How a Voice Assistant Fosters Your Marketing

1 IVlyUX5p1mmVYaANb5XcIw Helene Cue
by Helene Cue

We have a lot of fun with voice assistants. They respond to silly questions; they answer trivia questions; they play our favorite music. They are also quite useful – giving directions, turning home appliances on and off, providing recipe directions while cooking, and stock prices, etc. To illustrate this point, here are a few numbers that should indicate the overwhelming and growing popularity of voice assistants. As of April 2019:

● 100 million devices that run Alexa had been sold
● Alexa had 90,000 skills
● Alexa was available on an estimated 60,000 devices
● People who own an Amazon Echo spend an estimated 10% more on Amazon since they got the device.

Add Siri and Google Assistant to this, and you have a firestorm of consumers demanding more and more speed and convenience in their lives – and that translates to searching for, evaluating, and purchasing products and services.

Businesses have not failed to notice. And they are now understanding how voice assistants can be a key player in their marketing efforts. In fact, if they fail to incorporate this technology into their marketing strategies, they will ultimately be “left in the dust” by competitors that do.

Let’s examine the different ways that virtual voice assistants can be used in marketing:

1. SEO Optimization – Google Snippets

Obviously, marketers have been focused on SEO since they began to craft marketing content. But this has always been focused on text searches. Recently, Google has re-introduced the concept of “featured snippets” – little pieces of information in response to both textual and voice searches. In terms of voice searches, Google Assistant will look to provide a snippet that provides a short answer to a question. Thus, a user may ask, “how many popular votes did Trump receive in the 2016 election?” And Google Assistant will reply with a snippet from sites that are ranked in the zero position. It certainly would behoove marketers to attempt to get into the position of getting a featured snippet.

Marketers who want more information on featured snippets should read a recent blog post from Danny Sullivan, Public Liaison for Search at Google, for an explanation of the re-introduction of Google featured snippets and how the enterprise is improving them for voice searches.

This trend cannot be ignored. It is predicted that in 2020, 50% of all consumer searches will occur by voice. Websites must be optimized for these new types of searches, along with their traditional textual ones.

2. Voice Assistants for Better Content

Voice searches, like traditional text queries, are now formed by longer phrases, using natural language to which voice assistants can now respond. When marketers can capture the most used voice search language, they can provide content, and even stories, that respond to those queries, and their content will be provided to that searcher.

The use of voice search is pushing marketers to up their game in content and stories.

Consider the need of a consumer for information regarding exterior paint and stain for their decks. They conduct a voice search that says something like this: “What types of deck stains are the best for long-term protection?” This is your opportunity to provide the answers to their queries, and to promote your brand at the same time. What solutions can you provide to their questions? Currently, you provide blog posts and a social media presence to provide such “expert” answers. Adding voice responses that show your expertise in providing solutions is simply an extension of your brand and serve to build trust.

3. Voice Assistants Can Drive Consumers to Your Website

Your initial voice response to queries raises brand awareness and your reputation as an expert. But Google Assistant can now also direct searchers to your website to learn even more. And here is where your content, in the form of text, visuals, videos, stories, etc. can be presented in more detail. But remember this: the initial voice response must provide great content too – content that will engage, inform, and directly answer their questions. Another important point to remember here is that these searchers/users have a stronger intent to make purchases than just casual visitors. And of course, the content of your website will be amazing as well – text, photos, video, etc. – all of the great stuff that you have always provided.

4. Voice Assistants and Personalization/Advertising

Voice assistants are also at the point in development that they can recognize different voices from a household. Using the same device, one family member may be asking about traffic before they leave for work; another may be asking for the weather; still, another may be asking for a stock price quote. And given AI and NLP skills, voice assistants will remember and can even then remind users when a stock price changes, recommend products based upon previous purchases, prompt subscription renewals, etc.

This is a major element for marketers. When different family members have searched for different things, marketers will soon have the ability to provide each person with targeted advertising, based upon their search and purchasing behaviors – and these will be delivered via voice.

While this is in the future, it is already predicted that Alexa can be imbedded with new skills from specific brands to promote their products and services, certainly via advertising dollars delivered to Amazon and other voice providers. Marketers should be preparing for this to happen in the near future.

A side note here: If a business has an international or non-English speaking audience, virtual assistants can also perform in multiple languages, if the content is translated/localized well. Jill Levine, a content reviewer for Is Accurate translation review site confirms this: “more and more we see businesses that need translation services for their voice assistants. This steady rise tells us that voice technology is the next big disruption in our industry.”

5. Using Voice Tech to Upsell and Cross-Sell

A consumer decides to book a hotel for a business or personal trip. He does so by using voice technology on Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant. The assistant has a flow chart, a diagram of sorts, so that the assistant can know where to go next, and that can be to other options, to add to the reservation.

It’s no different from a reservation that has traditionally made involving text. The reservation is made, and the consumer is then prompted to add other options – a car rental, perhaps.

Given AI and NLP, virtual assistants can provide the same upsell and cross-sell options, and brands can “weave” these into that voice technology. It means that brands and credit card companies will form partnerships. As soon as a consumer provides his credit card information, he will be prompted to add the upsells and receive such things as reward points for doing so at that moment.

This obviously goes beyond just making travel arrangements. Any brand can weave their upsells or cross-sells into voice assistance. For example, when a voice assistant understands that a user is ready to renew something, let’s say a phone contract, that assistant can offer additional options and provide additional perks that will “sweeten the pot.”

6. Voice Assistants Can Push Products and Provide Immediate Information

What marketers do understand is that consumers want immediate results with the least amount of inconvenience. Consider this scenario which is actually true.

During the Superbowl of 2016, Domino’s Pizza allowed current customers who had previously ordered a specific pizza or other item(s) to use Alexa to take that same order and transfer it to the local Dominos in their area. All the customer had to do was say, “Alexa, order my usual from Dominos.” The order was placed and then delivered.

How was this accomplished? Dominos simply synced with Amazon to promote voice orders. And the customer had to do nothing but give a voice command – no phone call; no text message; no logging into an app – just a simple voice command.

Beyond using the major voice assistants, businesses can set up their own individual voice assistants as well. A user can access a business app and use its virtual assistant to ask questions, register an issue, make a purchase or place an order. The customer can thus have a rapid response.

7. Voice Assistants Are Conversational and Build Relationships

Another thing that marketers understand is that conversation builds relationships. Whether a business voice assistant is ultimately synced through one of the major voice assistants (and that is coming) or is set up uniquely for that business, conversation is important. And setting up that conversation will require some skill and creativity. Writing services, such as WowGrade , and Grab My Essay now have departments that produce conversational content for virtual assistants. There are also a number of freelancer sites that have content writers for such purposes. People per Hour and Upwork are two reliable resources. Whatever the resource used, marketers have some work to do in determining the types of questions or comments that will be posed and the conversational responses to be given. The idea behind voice assistants is that they should appear to be as human as possible in their interactions with users. Including witty statements and a bit of humor always helps.

In the End…

Voice assistants provide brands with a new marketing opportunity. They can provide content, learn, remember, and engage as if they were human. As you look to create a great user experience with a voice assistant, think about the last time you shopped for a car. Which type of salesman did you prefer? One who acted like a friendly assistant, answering questions, highlighting features and letting you be in charge of the conversation? Of did you prefer the “hard sell” salesman who was overbearing and aggressive? You get the point.

About the author

Helene Cue Helene Cue
Helene Cue
In-house writer at
Helene Cue is a passionate writer and editor who explores a broad spectrum of topics that revolve around marketing and tech. She currently works as an in-house writer at BestEssayEducation. Her pieces are always captivating and informative.

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