Making yourself heard

Chris Ashton, director of Time54 Marketing, discusses voice technology.

Voice technology is still in its infancy, with voice recognition devices such as the Google Home or Amazon Echo starting to control our homes (and lives) over the past year or two.

But one thing is clear, voice marketing and the technology behind it is sure to change the landscape of businesses, disrupt search marketing, and impact how organisations connect with their audiences.

The adoption of digital marketing is increasing within the building and interiors sectors. Companies are creating better digital marketing communications with an ever-increasing choice of channels to choose from. Product manufacturers, architects, interior designers, contractors and other industry professionals have an abundance of digital platforms to help them communicate with customers and potential customers.

One such channel or tactic is search engine optimisation. We think (and highly recommend) that SEO and harnessing the power of the internet should be central to any digital marketing strategy. By flexing your SEO muscles you’ll gain increased levels of lead generation and customer acquisition, as well as increased brand awareness.

Currently, optimising rich content and website on-page factors is critical for high search engine rankings, and as a result increased traffic. However, with no screens on voice recognition devices, such on-page optimisation factors become obsolete.

When you ask Google or Alexa to find you a recommended exterior cladding manufacturer, how does it determine which companies to tell you? And why does it choose them? This is where voice technology and optimising your website, content and brand for voice recognition devices is important to carve out a competitive advantage.

Voice recognition devices are prioritising the featured snippet results in a search query. The featured snippet is the brief extract of text and an image at the top of a search engine result, whether it’s Google, Bing, Yahoo or another search engine. This emphasises the importance of gaining the top spot in search engine results. The content also needs to be more conversational-based, as users will converse with voice recognition devices in a much more natural manner than previous typed searches. As a result, companies need to optimise their content and establish a voice for their brand that resonates with their audience.

SEO strategies need to adapt and it is important to optimise website content for different types of searches. Google itself says more than 20% of all searches are already voice-led, and will reach 50% by 2020.

Social media was the last big medium to break down barriers between companies and audiences. Voice technology is sure to be the next watershed moment where brands can get closer to their audiences.

The effects of voice technology are not really known yet, but it is accepted that it will disrupt search marketing and how businesses (and individuals) function.

By adopting voice technology within a digital marketing strategy, organisations and brands within the buildings and interiors sectors can create a competitive advantage as an early adopter of the technology.