Posted: 26 Nov 2018 Contributor: Therese Palmere
How to Use Alexa Skills in Interactive Content Marketing
Smart speakers and digital assistants are the new tech items that are revolutionizing digital connectivity for their users. From searches to reminders, and now video calls, these in-house gadgets are changing the way users accomplish their daily tasks at home. A large contributor to this shift in digital engagement is none other than the eCommerce giant, Amazon.
Amazon has played a huge role in the smart speaker revolution with its Echo series. According to a study done by Strategy Analytics, the Amazon Echo series accounts for over 63% of all smart speakers currently in use in the United States. What’s more is that, when asked, 54% of consumers said they would choose Amazon for their next smart speaker purchase!
With more and more users flocking to the Amazon Echo series by the day, the next step for brands is to familiarize themselves with this technology and develop their own tailor made Alexa content marketing strategy.
In this blog post, we’ll go over what you need to know about Alexa enabled devices and how you can navigate Alexa skills marketing for your business.
Alexa Skills Overview
If you’re going to be conducting marketing campaigns on the Amazon Echo series, you need to familiarize yourself with this technology. More specifically, you need to familiarize yourself with Alexa.
For starters, Alexa is an AI and cloud based voice service from Amazon. You can ask Alexa to do anything, from tell you the weather to schedule a meeting and even set a reminder for your doctor’s appointment. Thus far, Amazon has successfully sold over 50-million Alexa enabled devices and counting. With Black Friday here, we can only imagine how much that figure will rise.
Aside from being a rockstar digital assistant, Alexa has tons of extra features that marketers can utilize for their next Amazon Alexa marketing strategy. For instance, the capabilities that developers can utilize on the Amazon Echo Series that will allow them to offer more interactive voice elements to users are called Alexa Skills. You can prompt users to “enable” these skills by setting specific utterances that will cue Alexa to perform certain tasks. For brands, this means you will need to define what skills you want Alexa to have and the build them with Alexa Skills Kits.
Understanding Alexa Skills Kits and Models
As defined by Amazon:
The Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) is a collection of self-service APIs, tools, documentation, and code samples that makes it fast and easy for you to add skills to Alexa. ASK enables designers, developers, and brands to build engaging skills and reach customers through tens of millions of Alexa-enabled devices. With ASK, you can leverage Amazon’s knowledge and work in the field of voice design.
The Alexa Skills Kit is where brands can develop custom Alexa Skills that consumers can then use to interact with their business while using Alexa enabled devices. For example, if you want users to be able to order from your restaurant, this is where you go; if you want users to be able to pull up information from your website, this is where you go; if you want users to be able to access your new single, this is where you go.
Keep in mind that different skills require different Skill Models for support, which help define how your newly created Alexa Skills will be integrated into the Alexa service. Alexa Skills Models are where you go to develop your skills.
Below is a table with the different Alexa Skill Models, what they do, and what skills they support:
Custom Interaction Model
You define the requests the skill can handle (intents) and the words users say to invoke those requests (utterances).
Smart Home Skill API
The Smart Home Skill API defines the requests the skill can handle (device directives) and the words users say to invoke those requests (utterances).
Video Skill API
The Video Skill API defines the requests the skill can handle (device directives) and the words users say to invoke those requests (utterances).
Flash Briefing Skill API
The Flash Briefing Skill API defines the words users say to invoke the flash briefing or news request (utterances) and the format of the content so that Alexa can provide it to the customer.
A skill that provides original content for a customer's flash briefing.
Music Skill API
When you build a music skill, the voice interaction model is defined and handled for you. Alexa interprets user utterances and sends messages to your skill that communicate these requests.
A skill that enables users to select, listen to, and control audio content streamed through an Alexa-enabled device.
How to Use Alexa Skills in Amazon Promotions
Running Alexa Skills on Amazon promotions can be anything, from sending your network a voice memo, to offering discounts for all products bought through voice. How you want to integrate your content marketing plan into voice technology through Amazon Alexa is entirely up to you and can be determined based on what skills you develop for your brand.
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Voice Search Optimization is particularly important for when you’re looking to promote content across Amazon with Alexa because those keywords and utterances are how users will access it. Be sure to review your voice SEO to ensure your users are accessing the correct content with specific terms through your Amazon Echo marketing campaign.
How to Use Alexa Skills in a Content Marketing Plan
Promoting content on voice-enabled devices is a new phenomenon that marketers need to master because voice technology is the future of digital connectivity. While it may seem starkly different from written content, you’ll find that there are many similarities between your original content marketing plan and your Amazon Alexa content marketing plan.
The basics require the same thing, quality written content, and below are a couple tips you can use to streamline your content marketing strategies for written and voice success:
- Brand your Alexa Skills and your Utterances
When deciding on the words you want your users to utter to activate certain Alexa skills, use keywords that pertain to your business. Include an appropriate amount of branding with your Alexa Skills to enforce, but not oversaturate your brand. Remember that you want each skill to be purposeful and valuable—don’t include branding terms where it doesn’t make sense to because, at the end of the day, those utterances still need to activate a skill. Make sure to also integrate the keywords where it makes sense. Lastly, according to Amazon Blogger, Alexa King, you want to showcase your Alexa Skills through social media and “[s]hare how your skill makes a task faster, easier, or more delightful with voice.”
- Create an Alexa Skill your audience can interact with daily
Alexa Skills are already meant to help engage your audience, but creating a specific skill that benefits users on a daily basis is one way to organically improve your Alexa Skills marketing. Creating a skill meant for daily usage will not only increase your engagement but your brand awareness as well. You can also do various things with this, such as creating content for a morning podcast or curating songs on a daily playlist your users can listen to. You can even create something like what Gary Vaynerchuk, American entrepreneur, did: an Alexa Skill users can download to listen to motivational quotes.
Hopefully this post has shown you how to navigate Alexa with Amazon Skills marketing, and how to promote Alexa Skills at the same time. To make sure everything sticks, be sure to read and reread everything, or you can take a look at the abbreviated version below:
- Alexa Skills are meant to be determined by developers and marketers.
- Alexa Models are where brands can go to develop their Alexa Skills, based on capabilities and skill support.
- Using Alexa Skills for Amazon Promotions can vary depending on what skills your business would like to develop.
- Integrating your Alexa Skills into a content marketing plan can mean branding your skills with specific utterances.
- It can also mean creating content specifically for Alexa enabled devices.
Good luck and remember to check back here for updates on more Alexa skills marketing!