Use Alexa to Win More Family Consumers (before your competition does it!)

By Kirsten Cutshall and Caroline Bolano

Amazon Alexa Flash Briefings offer a new medium to get into your target audience’s homes every day.

The Flash Briefing Skill is an addition to the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) that allows consumers to add content like news stories and jokes to their feeds. Users can say phrases like "Alexa, give me my Flash Briefing" or "Alexa, tell me the news,” and Alexa can deliver pre-recorded audio clips and text-to-speech updates for consumers. This feature can become a part of a consumer's daily routine as they get ready for work or school, or wind down at the end of day.

According to TechCrunch, over 39 million Americans now own a smart speaker. Amazon Alexa is in the lead for the biggest share of the smart speaker market, with Google Home as a distant second. Targeting consumers with relevant content to their Flash Briefing is a great way for marketers to expand their market and increase brand awareness.

Families want more Alexa content.

Amazon Alexa is in millions of American homes, and families are really starting to talk to Alexa more and more each day. According to TechCrunch, 51% of Amazon Alexa users said they use their smart speaker more often now than they did the first month they had it.

Brands have a huge opportunity to win consumers by getting started now.

Consumers' adoption of smart speaker technology is outpacing the rate at which brand advertisers are adopting this technology, which means now is the time to get in on the ground floor. A study conducted by ComScore predicts that 50% of all searches will be accomplished via voice search in 2020. With fresh, relevant, targeted content, your brand can attract and inspire listeners that will make up your customer base for years to come.

Increase your brand’s value without a media buy.

Much like TV and radio, Flash Briefings offer the opportunity for brand personality to shine. Marketers need to establish loyalty and trust with their consumers to create brand likability. This can be accomplished by providing relevant and valuable content to target audiences.

Right now, content that people like falls into two main categories - helpful and interactive. For example, Tide Stain Remover used the Alexa Skill Kit for content marketing that was helpful for consumers. The brand provided step-by-step voice instructions to clean over 200 kinds of stains, establishing trust and value with consumers. Purina dog food also utilized the Alexa Skills Kit where the brand provided information for aspiring or current dog owners’ dog-related questions such as “which dogs are the most kid friendly?”

Brands can that publish compelling, relevant and audience-centric content that people want to consume are seen as valuable. Here’s how brands can accomplish this:

For existing customers, send them to Alexa for a deeper brand interaction.

How-to’s, guides, FAQs, and lists of new or different ways customers can use products that they have already purchased can build stronger relationships between consumers and brands. Consumers can find out on packaging that Alexa content is available for products. Those practical bits of user-centered information will not only support your current customers, but can prompt new ones to make their first purchase.

Reuse evergreen content as a voice to increase ROI per piece.

If you have some content that was published months or even years ago, you may be able to reuse it. Pick items that are still relevant and accurate, and you can reuse that content for your Alexa flash briefings, search results or skills.

Choose pieces of content that enrich your customers’ connection to your brand or their understanding of your products. Since the content already exists, your investment of time and money to create the new version of Alexa audio content will be minimal, your risk in the new medium will be low, and you’ll be extending the return on your original content investment.

Gain additional exposure for new products.

It’s important to fill your Alexa flash briefings or search results with interesting facts, cool statistics, and hot news. There’s definitely room for the occasional product push, but don’t oversell. Consider these guidelines:

  • Newsy or entertaining, not salesy.
  • Maintain a customer focus, instead of a product focus.
  • Use simple language and a light, entertaining tone.
  • Offer a link or destination for more information.

How do you increase your audience with this channel? By giving them what they want to hear.

GeekWire quotes Jennifer Strachan, Chief Content Officer of KUOW, saying, “The biggest hurdle for anyone developing content for this platform is to understand what the audience wants from us in this space.”

It’s not easy to determine what your listeners want, which makes it tricky to enter this marketing arena. To be a first mover, you have to experiment and learn. You already know what people liked on your blog, so start with your best existing content.

Hold the customers’ attention.

Alexa plays a user’s selected flash briefings in a row, one after another. If a user doesn’t enjoy the briefing that’s playing, he or she can tell Alexa to skip it. You don’t want your company’s briefing to be the one that gets skipped!

To make your flash briefing more appealing to listeners, choose a speaker with a pleasant “radio voice” and good verbal skills. Start the briefing with a thought-provoking question, a joke, a quotation, or an announcement. That way you’ll keep your audience’s attention long enough to draw them into the core of your content.

Keep your listener engaged with your brand.

Always, always include a simple, easy-to-follow call to action at the end of the flash briefing. Your customers need to know where to go to get more information, for follow-up questions, or to purchase a product. If you drew your briefing from a blog post or longer podcast, tell them where to find the rest of the post. Keep the URLs short, simple, and easy to remember.

Building up your listeners.

The most important metrics related to Alexa flash briefings are the subscription numbers. You’ll start small, with a handful of subscribers; but if you’re doing things right, your numbers should climb slowly. You can tie your flash briefings to promotions on your Facebook page, Twitter feed, or other social media channels to boost subscriber numbers — or you can wait to let them grow naturally and see how many people find your flashing briefing on their own.

Steel brings together data, technology, creative and influence to deliver spectacular growth for brands that are marketing to the American family. Working side-by-side with client marketing teams and in-house agencies, Steel extends your leverage by contributing strategy, creativity, bandwidth and best practices. For healthcare, education, government and CPG clients especially, Steel’s full service, integrated agency capabilities and knowledge of marketing automation makes ideas possible and execution practical. Call Steel with your marketing challenges, and if we are not the right fit, we will point you in the right direction.

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