Voice Marketing: The How To Guide You Need To Be Competitive

Voice Marketing: The How To Guide You Need To Be CompetitiveIs voice marketing part of your mix?

Does your brand answer when a visitor or customer asks a question via Alexa, Google or Siri?

Or, when they use a chatbot or 800 number to get information or help?

While these people may not be the individuals you thought to target, they actively seek information, data and/or content from your business to meet a specific need they have now.

BUT – Know the clock is ticking since, with voice marketing, seconds count to win listener attention because delivering the best answer fastest wins all!

When people speak to a voice-enabled device they expect to get contextually relevant answers in seconds!

So, if your business isn’t the first to offer the information they seek, you’re invisible to these prospects. Even worse, you may lose the opportunity to enter their purchase consideration set.

And, while you may think this only applies to voice-first devices like Alexa and Google voice-assistants, people use a broader array of voice-enable devices. They include computers, tablets, smartphones, kiosks, and/or chatbots. Further, your audience may use a multi-modal device, which combines voice-first functionality with a screen.

So, why does your business need a voice marketing strategy?

To reach and respond to people who use voice-enabled devices to get information, products and services related to your business on their terms.

And, why must your marketing be voice-first?

Because the functionality behind voice content, responses, interactions, conversational AI and VUI (aka: Voice User Interfaces) is more complex.

To be voice-first you need to have, consistent content, information and data across your entire organization. (Note: This can be difficult for many businesses with one or more legacy systems.)

So, it’s easier and less expensive for your business to start with the most complex functionality, namely voice and AI.

So use this Voice Marketing How To Guide to make sure your business responds when a prospect, buyer or end-user asks their voice-enabled device a question.

Why Does Your Marketing Mix Need A Voice? The History You Need

Your business probably already uses at least one form of voice marketing.

Because voice marketing includes:

  • Audio (or sonic) branding including sounds your product makes;
  • Spoken content and/or music delivered via radio, audio, podcasting, downloadable books and/or virtual events as well as voice-first content apps like Alexa Skills and Google Actions.
  • Advertising on radio, podcast and/or other voice content including voice search involving mobile and location-specific requests;
  • Chatbots including TTS (aka: Text-to-Speech) and STT (aka: Speech to Text; aka: Voice Recognition) options; and
  • IVRs via 800 numbers to call centers, sales teams and/or other employees.

Add voice and other audio options to your marketing mix to increase brand recognition and extend your marketing reach across the entire customer experience (CX).

As a result, your marketing is accessible to voice-first users regardless of the device they choose to use o the context in which they use it. Voice-enabled devices support hands-free tasks like cooking and eyes-occupied activities like driving.

To put voice-first use in perspective, 66.4 million US adults or 26.2% of the US adult population had access to a smart speaker by early 2019, according to Voicebot.

By applying the Product Life Cycle Curve to technology offerings, Geoffrey Moore found that to succeed both innovators and early adopters must buy it. Since these buyers are motivated to try new stuff, Moore dubbed this point “crossing the chasm”. (Source: Moore, Crossing The Chasm.crossing the chasm Further, by 2023, global smart device shipments and related voice-enabled technology ownership will be in the billions. The products include desktops, tablets, smartphones, smartwatches, smart speakers (aka: Alexa and Google Assistant) and hearables. And this data doesn’t include home, car and out-of-home devices.

Global Smart device shipments in 2023

Where Does Voice Fit In Your Marketing Mix? The How To Guide

To appreciate the full breadth of voice-enabled functionality and related conversational AI, examine these 10 key elements of voice marketing. They’re based on the 4Ps of Marketing, namely product, place, price and promotion.

In addition, integrate voice functionality at every step of the buyer journey from the customer’s first-need awareness through post-purchase loyalty and additional purchase. These marketing responses are triggered by a combination of buyer and/or end-user need.

Grounded in Peter F. Drucker’s teachings, this approach to voice marketing assumes:

  • The only valid purpose of a business is to create a customer; and
  • There are only two basic business functions, marketing and innovation.

Develop your voice marketing strategy to align with your business’s measurable goals. To do this, add these 10 Voice Marketing Functions to your overall marketing and business plans to make your business heard across voice-enabled platforms, interfaces and devices.

1. Why Do You Need Voice Branding, Positioning and Goals?

How Do You Define Voice Branding?

