Smart speakers are everywhere today. According to the Association of National Advertisers, one fifth of Americans 18 and older, or 53 million people, own a smart speaker. The main selling point of these speakers is of course, the virtual voice assistant. Any old speaker can play music, but “Alexa” can reorder paper towels for you on amazon, act as your kitchen timer for the cupcakes in the oven, remind you to call your grandma, tell you it’s raining outside, and perform some 70,000+ other tasks, all without you having to lift a finger. So how can you access this new channel, the voice assistant or voice search, to get your product info into those 53 million (and counting) households?
Format Your Digital Marketing for Voice
Well, as reported by eMarketer, shopping research is the third most popular use for smart speakers. Consumers are turning to their voice assistants to ask for information about products and get product recommendations. The key to getting Alexa or Google to promote your product to your prospects lies in knowing the questions your customers should be asking to find your product. As with any search engine optimization, the goal is to gain “position zero”, or to be as “high up” in the search query results as possible. But it’s important to keep in mind that how consumers have a “conversation” with Alexa is different than how they would type a search into Google on their web browser. For example, where a consumer looking for a barbecue grill to take camping on google might type “best portable bbq”, someone looking for the same product with the help of their virtual assistant might ask “Alexa, what are the best portable grills to take camping?” Because search queries with a smart speaker feel more conversational, the keywords or questions you might need to consider to get your product to the top will be different than in your standard Google search.
Make it Seamless
Now once their virtual assistant has given them all the information on why your product is the best option, you want to make it as easy as possible for your potential customers to take the next step. If you make your online store available through Google Shopping, consumers can actually add products to their cart and make purchases all from their Google Home voice assistant, assuming they have entered in their card information. Another option is that, through the Alexa app, once customers have gotten info about your product from their Amazon Echo, the product link can be pushed straight to their phone so they can make a purchase. The appeal of a smart speaker is to make life easier, so make sure once potential customers are interested in your product, they don’t have to do much extra work to purchase it.
Make Alexa Part of the Customer Experience
Smart speakers aren’t just for acquiring customers or making sales though, they can also be utilized as a channel for many other capabilities to keep your current and potential customers engaged with your brand. You can create “skills” related to your product or app that customers can then download for their Amazon Echo. For example Capital One has created a capability for Alexa that allows customers to check their credit score by asking their virtual voice assistant. Small experiences like this can really make your customers think that just like their smart speaker, your brand is making their life easier.
Along with making life easier, smart speakers can also be used for interactive entertainment. Brands can even create fun games or quizzes that can be accessed through a smart speaker to keep their customers engaged. Similarly to a quiz on a landing page, marketers can create quizzes for Alexa or other smart speaker virtual assistants that collects information from consumers and in exchange offers them recommendations on what product or offering will work best for them. This method is effective because online quizzes are a popular form of entertainment today, but this can also offer you information about your audience’s preferences, and introduce them to your offering. Lastly, pure entertainment, unrelated to any products or offerings, can still be an effective smart speaker marketing tool to help consumers connect with your brand in their own homes. For example, to promote their film Frozen 2, Disney created an alexa skill to allow alexa to tell children stories about the characters from the feature film. Unlike other marketing channels, smart speakers can really be a two-way, interactive conversation that is much more engaging for consumers. Utilizing these capabilities for entertaining marketing, “alexa skills” is a great way to keep consumers interested in your brand.
Remember What Makes Voice Search Unique
The smart speaker market is expected to reach 150 million units sold globally in 2020. This channel is an amazing tool for consumer products marketers to reach their prospects and customers, right within their own household. As long as you remember and consider the things that make the voice search experience different and unique to other channels, such as the conversational and interactive experiences, and use these unique abilities to your advantage, Alexa can get you to your customers.