I hate the term “the new normal,” and you may too, but as much as I hate it, there’s no escaping that a new normal is upon us. And in this new normal, we’re challenged to find new, safe, engaging ways to connect with our customers and prospects.
If you’re looking for an efficient, safe way to:
- Build your customer relationship with personal, authentic connections
- Create valuable opt-in offers via voice assistants without spending weeks and thousands in development and planning
- Capitalize on the growing reach and usage of Voice Assistants
If any of these feel true to you, then the Voice Assistant Funnel (VAF) is for you.
What Is The Voice Assistant Funnel?
While you’re familiar with the various strategies for funneling in users into your flywheel via websites, landing pages, and mobile apps you’re likely just starting to hear and learn about driving engagement via Voice Assistants. Imagine the very best parts of all your other strategies combined with a personalized delivery that turns the whole experience into a verbal, auditory conversation. This is a Voice Assistant Funnel.
A recent study by Voxly Digital show’d how much voice experiences, delivered as Alexa Skills on Amazon Alexa or Actions on Google Assistant, can impact a customers relationship with a brand. Consumers report feeling a higher level of personal connection with brands when they can connect with and converse with their favorite brands via Voice Assistants.
It’s through this feeling of personal relationship combined with value and convenience that the Voice Assistant Funnel excels. VAF takes a user through a progressive journey, or conversation, with the intention of building authority, trust, and genuine belief in your brand. That journey or conversation ideally ends with a call to action such as make an appointment, talk to an advisor, or request more information.
To close your Voice Assistant Funnel, your call to action should integrate directly into your favorite CRM tools - HubSpot, Salesforce, Zoho - whatever your sales and marketing teams prefer.
Your VAF must have three key ingredients to successfully turn your average Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant devices into high-value, lead driving machines.
The Three Ingredients of Your Voice Assistant Funnel
While every Voice Assistant Funnel is unique to its brand and desired user experience, they all need three essential ingredients to be effective.
- Valuable Functionality
- Progressive Activity
- Authentic Sonic Branding
The super power of audio-driven interactions is that you could be washing dishes, playing a video game, or knitting while engaging with a voice-first, audio-first experience. With this in mind, you have a lot of options when it comes to checking off that first ingredient of your VAF recipe.
Delivering value should always be your top priority which is why it’s the number one ingredient for the success of your Voice Assistant Funnel. Providing something that makes the lives of your customers and prospects better is key to driving adoption, usage, and leads, via your VAF.
Create experiences that…
3.Help Executing Tasks
Of course, these are not the only ways to provide value BUT model after any one of these and you’re off to a good start.
With your voice experience, you also want to encourage repeat usage. It’s repeat usage that helps reenforce your brand authority and drives lead opportunities up. A great way of driving repeat usage is through progressive activity.
Think of “The 7 day fitness challenge” or “10 days to digital dominance” as voice experiences. Every time a user engages you offer them a way to progress through an activity, gain access to new content, or build themselves up. It’s through their repeat usage and progressions that you become a daily or weekly fixture to their routines. Your voice experience must build upon itself, open new opportunities for engagement, and provide the necessary level of value to become part of your users lives.
The final core ingredient is sonic branding. Sonic branding, put simply, is the “sound of you and your brand.” The tones of a whirlpool dishwasher, the start up logo sound of the Xbox, or the indistinguishable sound of the McDonalds logo.
Whether it’s your voice, a tone, or a jingle, you must sonically brand your voice experience and insure that the sonic branding stays intact regardless if a user is engaging via an Amazon Alexa Skill or an Action on Google Assistant. Wherever your users are engaging from should sound the same. It should sound like you and your brand.
Pitfalls To Avoid With Your Voice Assistant Funnels
Done right, the Voice Assistant Funnel delivers an authentic, value driving lead generating experience brands can leverage to grow their relationships - and their bottom line - for a long time. There are a few pitfalls to avoid, however, when implementing a Voice Assistant Funnel.
Never get greedy.
Never request information from users, whether verbally or through account linking*, that is not necessary for the core functionality of your voice experience. Only ask for a users personal information when required and in support of a specific action.
For example, you may ask for a users name and phone number in order to make an appointment or talk to an advisor. But you wouldn’t ask for a users email address if they were just getting today’s advice.
Much of what you ask and when has to do with experience design but the best rule of thumb is “if it’s not needed for the user experience, you don’t need to ask for it.”
Don't Overlook Cross-platform Requirements
The last thing you want to do is launch your voice application to Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant only to hit a TOS roadblock on one or the other that puts your voice experience back on to the drawing board.
Time To Launch - review and approval takes time
The process of reviewing your voice experience and approving it takes time - and their’s no set time. Different types of experiences can take longer to review than others. They can take longer to review on one platform versus another. It’s important to be mindful of this as you plan your marketing and awareness campaigns for your new Voice Assistant Funnel.
It’s not a one-and-done strategy
Once your voice experience is live, you should be starting to plan it’s next iteration or version. Think two moves ahead and how you're going to keep users coming back. Think of a voice experience like a TV show. To maximize your investment, you don’t just make one season. You want your voice experience to evolve over time and create even more value for users.
Your “10 day digital dominance challenge” may lead to your “3 day LinkedIn Marketing Bootcamp.” Or plan on updating the content of your voice experience in response to user behavior and feedback.
What you do not want to do is launch and forget. Don’t just launch your voice experience, throw a little marketing it’s way, then just let it stale out. You’ve built a brand building, lead generating machine in your voice experience - nurture it.
As long as you avoid the pitfalls above and focus on delivering a valuable experience, your Voice Assistant Funnel will become a long-term, value adding asset to your brand and your sales team.
The kind of experience you leverage for your VAF can take several forms and deploy different strategies. To help you figure out which strategy you want to leverage, we’ve put together a list of the 5 Strategies For Leveraging Voice Assistants To Increase Brand Awareness, Increase Engagement, And Drive Deeper Consumer Relationships. These examples are a great start to building your Voice Assistant Funnel.
While the Voice Assistant Funnel might feel a bit out of left field, it’s that very level of obscurity and novelty that creates such a massive opportunity for brands today. While the saturation level of Voice Assistants is incredibly high - I mean, they are everywhere - most businesses will not embrace them for some time. This is where the opportunity is for forward thinking, next-level brands who want to leverage new and engaging experiences to build their pipeline.
Voice Assistants are a fantastic channel for engagement growth today. Your Voice Assistant Funnel is a great first step to incorporating Voice Assistants into your consumer engagement strategy.