Aligned with your overall business strategy, the core 3 goals of voice marketing are:

  • Build brand and business awareness across devices, platforms and/or interfaces;
  • Develop an addressable audience comprised of prospects, buyers, end-users, influencers and interested others; and
  • Drive profitable sales while increasing customer lifetime value (aka:CLTV)

Further, as part of your positioning, you must serve a higher purpose. This includes:

  • Being inclusive across buyers, employees and your community;
  • Supporting your local community; and
  • Being socially and environmentally responsible.

At its highest level, audio branding incorporates and represents your business’s goals and higher purpose. From a bottom line perspective, your audio branding adds value to your organization as part of your Balance Sheet under Goodwill.

Need help developing your brand?
Use this 10 Point Branding Checklist as a starting point.

Voice Branding: What Do You Need To Know?

In a voice-first world, give your brand a unique set of sounds across relevant activities and environments so when your audience hears it, they instantly identify it as belonging to your business.

Reassess your existing branding to determine how its spoken words, ambient sounds and/or music resonate with your audience in the context of the devices, platforms and interfaces they use. Because your goal is to be contextually relevant and recognizable.

In the process, consider whether to associate your brand voice with a human face for your business. Use an employee, actor (like Flo from Progressive Insurance,) or a synthetic AI-created persona. (Note: A synthetic voice is machine generated often sounding robotic.)

Adding audio and/or voice to your marketing requires more in-depth research since spoken language and voice utterances have additional attributes associated with them. Voice includes information about the speaker. It can reveal sex, location of origin, race, ethnicity, age, health and more.

Audio Branding and Brand Voice: What Do You Need To Know To Avoid Confusion

In addition don’t confuse or conflate these 2 other branding terms related to voice and audio.

  • Audio or sonic branding refers to the sounds including words, ambient sounds and music, associated with your brand, either for a specific product or your business more broadly. Integrate sonic branding attributes across every element of your products and services. So people instantly identify your product independent of visuals or other cues.These elements range from an audio logo like NBC’s 3 tones that dates back to 1929 to the sounds your clothes dryer makes to alert you at each phase of its process.
  • Brand voice, by contrast, consists of the words and language you use to identify your brand. The term “brand voice” evolved from advertising copywriting and content creation. It makes your brand’s content and promotions identifiable as uniquely belonging to your business. In terms of voice marketing, brand voice includes regional language differences and/or dialects including differences in word use, slang and references. For example, American English versus British English.

Actionable Voice Marketing Tips Related To Audio Branding

To represent your brand in a voice-enabled world, follow these audio branding tips:

  • Start by examining your non-audio brand. Extend your marketing personas to include information related to voice. Think like a screenwriter to define their salient characteristics. Provide enough detail to allow an actor to be able to step into this character’s shoes.
  • Define your brand’s spoken language. Describe the language, slang terms and verbal tics used on a regular basis by your target audience. Use them as guideposts.
  • Add audio branding to your existing brand guidelines documentation. Make this information available across your organization. Also, share it with your agencies, businesses partners, and/or consultants or freelancers.

2. Who Is Your Voice Audience? Including Customer Experience

The use of voice and related devices that deliver a Voice User Experience (aka: VUX) requires a deeper understanding of your target market of prospects and customers as well as your broader audience.

Why?
Because, according to Clifford Nass and Scott Brave,

“When hearing any voice, the listener automatically and unconsciously assigns a personality to it..

Translation:
The sound qualities of a voice transmit a lot of information about the speaker such as gender and age.

So start by defining your organization’s audience using the BIO Approach. This includes:

  • Buyers, purchase influencers and end-users;
  • Income-related people including your employees, suppliers, distributors, agencies, consultants/freelancers, and shareholders;
  • Others interested in your business including your competitors, local community, media and government.

Audience Definition: BIO Approach

What Do You Need To Know About Creating Marketing Personas For Voice?

Your voice-first audience has higher expectations from voice-enabled devices and they make more assumptions based on the information delivered. So do more research when creating your marketing persona and its persona backstory. Google’s Wally Brill emphasized this point at Project Voice 2020.

Gather information from your audience, prospects and customers related to:

  • Language use and speech patterns including colloquial and slang phrases.
  • Demographics, emotional well being and lifestyle.
  • Ownership and use of voice-enabled devices. Include Internet-connected devices such as smartphones, gaming devices and smart TVs.
  • Context and how the voice-enabled devices are used.
  • Desire for audio information or support as well as timing.

