Marketers must be able to identify new marketing channels and be agile enough to adopt them successfully. We’ve seen it before with the introduction of digital marketing and social media marketing.
Voice search technology is poised to be the “next big thing” in marketing – and it’s set to transform the way we find, research, and interact with the companies we want to do business with. According to Search Engine People, 20% of searches on Google are already made via voice.
So how can your company integrate voice into your marketing plan and use it to stay ahead of your competitors, and in front of your potential and current clients? Here is a step-by-step plan to help you incorporate voice technology into your marketing mix.
Integrating Voice With Current Marketing Strategies
As exciting as voice technology seems, it’s important to blend it into current marketing plans and initiatives, not let it take over. It’s sure to be a powerful addition to a successful marketing strategy when it’s used cohesively with other channels. Two important ways to accomplish this are:
- Use voice in conjunction with current methods. Engaging and elevating the customer experience are two goals marketing commonly strives to achieve. Adding voice technology with visual initiatives help increase both.
- Create a back-and-forth communication channel. Voice, as social media did before it, shouldn’t function on an island, but as part of a community. When adding it to your marketing mix, make certain it relates to your current channels. It needs to contribute to and strengthen your branding message and increase company visibility, along with your other channels.
Optimizing for Voice
While marketing pros are no strangers to search engine optimization (SEO), it may feel awkward to try optimizing for voice search at first. But it’s a necessity to reap the rewards. According to Wordstream, voice queries will pass traditional searches within the next 3 years.
- Start with current keywords. The words that guide your buyers to you online through social media, blogs, and website content can help you build your optimization for voice. Re-arrange them so they flow as a person would speak.
- Add in local information. Voice technology is especially helpful with locally-focused marketing. Take the “conversational” keywords and add in a city and state. This helps your prospect narrow their search to your company.
- Experiment with length. Long-tail keywords are helpful for driving leads to you and produce even better effects with voice. Again, concentrate on creating phrases people would speak into their mobile devices.
Optimizing your website for voice by developing conversational keywords will end up driving more traffic to your site and creating more leads for your business. Now, we need to focus on…
Creating A Literal Brand Voice
A significant amount of thought should go into the literal voice of your brand. Think about the “voice” your other marketing channels employ: Is it friendly? Professional? Technical? Clever? Casual? Pinpoint your current voice and then parlay it into your literal voice.
A brand voice should encompass three traits in particular:
- Emotional. Your literal voice should inspire feelings in those who interact with it. Trust, authenticity, and security are three attributes that many brands try to achieve. Think about your leads and prospects and what your product or service can do for them. Use your literal voice to stir that sentiment.
- Compelling. The overall goal for marketing is to create opportunities to build and maintain more sales. The better a company is at crafting a literal voice that’s engaging, interactive, and pleasant, the more likely they are in keeping the target interested and moving through the sales funnel.
- Memorable. Would Apple’s voice product have been as successful if they just called it “Apple’s voice product”? Doubtful. Naming it Siri gave it an identity and made it recognizable to the brand. Companies need to do this as well. By creating an identifiable, relate-able plan, voice technology functions as a “virtual employee” of the company.
Using “Voice Skills“
Here is where we decide exactly what we want our voice technology to accomplish. In building what voice will do for your audience, perform these actions:
- View it from your buyer persona’s perspective. What will the person who will be interacting with your voice technology be trying to achieve?
- Imagine the dialog flow. How will the conversation progress so that it gives the prospect or customer a satisfying experience?
- Determine the specific cases of when you will be using voice. Is it on the front end? For support? For scheduling? Map out the scenarios where voice will be part of the plan.
And speaking of where voice will be used, marketers must also think about…
Fitting Your Voice Into Your Customer’s Journey
There is a wide range of ways to use voice in marketing, and companies must decide where and when to add it to their buyer cycles.
- At the launch. This is an obvious place to add voice. Being in front of and visible to prospects when they begin their search is one of the best ways to gain their business.
- At the consideration stage. This is a pivotal stage that usually decides whether or not you get the business. Voice can weigh the odds in your favor. In a recent article, Gardner predicted by 2021, brands that re-design their website to support visual and voice search will increase their digital commerce revenue by 30%. Providing answers to frequently asked questions during this stage is a smart use of voice to propel the sales cycle forward.
- Post-sale. Voice technology is an easy way to offer support to customers to make sure their experience is memorable and positive. Doing so is more likely to result in repeat business and referrals.
While voice technology will definitely disrupt the flow of traditional marketing processes in the next few years, it shouldn’t be feared. Harnessing its power could take your company to the next level and give you the ammunition to edge out your most formidable competitors.
By approaching it in a customer-focused way and merging it with the marketing initiatives already in place, you can successfully incorporate voice into your current marketing mix and enjoy great additional leads and customers for your efforts.
Nicole Hudson is an engaging thought leader in marketing strategy development, branding, demand generation, content marketing, SEO, social media, storytelling, social selling, marketing technology and lead generation. Her firm, Inbound Lead Solutions, focuses on sales, communications and marketing alignment with B2B companies, franchising, professional services, keynote speakers, authors, and consultants. Hudson’s marketing strategies have been recognized by Franchise Media Group in two consecutive years with Star Awards for social media lead generation, and by a Dbusiness Magazine award in 2016 for Marketing Consulting. Her work has been featured in multiple LinkedIn case studies on SEO, content marketing and lead generation. She published a book collaboration with Bulldog Reporter (Infocom), The Advanced LinkedIn PR Handbook. Hudson has developed social media strategies for three national television appearances: Be the Boss, Shark Tank and Undercover Boss. Nicole is a member of the International Franchise Association, Detroit Women in Digital, and AMA Detroit. She is a board advisor for Mother Honestly, a collective of women CEOs, executives, investors and career professionals; and a board member and marketing chair for Community Home Supports, a Detroit non-profit. Hudson is a recurring columnist in Career Mastered Magazine and a regular keynote speaker, content contributor, and trainer on sales, marketing, and communication topics.