How can business owners use voice search assistants in business? Our guide looks at this booming technology and how it can be used for sales and marketing.
Despite the increased sales of smart speakers and the steadily increasing use of digital voice assistants (approx. 30 percent of consumers have already used voice assistants), very few companies are prepared for the upcoming “voice business”. It is crucial that they learn to use voice search assistants in business if they don’t want to be left behind in the new consumer world.
1. How did voice search and marketing applications come about?
With the start of voice assistants such as Alexa and Google Home (2016), there was suddenly another dimension for search and marketing: An interactive assistant who not only supports the search, but also uses so-called skills to adapt to the respective user behavior and customizing buying habits. The systems have started to collect tons of data, which poses new challenges for everyone involved, particularly with regard to data protection and security. And the next chapter regarding voice applications is already written in connection with VR (Virtual Reality) applications.
2. What is Voice Search and what smart devices are there?
Here is a definition of the term: Voice Search means verbal communication, for example in the form of questions with a smartphone, smart device or voice-supporting PCs. The questions are not entered in the traditional way using the keyboard or mouse, but are recorded and processed verbally.
10 exciting facts
- Voice Search Services made its first appearances in 2011, primarily driven by Google.
- Voice Search is currently available in 119 countries.
- In U.S. households, the number of smart speakers increased by 78% to 118.5 million from 2017 to 2018, 43% use smart speakers for search, 10% of them daily.
- A study on the readiness of companies in the USA (region of Bosten) is interesting: 44% of the companies are already ready for voice search.
- Voice Search is already a daily routine, especially for teenagers (> 55%).
- The top 3 inquiries start with “What”, “How” or “Best”.
- In 2020, about 50% of all search queries will be language-based. In addition, 30% of search queries are answered via systems without a display, thanks to Google Home, Alexa and Apple HomePod.
- 20% of voice search consumers have already ordered something from the assistant.
- The voice assistant is most common in the living room, where the family spends most of the time on average.
- Most inquiries come from the knowledge area (playing music, weather forecasts, information about people or terminology, reminder functions and calling people).
An overview of the most popular devices:
- Google Assistant (Google Home, smartphones and tablets)
- Alexa (Amazon Echo family)
- Siri (HomePod, smartphones and tablets, HomeKit)
- Cortana (Microsoft PCs and some devices with SmartTV)
3. Why is it important?
The good news first: The train for companies has not yet left, but is starting to move slowly. That said, we would not yet speak of a massive “must have”, but this is precisely the huge opportunity to prepare yourself with the appropriate strategies and concepts and to gain experience within the company through small proof of concept projects.
The great advantage of voice search is to derive a lot more context, which goes far beyond the current input via the keyboard.
- How was the question asked? Do you expect a simple or complex answer?
- The voice reveals a lot and gives the cognitive perception, in addition to the text, another dimension. (In what mood was the question asked? Expectations become clearer and more understandable by interpreting the stresses.)
- Much more information can be processed in a much shorter time, since the questions are asked from the gut and are not influenced by input via the keyboard or search suggestions on the screen.
- Due to the fact that voice assistants are constantly learning, questions and answers can be optimally coordinated for each person, for example a reminder function, shopping lists “rebuy of products”, answers to questions already asked.
- Local businesses in particular can benefit very well with the right implementation of concepts and strategies. For example doctors, shops, event organizers, restaurants, craftsmen or other service providers (where the most important questions are about opening times, appointments, reservations or confirmation / status of orders).
- Easy to learn through projects with experts and self-experience and to make the voices of customers heard through the appropriate voice marketing concepts for business.
- Please keep a close eye on the trend (either do your own research or ask Voice Search experts). Because through the extensive use of smart voice assistants and the increasing use of voice search functions and features, you should always have an eye on the business ECO systems such as those from Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft before the competition sees the show and customer contacts / Steals sales.
4. How to use voice search assistants in business
At the moment there are several ways to prepare for voice search and marketing to use voice search assistants in business.
Here are some key factors:
- Voice Search and Search Engine Optimization (SEO): It is important to optimize your website for local search queries and to provide possible “W” questions with suitable content on the website that also meets local customer queries. Here you should particularly look at the topic of featured snippets and structured data from Google or get advice from experts.
- Voice Search Content Marketing: Content is no longer “king” and data “queen” but “semantic context”: With the Google update “BERT” at the end of 2019, new framework conditions are set that should be taken into account for your content strategy.
Context-based services on the website also play an increasingly important role, for example smart FAQ optimization, recommendation options and personalized content. For example, requests like Alexa cannot see the page. That means you have to find other ways to make the customer “happy” or to pass them on to the services accordingly.
- Voice Search and SEA (e.g. Google Ads): Here it is important to analyze the search queries and to filter exactly what search queries via voice search / assistants were (e.g. if Ok, Google, Hi Alexa, Hey Siri or very long Inquiries occur). With the search results, you should optimize your PPC (Pay Per Click) campaigns for voice search, for example, create targeted local landing pages with appropriate ad texts for voice context or book the voice search keywords as negative (blacklist) keywords so that the classic ads in this case will not be triggered.
- Voice Commerce : This is a very exciting topic and will becme increasingly relevant. After all, this is about sales and deals. For example, Amazon’s buy-it-again function has given voice search users an easy way to order products again using voice and smart device. The system learns with every order, using so-called shopping list skills.
Through voice commerce, the relationships between customers and retailers will continue to strengthen and refine. This means that regular customers and regular dealers can coordinate their needs and their marketing (discounts, promotions, wishes) better and better. With voice commerce, business processes can be optimized more to meet customer requirements and raised to a new level through automation: “Status in real time”, “Personalization of customer requirements” and “Demand-oriented inquiries to optimize business capacities”.
- Voice Search in connection with VR technology:I have to admit that the greatest imagination can be observed here, because providers such as Facebook with the Oculus Go and Quest are setting new standards or opening up new dimensions. We are used to working in 2D, for example on websites and or with apps on the mobile. With VR, we immerse ourselves in the 3D world and are given a 360 ° view, in which completely new possibilities arise through the visualization of objects and applications. There are currently VR applications in which you can already operate your desktop or browser via voice commands and make yourself independent of the controller. I think with a little imagination you can guess what could happen here if the technologies become even more powerful and ergonomic. But you could write your own blog about it.
5. Looking to the future
The topic of voice search is growing out of its infancy and will establish itself in the near future as a growing pillar for customer and business relationships. The technology leaders (Google, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft) are creating new business ECO systems with their smart search devices and apps, and you can clearly see the trend towards usage through user behavior and the spread of assistance systems.
We are currently in the phase from the trend to the established business process, which is why it is important as a company to deal with the topic. Local service providers in particular have great opportunities to benefit from this. It would be important to acquire appropriate knowledge and skills through initial projects. Here, too, an expert can be very useful to get a good overview and get started.
What things should you keep in mind about Voice Search?
Recognizing the need and potential of voice search is important should be considered in digital strategy and planning
It is now worth starting to build up knowledge through workshops, seminars, expert surveys or self-research
Have courage and start the first projects to gain or share experiences. Sometimes there are also interesting collaborations.
Active participation in voice search communities, meetups, networking exchange via Xing / Linkedin or info research via Google, slideshare, Twitter, forums …
It is important to always see through the eyes of the customer and to listen properly in order to really understand the needs.
Anyone who takes all of these tips into account and actively addresses the topic of voice search not only invests in the future, but also in customer and business relationships, and that always pays off!