 

Actionable Voice Marketing Tips To Better Understand Your Audience:

  • Use primary and secondary surveys and analysis to research your audience. Collect input to better understand your target audience and what they want from your voice marketing.
  • Talk to real people who use and don’t use voice. Don’t assume that you know what they want and what their voice content and device concerns are.
  • Get input from customer-facing employees at every touchpoint about prospects, customers and end-users. Ask sales, customer service and technical support how your customers use voice.
  • Share your voice audience findings across your organization. It provides a reality check and helps to get management buy-in.
  • Update or change your marketing personas based on this research.

3. Why Does Context Set Voice Marketing Apart?

Context sets voice marketing apart from other types of marketing.

Why?
Since, by their nature, voice-enabled devices and the user’s voice include and convey more information and data than other options.

Context involves micro-moments to meet users’ needs. As defined by Google (2005), micro-moments involve being there, being useful and being quick.

Miicro-moment via Google

As a result, know what motivates your audience to choose to use voice functionality to accomplish a specific task. From the user’s perspective, this translates to I want or need to:

  • Know,
  • Do,
  • Go,
  • Buy, and/or
  • Be entertained.

So consider:
What your user is actually asking and, more importantly, what do they want to achieve?

Specifically answer these questions:

  • What set of devices, platforms and/or interfaces does your user want to use to complete this action? Also, is this a one-time activity, a repetitive query and/or does it require additional people and/or input over time?
  • What makes your offering stand out relative to your competitors and close substitutes for specific audience segments?
  • What types of permissions do you need and does your user have to be prompted to grant them? Your user’s consent may be included in the device’s terms and conditions (aka: T & C). Further, your business may need different permissions.

Actionable Voice Marketing Tips To Understand Audience Context:

  • Talk to your audience to understand their major voice use cases. This defines the context where they want to talk or listen to you. It helps you develop your Voice User Experience.
  • Plan to collect contextually relevant information to improve your offerings including content. To surface unforeseen use-cases and problems that didn’t show up during user testing have robust and 0n-going usage tracking.

4. What Does Your Voice Product and Service Offering Include?

As one of the 4 Ps of Marketing, products matter. Voice products consist of devices, supporting technologies (such as SaaS, interfaces and apps), services such as voice marketing agencies, and content (such as Alexa Skills and Google Assistant Actions.)

As voice functionality gets integrated across the Internet of Things (aka: IoT), voice-enabled devices comprise an ever-expanding set of products, including:

  • Voice assistants (Such as: Amazon Echo and Google Nest),
  • Smartphones,
  • Hearables,
  • Computers,
  • Tablets,
  • Smart home appliances,
  • Smart TV and related entertainment devices, and
  • In-car functionality.

Further, voice-enabled products are specialized across an array of verticals. They include:

  • Health and medical,
  • Finance,
  • Transportation including cars and other forms of mobility,
  • Education including kindergarten through college and other forms of training,
  • Media including radio, social audio and audiobooks,
  • Entertainment and gaming, and
  • Infrastructure across connected needs like fiber as well as IVRs and chatbots.

Actionable Voice Marketing Tips To Support Your Product Offering

  • Create and deploy a customer on-boarding process. Incorporate on-going communications with the end-user (who may not be the product buyer). Include videos and other forms of support in the formats that end-users choose.
    (note: For voice-only and multi-modal devices use tracking to determine the amount of information each user needs based on past visits.)
  • Build your customer community. Offer users a forum so they can support each other to find new ways to use your products, services and/or content.

5. What Voice and Audio Content And Communications Do You Need?

Content and communications are a key element of your voice marketing strategy. In the context of voice, content and communications tend to go together since they allow your audience to access your organization’s information.

Why?
Because they make your business visible and helpful to prospects and customers.

Specifically:

  • Content attracts visitors and search engines to your business to answer their questions.
  • By contrast, communications like email, texts and device prompts deliver messages based on user needs and/or your marketing promotions.

How You Can Create and Use Audio Content to Attract an Audience.

Before you think “OMG another content format,” test different audio options to remain relevant to your voice-first audience.

