology:

  1. Move meetings for you: In the future, Alexa may be able to move meetings on a user’s behalf if there is a potential conflict. Alexa will be able to determine which task or meeting is the most important. 
  2. Actually enjoy your commute: Soon you will have features added to your new vehicle to use Alexa while you are driving. If you are stuck in traffic, Alexa can let your colleagues know you are late and also reschedule any meetings automatically. 

Just think how many other things will become automated on Alexa in the near future. Start to project a few years into the future and think about the value-added Skills you can create for your internal and external facing efforts. 

Have you thought about integrating Alexa Skill development into your start-up? Consider the benefits you can offer your customers who are already familiar with Alexa and add it to your suite of value-added features.

The digital marketing industry has rapidly expanded over the last decade, and now, more than ever, it’s becoming difficult to differentiate your agency from all the others. You have quality writers, designers, strategists, editors and project managers, which is already enough to set you above the competition in terms of products and services delivered.

But how do you communicate that value to new customers? What can you do to put yourself on the next level of digital marketing prowess, in order to make it clear that your digital marketing agency is the one to hire?

Set Your Agency Apart with Voice Search Marketing Services

According to Gartner, 30% of all online browsing in 2020 will be conducted on a device without a screen. That means smart speakers, home assistants and even Apple AirPods will be the devices that search for things online; not a user typing a question into Google.

A large part of digital marketing revolves around search engine optimization (SEO) and staying on top of the latest algorithm changes from the powers that be at Google. The rise of voice search will mean that some of your current keyword-finding practices and tools will need to adapt to how people speak to their devices versus how they type things into Google.

Depending on the tools you currently use for SEO, you may be lucky and find that some of them will have already started incorporating longer-tail keywords that correspond to a full question asked verbally. But, be sure to do your due diligence and test this out in the backend of your tools. Even if the search volume isn’t as high as you’d typically like on a keyword, consider writing content for your clients using voice search phrases.

You want to be providing services to your current and prospective clients faster than they think they need them. Because as soon as everyone is asking for something, it’s already a bit crowded out there, and the early adopters have already won.

Be an Early Adopter of All Facets of Voice Search Marketing

Above and beyond your SEO strategy for your clients’ websites, blogs and other online platforms, you’ll need to think outside the box to figure out this new avenue of voice search marketing before your competitors. 

Voice Search Marketing

There are a few different avenues to consider, depending on your clientele. First, is there an Alexa Skill that you could create to help your clients’ customers or prospects? Just like you create content to help customers throughout their journey, can some of the content you’ve already written be translated into a voice-driven Alexa Skill?

For example, if your client is a large producer of personal care products, could you create an Alexa Skill that helps people decide what product is best for their skin type? 

Another example might be for a SaaS company, where you create an Alexa Skill that helps prospects determine if the feature they need is included in their software solution. You can even use existing content you’ve created and tweak it so that the voice-generated questions with longer-tail keywords will be the first response delivered by a voice assistant. For instance, one blog you’ve written was titled: “How To Find the Best CRM for Family Business.” The keyword you optimized for was “CRM for family business.” But to take that one step further, you should write another blog that uses the keywords commonly asked by voice “How do I find the best CRM for my family business?”

The possibilities are endless when it comes to creating content for voice search marketing purposes. And the sooner you start creating content, measuring metrics and getting results for your clients, the sooner you can leverage those testimonials to acquire additional customers. 

Boost Your Clients’ Digital Presence with New Technologies

While embracing voice search marketing might be cutting-edge enough for your agency to acquire some killer new clients, you could take this one step further. 

In marketing, providing personalized service to clients is key. Another platform that can translate easily to voice is the chatbot. Your clients may even have chatbots already working for them on their e-commerce website or to provide help with FAQs. The platform has already been created, and with the help of conversational artificial intelligence (AI) it continues to deliver better service.

Why not have your developers or technology contractors provide that same service on a voice search platform? Or see if you can leverage the data you’re collecting from a chatbot to better inform your current marketing strategy. Chatbots collect so much data, and even if you didn’t develop the chatbot for your client, you could ask them to provide you with the insights to better direct your efforts. 

On the subject of chatbot development, did you know you can partner with a chatbot consultant to deliver this technology to your clients as a lucrative value-added service?

Get in touch with one of our consultants today to learn more. 

“Hey Siri, what’s the weather report for today?”

“Hey Alexa, order me more toothpaste.”

“Hey Google, what’s so great about voice search?”

