When someone has a burning question, do they head to the library, pick up an encyclopedia and begin reading — or do they simply ask Alexa? AI and voice search technology are transforming the way consumers look for information online, which has major ramification for those in the marketing industry.
How can digital marketers keep up with changing technology and keep their brand at the top of search listings? Doing so requires both art and science, but with a little training, they can make AI and voice search their new best friends. Here’s how.
1. Voice Search
Voice search is an incredible tool nearly any consumer with a smartphone can access anywhere on demand. All they need do is say, “Hey, Siri,” or address the digital assistant on their Android phone to find the answers they seek.
Because of this, the way people search for information proves more natural. Instead of simply typing a few key terms into the search bar and hoping for the best, people address their digital assistants the way they would a friend. For example, they may say, “Alexa, what’s the average price of tea in China,” instead of hopping on Google and typing in “oolong, China.”
As a result, previous techniques like keyword stuffing work less effectively than long-form keywords that flow like natural language. This benefits marketers tremendously because there are billions of long-tail keyword combinations to choose from. While smaller numbers of searches match the exact key phrase, the amount of closely related ones can add up to results comparable to one or two solid keywords.
2. Voice-Changing SEO
How can marketers research long-tail keywords for SEO purposes? Can they balance their approach to suit the needs of both internet searchers and those asking digital assistants?
To answer the second question first, a balanced strategy works best. For example, when comparing traditional head keywords with long-tail, the head variety has a lot of competition but delivers a high traffic volume, even though ultimate conversion rates remain low. However, with long-tail keywords, There is little competition and a high conversion rate, although not as much traffic. Using both techniques allows marketers to reap double the benefits.
When researching long-tail keywords, it’s best to start with what people type into a company’s site. The website needs a search function that lets marketers track phrases visitors on all types of platforms enter. They also can turn to Google and use potential keywords to see the number and types of hit received. When they discover a phrase with few results, it’s time to create content to drive those searching the same information to the site.
3. Local Search Results
One proven method for drawing more customers from online advertising is getting listed in local search results. To do so, it helps to know how Google determines which sites rank highest in local searches:
- The business information on a website needs to be as accurate as possible. The hours of operation and location must be easy to find, including a map on the contact page.
- Privacy aficionados despise location searches, but most people never bother to turn off such services on their phones. Plus, home users keep location activated for security purposes. Google calculates distance from the potential customer using such technology.
- This measures how well-known a business is online. Here’s where content marketing comes into play, as the more people cross-link to material, the more credible the Google ranking becomes.
4. Improved Customer Service
Voice and AI have the potential to take customer service to new heights. Imagine if someone arrives at a hip new restaurant they’re dying to try only to discover the wait for a table stretches an hour or more. This is not fun when the person is famished and their date is disappointed.
For example, voice allows users to search for available restaurant reservations near them. This can help restaurateurs streamline customer management. Instead of crossing reservations off in a book, meaning staff must leave existing clients to answer phones, customers themselves can modify or cancel them online. This keeps personnel on the floor checking on current needs instead of interrupting flow to manage reservations.
5. Better Marketing Research
Marketing research can prove fun with the use of voice and AI. If someone is not using voice devices, what are they waiting for? There’s no need to invest in a home system, but putting one in the office makes keyword research as easy as asking Alexa increasingly tougher follow-up questions.
Additionally, AI can prove a boon by helping market researchers make better use of existing data and remove bias from the process. It can automatically ask follow-up questions and present secondary research data in an organized, easy-to-interpret fashion. AI also can help route online chat support to the appropriate agent to answer their questions.
6. Paid Results Are Changing
If a company pays to rank highly in search results, it may wish to rethink its strategy. First, it should run a 30-day lookback period to see how much voice search traffic it receives already. Then, the business must analyze the negatives, as this can help weed out irrelevant results. Finally, the keyword tool of choice can be used to help develop ones users ask their digital devices to help them find a company’s services.
7. Integrating Content and Influencers
Most businesses today advertise on social media, but are they doing so effectively? Given changing technology, there are likely ways to improve making connections with influencers.
Influencers are social media mavens with high numbers of followers. They’re invaluable because they offer word-of-mouth advertising other users trust. Most people prefer a recommendation from someone they know, even if only through social media, then they do from online reviews, although they rely heavily on these as well.
To find influencers, look for popular social media figures who produce similar content and reach out to them. Comment on their blogs and posts. Send them a message, and begin building a rapport.
8. Taking Influence to the Next Level
Once marketers identify a team of influencers, it’s time to harness their power to take efforts to new heights. They can be hired to produce content directly or partnered with. Provide special discounts they can offer through their sites as well as contests and giveaways. Remember, turnabout is fair play — if they agree to feature a product, do them a solid by sharing their content as well.
Contests can be used to find new influencers and customers, too. For example, to enter a giveaway, marketers can require users to enter their name, email address, and cellphone number. Using AI technology, they can then automate messages and calls to action that send automatically at specified intervals. Readers may not open every email, but seeing content in their inbox regularly builds brand recognition and keeps a company in the front of their minds.
AI even can use predictive search technology to identify when specific customers are ready to buy based on their online behavior. This information can be used to reach out on a more personal level, perhaps by making a phone call.
Using Voice and AI to Market More Effectively
Voice and AI technology mean marketers need to adjust their strategy to reach the largest customer base. However, in every challenge, an opportunity awaits. Changing tech offers companies the ability to reach an even broader audience to boost sales.
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