Audio content allows you to:

  • Reach non-text reading audiences,
  • Broaden your content availability via voice-first platforms like Alexa, Google, Siri, and/or Bixby as well as Spotify and Apple iTunes, and/or
  • Let listeners consume your content in hands-free or multi-modal format on their schedule including while multi-tasking.

Before creating audio content marketing and communications, answer these 3 questions:

  • When does your listener want audio content from you? Publication timing maximizes content marketing results. Where appropriate, ask people when they listen to your content to time publication and promotion to attract the most listeners.
  • What type of information do they want in voice or audio format? Find out what information they want and when they need it. Also, do they want to use an additional visual screen with prompts to guide them?
  • Where are they? Their context and device type define how they’ll consume the content and the type of information they want. For example, are they at home, work, or on-the-go?

When creating voice or audio content consider the sound delivered. Does your audience want a human voice or a synthetic voice?

To keep your voice and/or audio content visible over time, continue to create new presentations, use different platforms and interfaces. Also, keep letting listeners know it exists, regardless of publication date.

Further, distribute your voice and/or audio content everywhere at once. This is a key change from the prevailing content marketing approach with its focus on building visibility one platform at a time.

Voice-First Content Marketing Example: Chompers

To get children to brush their teeth,Gimlet Media created Chompers Skill for Alexa. Published in 2018, P&G’s Oral-B and Crest Kids brands sponsor this skill to drive product use.

Chompers

Also, Chompers has extended their content to other formats and platforms like YouTube.

Actionable Voice Content Marketing and Communications Tips:

  • Create Voice-First Content. Focus on content native to a device such as an Alexa Briefing or Google Assistant Action. For further help check Amazon Alexa Skills and Google Assistant information pages.
  • Start by transforming existing text content into voice and/or audio formats. For example, Convince & Convert adds audio to their blog posts to increase time on-site. It uses a synthetic text-to-speech (aka: TTS) voice.
    three tools to understand conversation
  • Strip images from videos to create audio content. Trust Insights’s Chris Penn does this for his weekly “You Ask, I Answer” video. So he publishes video, audio and text content at the same time on his blog.
    Chris Penn – You ask I answer
  • Include an audio option in communications such as email to allow subscribers to consume your content in the format they desire.
  • Actively seek opportunities to generate voice and/or audio content off of owned media entities. Make guest appearances on other people’s podcasts to reach other people’s audiences.
  • Keep and maintain legacy data and content your customers may need. This is particularly important for big investment and/or high risk products, especially since your customers might look for the information years later. For example, petroleum products need to let fire departments know how to handle different products in emergency situations.

6. How Do You Optimize For Voice Search, Discoverability and Findability?

What is voice search and how does it relate to your marketing optimization to improve findability?

The Voice Search Definition is:
Use of voice on a connected device to get content, information, data and/or other functionality that the user wants and/or needs in a specific context.
Often, only one answer is read without branding by the device’s synthetic voice.

3 Factors define voice search:

  • Give the best answer to a user question or request;
  • Deliver a response based on device or functionality desired; and
  • Provide a response tailored to the user’s context as defined by GPS or other location indicator (such as: What3Words).

Further, voice search applies across search engines, media entities and/or device functionality, including:

  • Traditional search engines like Google, Bing, and others,
  • Search-like media platforms based on specialized information such as Yelp and/or TripAdvisor;
  • Social media platforms like YouTube (which is the second largest search engine after Google), Pinterest, Quora, Reddit and others; and
  • Device specific offerings like Amazon’s Alexa ecosystem.

Since people use full sentences to make voice search requests instead of keywords, voice searches contain more words. So, search engines must parse the question to understand the user’s intent. When using voice search, users expect short succinct answers to their questions.

Voice search responses average 29 words and come from a page containing an average of 2,313 words according to Backlinko analysis.  @Backlinko #voicemarketing #searchmarketingClick To Tweet

Voice Search usage

 

What Makes Voice Search Marketing Different?

Voice search marketing has different challenges than other forms of search:

  • Device doesn’t use your brand’s voice; instead the device’s default voice reads the search result;
  • Response selected by the combination of the search engine and device may not include your brand name or mention your URL or other content location; and
  • Specific search engines and other platforms may not be able to tell that your content is the best answer. This can happen due to the structure of your information and other search signals.

