What does the future of marketing look like?
There are a million theories out there, but one answer keeps coming up again and again: voice.
Voice search and digital assistants are transforming the way consumers connect to information, brands, and products.
More than 60 million digital assistants were sold in the last 2 years, and that number is only going up.
So what does voice mean for you? And how can you use this new technology to modernize your marketing?
Steve Wiideman is an SEO expert, while Steve Tingiris specializes in digital assistants. Their advice? Dive in. Start dabbling. This is new technology for everyone, and the people who come out ahead will be those who are unafraid to start experimenting now.
You can’t escape it — voice is way of the future. It’s time to get started.
HOW TO: Integrate voice into your content & SEO to drive traffic and brand awareness
1. Build an Alexa skill to familiarize yourself with the tech — it’s easier than you may think
A skill is the voice equivalent of an app, only housed in the cloud. Your users just have to say, “Alexa, enable <your skill>” and they can access the function you’ve built. It’s a great way to build engagement and brand awareness.
Amazon has ready-to-go templates; you can get started without a single line of code →
Market your skill by sending customers direct mail with instructions on how to enable it →
2. Design more complex Alexa skills to automate and manage your marketing campaigns
Skills are not just for engaging customers, but also for streamlining your internal processes. It takes some coding, but you’d be amazed by what Alexa can take off your plate.
For example, you can program a skill to track and analyze your sales & marketing metrics. It might sound something like this →
3. To prepare for the future of SEO, remember VRMMM: Voice-Readiness, Mobile optimization, Markup, and Measurement
You still need the SEO basics — strong content, link-building, and UX — but that alone is no longer enough to stay competitive on search. Don’t worry, we’ll go through VRMMM one-by-one.
4. Offer voice search on your site and use the data to expand your voice offerings
Google blocked access to its voice data, so you need to collect your own. Analyze how users are trying to use voice on your site, and let that guide you as you expand voice capabilities.
Send your developer this how-to in order to integrate voice into your site →
5. Claim your business and create voice responses for basic info, questions, and services
Start simple — driving directions, operating hours, and phone numbers. For e-commerce, let users order and purchase items. For brick-and-mortars, let customers book reservations and appointments.
As you expand, send a survey to your sales team to gather the common FAQs, sort those questions by volume, then start loading the answers into your voice assistant.
Claiming your business is the first step. If you haven’t yet, it takes 2 minutes →
6. Go beyond mobile-friendliness — create a truly seamless mobile experience
60-70% of searches are now from mobile — simple mobile-friendliness no longer makes the cut. You need to rigorously test and optimize your mobile user experience. Voice queries also lead back to mobile, so it’s absolutely crucial.
If it’s in your budget, in-person testing is the best way to analyze user behavior. If that’s not in the cards, use an in-depth testing tool →
7. Speed is king — if your site doesn’t load as fast as your competitor’s, you’re going to lose traffic
If you have the budget, Steve recommends going as far as entirely rebuilding your site just for speed optimization.
Analyze your current site speed and performance →
If you lack the technical skill to speed up a page yourself, AMP is a good shortcut →
8. Aim for featured snippets — it’s the fastest way to drive traffic from voice
How do you win a snippet? First, find the top questions your customers are asking →
Group those questions by user intent, sort them by volume, then create answer-based content and populate the title & header tags with the top search terms →
Finally, create a publishing calendar to track content, identify themes, and build consistency (aim for 1-2 times a week) →
9. Grab the featured snippet by getting your answer syndicated across your industry
You want your answer to appear word-for-word across as many sources as possible. Ask partners/influencers in the industry to copy your snippet into their content and across media sharing & social media sites.
Set a Google alert for your target query, then respond with your answer each time someone asks it. Be diligent, and in 6-8 months you’ll find yourself in the snippet box for that query →
Make sure you’ve marked up your original answer to make it easy for Google to read →
Make your answer super easy to syndicate, like Public Storage did with this copy button →
10. Like anything else, set clear KPI’s and carefully track your results
Measuring voice can be a bit tricky, but here are few metrics to get you started:
- # of website event actions: track the number of clicks on the voice icon in your site’s search bar
- # of Google alerts: how many times are you dropping your snippet text into forums?
- # of visits from voice: track visits to specific pages coming in from voice search
- # of featured snippets won: you can track SEO performance with these tools →