4 Ways to Reach Customers Through Their Smart Speakers

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Smart speaker owners want to hear from their favorite brands, but you’ll have to get creative to reach them.

The smart speaker industry is growing exponentially. TechCrunch reports that 146.9 million devices were sold globally in 2019, which is up 70% from the previous year. The volume of speakers sold is significant for marketers, but the most important manufacturers, Google and Amazon, don’t allow direct advertising through their units. How can brands bridge that gap and reach consumers through these hot new devices?

Despite the lack of advertising space available, Google research suggests that 52% of smart speaker owners would like to hear about deals, sales and promotions through their devices. In addition, 42% of users would appreciate information on upcoming events.

So, how can your brand reach these people who say they want to hear from you? Here’s how you can get creative and find new ways to use this technology to your advantage.

1. Advertise on podcasts

Podcasts are everywhere, with Edison Research and Triton Digital estimating that 32% of the American population has listened to at least once in the past month. That number equals about 90 million people.

With so many consumers listening to podcasts, it’s no surprise that a multitude of them exist. It’s challenging to track down accurate numbers because new podcasts start daily, but Podcast Insights believes there are about 900,000 podcasts actively broadcasting in 2020. About 49% of podcast listening takes place at home, a significant portion of which is through smart speakers. For marketers, these numbers mean there is nearly an unlimited opportunity to connect with customers via podcast sponsorships.

Unlike radio or other forms of traditional broadcasting, podcasts tend to have a dedicated listener base that strongly identifies with the program. Brands that put in the work to identify podcasts that resonate with your target audience and align with their products and brand values are rewarded with some of the most dedicated audiences on the internet. Fans spend hours and hours with their favorite podcasts, and strongly consider the companies that sponsor them.

2. Develop an Alexa skill

If advertising on podcasts doesn’t provide a broad enough reach or allow you to communicate with your intended audience, you might consider developing a skill for Amazon Alexa smart speakers.

Alexa skills are essentially apps that consumers enable on their smart speakers to interact with brands directly. They allow you to provide offers, tips and other information directly to subscribers’ smart speakers. And since those listeners elected to activate your skill, you can count on them being interested in your products or services.

There are some drawbacks to Alexa skills, however. First, you have to develop them, which takes some specialized knowledge — although no more than shooting video or rolling out a smartphone app. You should also invest marketing time and dollars making sure the target audience knows your app exists.

Skills should be launched with a strategy and supported by other marketing to get the best ROI.

3. Attain the featured snippet

Perhaps the most effective method to reach your audience through smart speakers is capturing Rank Zero for a highly relevant, specific search term.

When someone asks their smart speaker a question, it finds the answer in the featured snippet from a relevant website and gives that website credit for the information. If you’re able to get the featured snippet for a common question in your industry, which you can do through careful search engine optimization, more consumers will become aware of your brand through search.

Featured snippets are more about brand awareness than your sales funnel, so you’ll have to follow up to improve your numbers.

4. Create a Voice Activated Call to Action campaign

A highly efficient way of reaching your customers via smart speakers is through a Voice Activated Call to Action (VACTA) campaign by Respond Fast. This form of advertising takes the opposite approach of the other methods we’ve discussed: Rather than trying to reach consumers through their speakers, you encourage them to ask their speakers about you.

VACTAs work in conjunction with your offline marketing. You present users with offers in a variety of offline formats, including direct mail, television, and radio, that they can access via Respond Fast on their smart speakers. Respond Fast then sends information or an offer to your customers’ smartphones, which they can access at a more convenient time.

This technology is efficient. You don’t have to hope the right people are listening like with a podcast, go through the effort of developing a skill or deal with Google’s search engine algorithms. Instead, you have full control over whom you target with your marketing and the message they receive.

Check out our contact page for more information on Respond Fast’s Voice Activated Call to Action technology or to begin your first campaign for free.

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