Actionable Search Voice Marketing Tips

  • Claim your local “Google My Business” listing to respond to “Near Me” searches.
  • Optimize for long-tail keywords to increase your chance of appearing for voice search.
  • Use a flat library approach to structure content, information and data across your business. This makes your content more visible to search engines. Go deep around each topic hub with content.Add FAQ Pages to support this structure. Answer every customer’s question especially about products, location and people. Provide “how-to” information for each step of the purchase funnel. Also, update content and extend it into other formats.
    results which are FAQ pages
  • Use Schema.org to add structured data markup and help optimize for voice search. So search engines better understand your content and match it to voice queries.

7. Where Does Voice Marketing Fit Across The Buyer Journey?

B2B and B2C purchase processes are evolving as customers become more digitally savvy and start using voice-enabled devices and products. As a result, they have increased access to information about products, near or free substitutes and/or pricing.

During the pandemic, people needed digital and voice devices and/or information to stay safe. So the age-related digital divide disappeared. Based on the devices, platforms and/or location, more customers choose to use voice functionality and audio content.

So voice and audio marketing fits into every aspect of the buyer journey across major product categories. Further, and more importantly, prospects, customers and/or end-users want these options.

What Is the Customer Buying Journey And Why Does It Matter For Voice?

The Customer Buying Journey extends from initial awareness of a want or need beyond the initial point of purchase through to the second purchase. Each stage of the journey offers an opportunity to develop your relationship with your prospects, customers and/or end-users, to build product and brand loyalty.

Your goal is to make the Customer Buying Journey continuous. McKinsey dubbed this the Loyalty Loop in June 2009.

Customer Retention - Loyalty Loop Chart

By nurturing your customers through each stage of the loop, they become loyal. In turn, they recommend your business to others, create user-generated content especially ratings and reviews and/or join your community. For example, Amazon posts ratings and reviews on its Skills.

user reviews prove Chompers get children to brush their teeth

Actionable Voice Marketing Tips Related To the Customer Buying Journey

  • Offer voice and/or audio content across formats, devices, interfaces and/or platforms at every step of the purchase process and at each touchpoint to meet buyer, purchase influencer and/or end-user needs. Where possible, provide the most contextually relevant customer experience based on how the user wants to access it.
  • Tailor voice products, services, content and/or communications to meet the specific user needs at every step of the customer journey. Even if you use the same content, this process may involve different people with different goals.
  • Transform content, information, communications and data to meet different buyer and end-user needs at each point across the purchase process. Facilitate content conversion into different formats for use across different devices in various contexts. Also, add relevant metadata to aid findability and keep legacy information.
  • Always allow prospects, customers and/or end-users to talk to a human when they prefer to do so. This applies to voice devices and interfaces, chatbots and/or IVRs. Don’t let reducing repetitive work and/or costs hurt your customer experience!

8. How Do You Promote and Distribute Your Voice Offering?

What Is The Definition of Voice Advertising and How Can You Use It?

The Voice Advertising Definition Is:

  • Uses of marketing budget to pay for promotion of voice or audio products, services and/or content on third party media and/or by influencers. Ideally, this paid promotion is contextually relevant and allows the listener to take action with minimal friction via a voice-enabled device. In-car based voice functionality to alerts drivers where to find services such as gas stations based on GPS or similar functionality. This information may be delivered via a multimodal device to show retail options on a map.
  • Consists of paid promotion delivered via non-voice devices, content, communications platforms and/or channels. These ads aim to get readers, viewers and/or listeners to find and consume your voice or audio content. Use owned media to promote voice content and functionality to your existing customers and audience.

Add Audio Advertising To Your Marketing Mix To Extend Your Reach

Audio advertising consists of 2 popular formats:

  • Stand-alone Promotions produced by your brand stand out from the main audio content due to differences in the speaker’s voice and/or other sounds.
  • Host-read promotions and sponsorships seamlessly integrated into program content.

Audio advertising challenges include:

  • Voice advertising integrated into voice and spoken content by the host. While you can refer listeners to owned media and products, this type of paid voice advertising or promotion isn’t acceptable yet. Expect this to change as voice-enabled devices and related platforms seek to monetize their assets.
  • While podcast advertising technology exists, metrics proving their economic results remain elusive. Like voice advertising, you can use the podcast to promote related content, reach hyper-targeted audiences and tap into the power of podcasting influencers.

