Voice controlled devices (VCDs) like Alexa, Google Home, and Siri are exploding in the marketplace. There is no sign that the trend toward voice search and assistance is slowing down, and I’m here to assert that this trend can be advantageous to agency business development. As a matter of fact, I believe strongly that voice represents that next opportunity, that next patch of fertile ground where you can plant your flag.
The opportunity for business development with voice controlled devices is big—huge even. Let’s do a quick dive into the data on VCD usage and where it’s headed. Then I will share what I consider the four top new business development strategies around voice. These are great to use in building your own business, and also strategies you can easily employ with clients.
Voice is Getting Louder
The market for VCDs is exploding. Echo and Echo dot were the best selling items last year for Amazon, which makes them the biggest seller on the biggest online retail platform. That’s big. In addition, once purchased, these items are frequently used. Google did a study that found 72 percent of people who own a voice-activated speaker or a smart speaker report that the devices are a regular part of their daily routine.
Voice Controlled Devices are Doing More
Last I checked, the Alexa Library is 30,000 skills, so 30,000 pieces of software that you can install into your Echo and then ask Alexa to do certain things for you. Google Home’s library is less than 1,000. So in the assistance space, Alexa wins.
But obviously, just like everywhere else, Google dominates voice search.
Even more to the point, voice is on its way to becoming the default mode of search. Twenty percent of mobile searches on Google are currently being made by voice commands. And according to Comscore 55 percent of teens and 41 percent of adults already execute voice searches multiple times a day. By 2020, a full fifty percent of searches will be voice.
You Can Do More
Ok, great. So market share is exploding with voice. Are people really going to ask Alexa to find them the best agency to solve their fill-in-the-blank problem? Well, the opportunities are a little more nuanced than that.
Maybe you heard about this, but awhile back some agency news really struck me. When was the last time an enterprise or any size company actually named an agency of record? I certainly can’t recall. But the news that struck me: JP Morgan Chase recently did just that.
You know as well as I do that companies large and small have been going in the opposite direction, slicing and dicing their marketing dollars among many agencies and intentionally NOT naming an agency of record.
However, JP Morgan Chase just hired Vaynermedia as their agency of record. Guess what category? They are the agency of record for VOICE. Holy bananas!
That’s why I so firmly believe that the momentum we’re experiencing around voice is just the tip of the iceberg.
4 New Business Development Strategies That Are NOT Pie in The Sky
Strategy #1: Start a Podcast
My business right now is laser-focused on podcasting, so I might seem just a little biased, but the data is really there. We are not at peak podcasting yet, and this is another growth market.
I know that sometimes it can feel like every business owner on the planet now has a podcast and everyone is listening to podcasts. The truth is that there is plenty of room in this space AND listenership in podcasts continues to grow year over year. It is currently around 25 percent of the US population that listens to podcasts, up from 21 percent last year.
There is a huge amount of growth potential if your content is good.
Podcasting gives you numerous monetization opportunities from developing business relationships with your guests, to promoting products and services to your audience, to selling sponsorships to third party brands who want to pay you in order to be able to access your audience.
Strategy #2: Develop Alexa Flash Briefing and Skill
So if you log into your Amazon account, you’ll be able to access what Amazon calls the Alexa Skills Kit. Then you and your team can begin reviewing all the technical specifications that are involved in building out that skill.
I installed an Alexa skill recently and I saw that they were doing this, and thought it was really interesting. So I went along with it because I wanted to see behind the green curtain how it was being done.
If you set up a skill, you can require that somebody who wants to enable your skill must first link their account, which means they have to accept linkage to their Facebook account. Now, you as the marketer have access to their email address.
Strategy #3 Convert Blog Into Audio Content
Podcasts are not everyone’s thing. I get that. So if sitting in front of a microphone is a struggle – if you are more of a writer and you’ve spent time building your blog, use a service like Voxsnap. You can continue writing with excellence, and then leverage the power of voice through a text-to-audio service.
Strategy #4: Optimize Content for Voice
And lastly, you and your team need to get up to speed with the changes voice is having on search engine optimization. Growth in voice search means you need to create content differently and serve it up to Google differently if we want to continue driving organic traffic to our websites.
With voice search, Google delivers what is called a “Featured Snippet” in the search results. The featured snippet is the content that is ranked so high in the search results that Google tends to put it inside a box and it is typically the answer to a question you may have asked when searching.
So, if you score a featured snippet ranking for your content – you will not only be served up to searches who are using Google the traditional way – but you will also be served up first to voice searches and your content will be shared with them audibly.
Go Do It
The market is there, the opportunity is there, the strategies are there. I encourage you to take a closer look at how voice is fitting in to your business development strategy. Then think about making it an even bigger piece of the pie!