Glad you asked. The simple answer is that voice search saves people time. It might be just a few seconds, but over the course of a day and multiple searches, that’s valuable time back in the hands of the seeker. 

In 2020, 50% of all online searches are conducted by voice. The difference between typing a search query into Google and asking your smart speaker a question is not trivial. Voice search SEO requires a change in strategy for companies to remain top-of-mind with consumers. 

Marketing’s Next Frontier: Voice Search SEO

Your company may already have a handle on traditional SEO marketing, cranking out useful content to help your ideal customers and to create leads for your sales team. Those tactics still work, but now’s the time to start having your team begin to look at how that strategy needs to change in order to still rank highly for voice search.

Let’s look at a simple example within the realm of digital products. If you sell email marketing software, your traditional SEO content on your blog and even in FAQ pages would be focused on what people type into the search bar on Google; things like:

– Best email marketing software for start-ups
– Email marketing software price
– Email marketing platforms

Customers don’t type like they speak. But, if one of them were to ask their Amazon Alexa or Google Home about the same topics using voice search, they might say:

– What’s the best email marketing software for a start-up?
– How much do email marketing software subscriptions cost?
– What email marketing platforms are available?

Notice two things about these different modes of search:

1. We type short-form but we speak in full sentences
2. Voice search forces longer-tail keywords for SEO

Any online marketing efforts using SEO in 2020 and beyond need a mix of short-tail and long-tail keywords in order to rank on traditional Google searches and in voice searches. 

Voice search SEO

Voice Search SEO Challenges

Long-tail keywords are much more specific than short-tail keywords, meaning they’ll be more difficult to rank higher for on Google. It’s hard to know exactly how someone will ask a question to Siri or Alexa. 

On top of that, traditional SEO tools that help marketers figure out what keywords people are searching for will take some time to catch-up and provide more data on voice search. 

But here’s the real challenge: voice search is only going to return one result for each question asked. People won’t have a list of Google results to sift through and choose from. 

There are two solutions to this challenge:

1. Rank first on Google for that question, which means your content shows up right on the page as the Google Snippet.
2. Build up your brand so customers will be asking for your company’s solution specifically; i.e., “How much does the ABC Company email marketing software cost?”

It’s clear voice searches are on the rise and companies need to adapt in order to make sure they are present wherever the customer chooses to search. But, how can you take this one step further in order to really impress your customers?

Voice Search SEO

Leverage Chatbot Conversational AI for Voice Search

Chatbots are another way to look at leveraging voice search SEO for your business because they can be built on voice recognition platforms. For instance, a chatbot could be developed as an Alexa Skill, making it easy for your customers to converse with your company.

Chatbots are uniquely positioned to naturally extend the one question-one answer voice search model to a longer (and more useful) two-way conversation. The reason that chatbots are on the rise in all different industries is that they use conversational artificial intelligence (AI) to speak with customers. 

You’ve probably started a customer service request with a company’s chatbot in the recent past or asked a question to an FAQ bot when shopping online. Chatbots recognize the customer’s intent and provide a response using extensive data and software. 

When you’re developing your voice search SEO strategy, why not look a little further into the future and reimagine what the customer’s experience could be? 

Could you put an intelligent chatbot in place to answer voice search questions, but also continue the conversation to ensure you’re delivering the maximum value? Customers are looking for convenience, one-on-one attention and efficiency. A chatbot could get all their questions answered and concerns addressed in one short voice conversation. 

Voice Search SEO

Voice Search + Chatbots = Next-level Customer Experience

When investing in long-term marketing strategies and future-focused technology, the investments of time and money are substantial. The payoff, though, when executed correctly is a massive uptick in customer experience, retention and revenue.

There are plenty of chatbot vendors and platforms to choose from, but when undertaking a project of this magnitude, be sure to consult with an expert who’s implemented a solution of a similar scale. Chatbot consultants can save you time and money at the outset by ensuring the technology developed meets your specific company-wide goals. 

For a project that is looking to leverage voice search, chatbots and forward-thinking marketing, you may need to bring in multiple experts. Some Chatbot consultancies will have strategic partnerships with industry-specific experts, which can save you time in hunting down the right team to manage the chatbot vision, development and implementation. 

When all of these considerations are tackled at the outset of the project, with a talented team, the sky’s the limit in terms of results. Not only will customers be delighted with the chatbot technology that exceeds their expectations, but the chatbot itself will continue to learn and improve, through its conversational AI, without any additional spend from your company. 

Curious about how a Chatbot Consultant could help your company’s voice search SEO efforts? Get in touch with one of our team members today.