With the ever-expanding use of streaming music and podcasts, opportunities for audio advertising continue to grow, especially on platforms like Spotify.

Actionable Voice Advertising Marketing Tips

  • Include a contextually relevant and tailored call-to-action. Keep your CTA short and memorable since your audience may not be able to act when they hear your promotion. Also, create distinct calls-to-action to aid measurability.
  • Use your voice and/or audio media for co-marketing partnerships. Take advantage of the podcast’s related media and exchange promotions on your podcast or blog with another that targets a similar audience. So you expand your reach without marketing investment.

How Can You Promote Voice Marketing With Owned Marketing?
Regardless of the size and quality of your audio content offering:

You need to promote your audio content to get people to find it and listen to it.

To build awareness for your audio content, promote it across existing owned and social media. In most cases, this has little, if any, incremental cost!

Case Study: How To Promote Voice Content

Want to get the maximum mileage from your voice content?

Then take a page from Jen Lehner Media to increase the reach and value of your voice content.

  • Post each episode of your voice content (aka: Alexa Flash Briefing or podcast) on your website.
  • Add a header image. For interviews, use a photo of your guest to attract more attention.
  • Include the full audio recording so visitors can listen to your content from your website.
  • Add show notes for each episode to entice people to listen.
  • Provide a full text transcript for people who prefer to read and for search engines.

 

Case Study-How To Promote Voice Content Marketing On Owned Media-Jen Lehner

 

Actionable Voice Marketing Tips:

  • Direct readers to voice and audio content on your website and blog. Also spotlight key podcasts and other audio content in regularly published newsletters and other communications.
  • Create an ad-like promotion to make your audio content stand out on your website. Include a call-to-action to let readers know about your voice content and where to find it.
  • Offer an incentive (where it makes sense) to entice listeners.
  • Incorporate gamification where appropriate. For example, Chompers does this well; it counts consecutive teeth brushing sessions.
  • Capture visitor comments, information and/or commentary on your website. For example, Jen Lehner uses Speakpipe to allow visitors to leave voice messages.
  • Distribute audio content via your blog with text translation (Where appropriate, edit it to improve readability.) Include references and related content. Also, distribute your content across voice-first platforms like Amazon, Google, Apple and Samsung, your content needs the appropriate structure.

How Can You Use Influencers To Extend Your Voice Marketing Reach?
Use influencer marketing to expand your reach and sales with voice and audio options.

At a minimum, invite guests to appear on your podcasts and other forms of voice content. Ask them to let their audiences know about your interview.

Since voice and audio content exist across a wide assortment of platforms and devices:

  • Tailor promotional calls-to-action by platform to aid trackability and encourage listeners to take the next step. Jen Lehner does a great job of this. (See the example above.)
  • Distribute your voice or audio content across all relevant platforms at the same time. This may require the help of a service.
  • Continue to promote content by top influencers over time. Project Voice’s Bradley Metrock has consistently promoted his This Week In Voice interview with Mark Cuban from April 17, 2019. As a result, it has 92,000+ views to-date.

Project Voice keeps best content visible

9. How Can You Include Voice Commerce To Increase Sales?

Voice Commerce Definition

  • Is the ability to use voice-enabled devices and technologies to order products and services. It’s useful to add items purchased on a regular basis, near re-purchase and/or renew point.
    Voice Commerce
  • Can incorporate the use of an 800 number and/or customer service call center to make a transaction. This is important to build consumer trust; sometimes people want to talk to a human being. This functionality includes the cost of easy-to-remember phone numbers, IVR-related technology and/or staff.

Due to the COVID pandemic in 2020, customers across all age groups are more willing to use one or more forms of voice commerce such as: ordering via voice-enabled devices from merchants who offer delivery and/or the option to buy online and pickup in store (or BOPIS).

Specifically FISglobal Consumer Behavior Research (September 2020) found that online spending during the pandemic increased across age groups:

  • 65% of consumers aged 18-45 spent more online; and
  • 51% of consumers aged 55 and older increased e-commerce spending.

In addition,

  • 42% of respondents purchased more via mobile devices and
  • 22% of respondents made more purchases with voice-activated assistants such as Alexa or Google Home.

How Big Is Voice Commerce?

While Voice Commerce is a relatively new form of purchase, it’s growing. In 2019, about 31.0 million people shopped via a smart speaker, up 31.8% from 2018 (eMarketer). This is projected to grow to 38.0 million in 2021.

