If you haven’t heard, voice-driven interactions are the next big thing of 2019-2020.
Voice search usage trends tell us it’s true. From mis-referenced quotes that say by 2020, 50% of ALL online searches will be through voice. Or the more legitimate stat that says 63% of US residents between the ages of 8-18 use voice search at least once per day.
It’s hard to ignore the importance of understanding how businesses must be prepared for this revolution of consumers no longer typing out their questions.
But before we take a look at how the 80s impacted voice search, there are a few components I would like to better define.
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For those of you not well versed in what I’m calling the next big thing in digital marketing, voice readiness really consists of three main components:
Search engines refer to how a voice-driven question is answered by a search engine, i.e. Google replying to your question of “where is the closest gas station?”
On-Site excludes search engines – and refers to how your business website(s) responds to and interacts with users visiting that site. Essentially, how does your site respond?
For example, if you pose a question at PowerChord.com today, it will ignore you as it has not been optimized to realize you are trying to interact with it through vocal questions/commands.
Applications are outside the worlds of both search engines and your own website – and some are large enough to be their own platform, such as Amazon’s Alexa, which runs on voice command application.
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Now, how was all of this NEW technology – some of which hasn’t event been fully released yet – already been solved in the 1980s?
Well, let’s jump into our Delorean, throw on our members only jacket, and recall the days when the US President was best known as an actor…
The 1980s saw a boom in an industry that was broken up over monopoly laws – telecoms (phone companies). Instead of a single Bell Telephone Company telling you what color (red, black, off-white) phone, you could rent (that’s right, you didn’t even own your home/business phone!), there were suddenly several Bell’s that sprang into operation.
This gave consumers more control over who supplied the phone service, phone devices, and rates (most importantly to this post, is the rates).
Now that competition was occurring, prices dropped for many services, such as long distance call rates. Businesses could now affordably call consumers for business pitches – ah yes, those beloved cold calls from call centers!
Over time, businesses started using more and larger call centers to reach out to consumers, which allowed for targeted consumer advertising through a device that was previously thought of as elite meaningful to phone owners (as it was expensive to use, which reduced who could afford it, and often was very personal in use such as a way to correspond with family/friends).
Businesses found that starting a call with a prepared message and having a prepared series of replies when a consumer rebutted the offer, worked best.
Call scripting was born, and it has subsequently influenced every consumer advertisement to this day. As any theme park knows best, every ride and experience is on rails, which is how you serve the masses efficiently, ensure the path it takes and controls the probability of the outcome in your favor.
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Voice and voice optimization for content and communication is simply the modern adaption of call scripting. This type of content/communication needed to be controlled on a set path, with a pre-set sequence of messages, all with a focused goal.
Today, content (written and coded) on websites will need to be built around the site’s goal for users and provided in a question and answer format.
People tend to over-communicate when speaking, and under communicate when writing/typing – due to the added motions involved.
This is why broad-based, single word search queries dominate search volumes. People prefer to start as simple as possible and then add specifics, for example, typing “shoes” when they’re actually looking for “Nike basketball shoes sizes 8-9 youth”. But, voice users speak in sentences and add many extra words.
So when you start planning for voice readiness, remember the grand old days of the 1980s and start off with call scripting methodologies.
It’ll give you a giant leap forward in providing meaningful voice interactions to your prospects and clients!
Ryan Turner is the Senior Vice President of Digital Marketing and guest contributor to the PowerChord blog. He is a proud dad of two and enjoys Philly cheese steaks with whiz.