In the first article of the VoiceTech series: ‘Voice technology: more than a buzzword?’ the basics of this new and exciting technology were discussed. In the second article, ‘Why you should start with Voice Commerce today’, we took a deeper dive into Voice Commerce and elaborated on why you should start with it today. In this third and last article in our voice technology series we will explore the ‘how to’ side of voice technology and guide you through the first steps you can take to start seizing the opportunities that this exciting technology brings to the table. But let’s first take a step back and look at the bigger picture, and how can we do this better than with a short history class?
Web 4.0: reinventing the web as we know it
Web 1.0 was born around 1994. It was called the information web because websites only showed information - there was no interaction at all. After the turn of the century, Web 2.0 saw the light. This was also known as the ‘Social Web’ because interaction became possible. Social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube arose and popularized the World Wide Web. From 2010 on, the Web evolved to Web 3.0 - the Semantic Web. Alongside reading and interacting, this third stage of the Web added an additional layer: an intelligent connection between humans and machines, providing tailored advertising possibilities, among other things. At this very moment the World Wide Web is moving to the next phase: Web 4.0. This is known as the Intelligent Web, providing users with virtual reality, the Internet of Things (IoT) and personal assistants. Your VoiceTech solution will secure its place in this fourth chapter of Web history books.
Companies in Benelux are getting started
Over the last couple of months we had interesting talks with different companies around their voice strategy. A few of them are starting their first POCs (Proof Of Concepts). Belgian and especially Dutch companies have already been quite productive concerning voice, and they are doing the right thing! First-mover advantages in VoiceTech are substantial. De Telegraaf, QMusic, Media Markt, Eneco, Essent, ING, Rabobank, Buienradar, Bol.com - all have added voice to their touchpoints to boost customer satisfaction and simplify ordering processes, amongst other things. KLM even launched four VoiceTech tools at once: a travel recommendation tool, a departure planner, a booking tool and a tool that helps you to pack your luggage. And all these tools have one thing in common: they are launched on the Google ecosystem. This is because Google Home supports Dutch and Amazon’s Alexa doesn’t. Besides this, the market share of Apple’s HomePod and Microsoft Cortana (via third-party Smart Speaker brands) is just too limited at this moment (respectively 1.3% and 5% according to Voicebot.ai).
VoiceTech: three best practices
Although VoiceTech-minded professionals are still only in the beginning of exploring the possibilities and opportunities smart speakers bring, there are already some best practices available. Let us guide you through three of our favorites.
- Audio DNA / Language Identity
We believe that this upcoming subcategory of VoiceTech is so important that we have already implemented it in our Voice Canvas. In short, Audio DNA and Language Identity are all about the voice your VoiceTech solution uses. There should be a voice-brand fit and that is not easy. Think about it. Should the voice be male or female? What kind of personality should it have? Do you want it to be a princess or a construction worker? What should the intonation of the voice be? And what kind of vocabulary should be used? Finding and optimizing a voice that customers trust and positively link your brand to is a big challenge but can be a key success factor.
- Smart displays
Smart displays are just smart speakers with a screen (mostly around the size of a tablet). This is a fast-growing market as a screen provides its user with some clear advantages. Enabling video calls and TV shows are two obvious ones. Next to this, a screen makes it easier and more efficient to briefly explain or show certain things. Think about showing traffic updates on a map or showing different kinds of products (e.g. shoes) you are interested in. Your VoiceTech solution should take this into account. If you are providing users with the possibility to buy something or want them to perform a more complicated action, this opens a whole new range of possibilities.
Doubting whether this will actually become a reality? Only last month Google, Amazon and Facebook launched smart displays. Google released its Home Hub with a modest 7-inch screen while Amazon launched the 2nd generation of its popular Show Speaker with a 10.1-inch screen. Facebook also started to participate in the VoiceTech battle by launching the Facebook Portal (10.1 inch) and Portal Plus (15.6 inch).
- SEO strategy
Using search on desktop or mobile is totally different than voice search. Imagine you want to get a haircut. On a desktop or mobile you’ll probably use keywords like ‘hairdresser, ‘hairdresser + location’, ‘hairdresser opening hours’ or ‘hairdresser appointment’. Using voice search this changes: ‘Okay Google, I want to make an appointment at the hairdresser’ or ‘Alexa, which hairdressers are still open tonight?’ are more common in this situation. To tackle this difference in keywords you should optimize your SEO and SEA strategy for voice. This is not that difficult. Find the long-tail keywords that people use to search for your product, service category or business, and adapt your strategy to this. There are different ways of tackling this: market research (short customer survey) and online tools such as Google Trends or Ubersuggest are already a good start.
How to kickstart your VoiceTech solution
Wondering how to kickstart your VoiceTech solution? First step is to download our Voice Canvas, available as an (early) free Christmas gift at the end of this article. In this canvas you’ll find concrete guidelines to take your first steps in the magical world of VoiceTech. Do you still have burning questions, or do you want to pitch or brainstorm your VoiceTech solution? Feel free to get in touch. The coffee’s on us!
Want to know more about voice technology?
Wondering how voice technology will evolve? And what’s in it for your brand and for you as a marketer? Is there already such a thing as voice commerce? And how can you seize the opportunities smart speakers bring to the table?
Register for our 3-part article series and discover the ins and outs of voice technology.
References: Carike Loretz, KLM, Emerce, Techcrunch, Wired, Revlocal, Digital Trends