To-date, one out of five voice purchases are low cost, low risk purchases of electronic media, music and movies. This makes sense since consumers use these products on their voice-enabled devices.

This includes supporting repetitive ordering, creating a shopping list (regardless of where they actually purchase the items), and/or streamlining shipping. Other areas to add voice functionality include purchase status checks, merchandise returns and customer service.

Key Voice Commerce Tactic:

Assess how your competitors, near or free substitutes and major players use voice commerce.

Why?
Because they set voice shopping expectations for your customers and end-users. Note: On-boarding increased in importance for B2C and B2B buyers. That’s where expectations must be met since marketing costs for customer retention are much lower than new customer acquisition costs.

Activities on Smart Speakers - US owners

Actionable Voice Commerce Marketing Tips

  • Determine where voice functionality can improve the customer experience with information and/or sales support across your entire business. For example, at Project Voice 2020, one real estate agent used a voice assistant to provide useful information to buyers during open houses.
  • Include commerce options in your voice content where relevant. For example, to allow listeners to add products and services to their shopping list using a voice-enabled device. If your offering can’t be purchased using a voice-enabled device, at a minimum, create a voice shopping list or reminders for later use!
  • Integrate voice commerce into your omni-channel shopping by adding buying-related information to voice content. Help shoppers to use voice-enabled to browse products, research product details and/or add items to shopping carts.
  • Improve voice commerce success by removing friction for shoppers. Focus on related activities where they may already use voice assistants. One-third of owners use their smart voice assistants for shopping.

10. How Do You Measure Voice Performance?

Track voice marketing success in terms of the following Key Performance Indicators (aka: KPIs):

  • Size of your addressable audience. This includes prospects, buyers and end-users who you have contact information for. As Joe Pulizzi says, “It’s critical to build your content and related audience on owned media.”Since your owned audience changes overtime, track:
    • New email subscribers and/or customers. Monitor newbies;
    • Email open and click-through rates. Since these metrics can hurt your deliverability rates and cost money for people who never open your communications; and
    • Churn rate. Tracks the number of existing subscribers who request not to receive additional communications against newbies.
  • Determine the fully loaded costs to acquire customers. Then track the amount of sales they generate over the period during which they actively purchase. Where possible measure customer lifetime value (aka: CLTV). this shows your CFO how your voice marketing generates profitable sales and adds value to the Balance Sheet.
  • Where appropriate, measure the non-financial value your audience generates in terms of referrals and user-generated content. For example, Ratings and Reviews qualify purchases for friends and strangers. This adds value to your business by lowering advertising and promotional costs.

Also, allocate budget to test different voice marketing options to improve your results over the long term.

Make sure that your voice marketing does more than aid unmeasurable “branding”. Where necessary, increase your resources through co-marketing and trading services.

Actionable Voice Marketing Analytics Tips

  • Use a combination of analytics, testing, metrics and budgeting software, and employees to ensure your voice marketing generates profitable sales. If your organization is large or departmentalized, it may be challenging to accurately measure the activities of your voice or audio visitors.
  • Include an easy-to-remember call-to-action (aka: CTA) and related tracking since voice and audio content isn’t always trackable. One option is to ask your website visitors to leave you a voice message.

Voice Marketing How To Guide Conclusion

Voice marketing consists of more than using voice-enabled devices to extend your audio brand, content, and advertising.

Rather, take a holistic approach across these 10 functions of voice marketing. This requires integrating your voice marketing across every department of your organization.

Why?

To remove friction between your business and your audience and make interactions easier.

To give your marketing a voice:

  • Make your content available across a variety of voice-first platforms and devices.
  • Structure your content, information and data to meet your audience’s needs based on their context. To support voice findability, integrate data and AI across your business.
  • Add voice and audio formats to your organization’s internal content and communications. (BTW, voice includes IVR and chatbots.)

At the same time, this helps to build mutually supportive working relationships across your business to achieve successful results.

Because, in the process ,you provide a better customer experience based on how they want to interact with your brand through the use of voice-enabled devices.

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies.
You can find Heidi on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.


Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on February 2, 2020. Since then it has been extensively expanded and updated.

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Photo Credit: https://pixabay.com/photos/ear-mouth-nose-face-head-voices-3971050/ cc zero

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