Consider just how important voice has become in our everyday lives:

  • An estimated 50% of all searches will be voice searches in 2020.1
  • The number of smart speakers in U.S. households grew 78% in one year.2
  • 65% of people who own an Amazon Echo or Google Home can't imagine going back to the days before they had a smart speaker.3

 

When we talk about "voice" we are referring to the ability to process voice commands and conversations without the use of a screen. While this technology seems like new ground, voice tech has been developing (and improving) for more than a decade. Google pioneered in this space with Google Voice in 2008. Apple introduced Siri into its iOS platform in 2011 and opened it up to developers in 2018. Alexa from Amazon came on the scene in 2014 at about the same time as Microsoft's Cortana.

Branded voice software, or “virtual assistants” have been applied to just about any device you can connect to the internet. Phones, laptops, tablets, speakers, appliances, vehicles, headphones, TVs, dedicated devices like Google Home and Alexa are only a start to this growing list.  

How is voice being used in B2B?

Gordon Food Service, a distributor, has rolled out a digital assistant called “Gordon Now,” which allows foodservice operators to get information through an app, online chat or through a digital hands-free device called Gordon Now Voice. Built on the Google Assistant platform, the Gordon voice assistance allows operators to place orders in the kitchen without halting food prep or other kitchen operations to get out their phone or go to a computer.

 

 

How should you be using voice?

Voice is changing the way search works and creating new marketing possibilities. Here are some things to keep in mind:

 

  • SEO Strategy—Voice search is impacting SEO. Natural language is structured differently than keyword-based searches (i.e. we’d ask our voice assistant “What’s the best restaurant in Milwaukee” not “best restaurants in Milwaukee”). How you present content should reflect these changes. For example, using a FAQ headline setup that is more sentence-based instead of a traditional keyword-centric headline setup (“What is vSEO?” vs. “vSEO) can potentially help visibility as we live into the voice era.
  • Content Strategy—Consider voice as part of your website content strategy. How do you optimize a piece of content so Siri or Google offers you as a first result? A lot of folks are turning their focus to “featured snippets” or the boxes at the top of Google search pages.
  • Helpful Tools—Consider incorporating voice-powered tools into your native apps or stand-alone voice apps as a way to extend customer service. This could allow a user to open your app (or tell Google to open your app) and get recipe ideas, food pairings, and regional trends or deliver voice memos to staff—all without tapping a button.
  • eCommerce—Voice should be a natural extension of your eCommerce. See the Starbucks Alexa app for a great example of this in action. This could include reordering, order management, order history and could even help with pantry inventory.

 

This is an important part of every marketer’s toolset. We'd love to help you bring voice into your marketing mix in useful and delightful ways.

 

See 4 other ways to improve your business through tech.

 

 

1ComScore: <(https://seotribunal.com/blog/voice-search-facts-stats/)>. 

2Edison/NPR 2017 (to 118.5M) Edison/NPR.

3Voicebot.ai SEO Report, July 2019.

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