Consider the Omni-Channel Experience
People have been using their voices to search, to control home entertainment systems, to check the weather, etc. for a while now, and they’re only getting more comfortable with the technology. According to Adobe, almost 75% of people who own smart speakers use their device every day. Having access to a voice assistant throughout the day across all devices and platforms isn’t just where we’re headed, it’s where we are.
Voice is especially useful in the home. We recently attended the annual International Builders’ Show (IBS) in Las Vegas, and everywhere we looked, voice activation was represented. From operating lights to opening patio doors to turning on showers, voice is beginning to control every aspect of the modern home.
As sound becomes more critical to marketing communication, marketers should evaluate the behaviors, interests, and day-in-the-life of their consumers to understand how and where voice fits in, and how they can deliver value at the right moments.
It’s also important to think about the evolution of brand guidelines, which are almost always visual in nature. What about audio brand guidelines? How is the brand represented when it reaches consumers’ ears (not just their eyes)? Audible recognition of your brands is a necessary next step and is critical to future marketing strategies.
Optimize for Voice Search
Voice can provide interesting insights into what people are specifically looking for when they search.
While there isn’t a report from Google yet that will specify whether a query was performed via speaking, there are clues in the data that indicate voice usage. Voice search is often comprised of questions rather than statements. Questions reveal the true level of intent of the searcher, and perhaps even how valuable that search is based on the type of question being asked. For example, consider a typed “composite deck” versus a spoken “which composite decking companies get the best reviews?” By incorporating these types of specific questions into your keyword lists where applicable—for both organic and paid search—you can be prepared to deliver the most relevant content (in the right tone and context) to answer each of them.
As voice grows in popularity, website content will need to reflect a deeper understanding of people’s true intent. When people search, sites need to be ready with the right content for the best possible result. The goal is to incorporate natural language that reflects a conversation with the searcher. Typically, when using our voices to search, we use longer sentences and sometimes much more detailed and specific queries, instead of the short fragments we quickly type into search bars. Pages of content should be optimized to include these detailed, question-based searches.
This will all help you get closer to the top position across search engine results pages for voice searches. Users rarely scroll much farther than the first couple of results to find what they need. Sometimes users never even go beyond the first result, so being #1 is critical. Reviews are impactful too, as 85% of voice shoppers are confident in the recommendations given by voice assistants (per a study by OC&C Strategy Consultants).
If your brand can maintain a conversational tone and understand the behaviors associated with voice search, it can generate the personalized results and content users are looking for.
Use Skills as Branding Vehicles
Screenless apps—including but not limited to Alexa and Google Home—have continued to rise and are becoming a part of consumers’ everyday home lives. As Amazon has explained them, “skills” are a way to create a more personalized experience with Alexa; the same idea applies to Google’s “actions.”
Creating a skill that is highly relevant and useful for your audience can be one of the most valuable brand assets of the future. For example, our client, Rinnai, has developed an Alexa voice command for their tankless water heaters (which use recirculation to deliver instant hot water). This allows homeowners to say a simple command such as “Alexa, turn on circulation,” and immediately have hot water available in the shower, tub, sink, etc.
It’s not all about screens anymore. We’re headed toward a new type of connected age where voice reigns supreme and will soon be our operating system for life. Think about your brands and how you can educate your audiences on their products or services in an engaging way and how to help them accomplish a task. The result is a strong, positive association with your brand.
Get in touch with us to learn more.