The call to action is a key component of content that converts. It also gives you something to measure. With more traditional forms of content, like blog posts and social media, it’s easy to articulate your CTA: Visit this webpage. Sign up for that financial newsletter. Download this industry guide. Then you measure how many people visited the page, signed up for the newsletter or downloaded the guide.
But voice-first search results don’t allow for visiting, signing up or downloading. Some devices, like Google Home and Amazon Echo, let the consumer send a search result to their phone or tablet, but the extra step makes it difficult for content marketers to track conversion. Measuring results is tricky enough with traditional content.
So how can you do it on voice?
Bret Kinsella, publisher and research director at voicebot.ai, says we need to stop trying to use the same KPIs for voice that we use for other content. He likens websites to cathedrals, and social media and landing pages to the bazaars we built around our cathedrals to feed people into them.
“Content marketers who attempt to cram voice into their cathedral, to simply imitate their website and track to similar metrics, will quickly become frustrated. Voice is different,” says Kinsella. “Sometimes voice experiences will be about new user velocity combined with conversion and other times they will be about the level of engagement. In fact, user attention per session as a corollary for engagement is often much better on voice than you will ever see on the web.
“If so,” adds Kinsella, “what is that value, and how can you measure it? Are there new metrics you need to set up? Content marketers need to start thinking about how they can define success within a voice-only environment, and they should design their voice apps to align with those objectives.”
We got this, content marketers. Just as we did with the internet, social and mobile, in the end we’ll figure out what metrics to measure for voice and how to track them.
Budget for disruption.
Even if it takes years for content marketers to hash out the right metrics and ways to evaluate them, Track recommends setting aside 1 to 2 percent of your marketing budget now to try innovative and disruptive ideas. “We’re not talking millions of dollars,” she says. “We’re talking about a small amount of money that every marketer, I think, should set aside for disruptive technologies if they want to be a modern marketer.”
Newton agrees that content marketers need to stay on the cutting edge—and that this sometimes requires taking risks.
“It’s always good to be aware of new things, reading about them and running experiments,” he says. “Voice is large, and it’s growing fast, so businesses should double down on what they’re doing with content marketing for voice.”
Bonus: How Cigna found its voice on Alexa
Setting aside 1 to 2 percent of your marketing budget for disruption and revamping your current content to be more voice-friendly are easy and economical ways to get started. But if you want to be a leader in the voice revolution, consider creating content specifically for voice.
Alexa Skills and Google Actions are the voice equivalent of apps that people can install on their devices, which give those devices more capabilities and access to more websites and information. They’re not difficult to develop: You consider a need that your brand can fulfill in a voice-only environment and build your action or skill using the relevant voice assistant’s developer platform.
That’s what health insurance company Cigna did with its Answers by Cigna Alexa Skill. The skill launched in March 2018 with answers to 150 common consumer questions, such as “What’s a formulary?” Within a few months, the skill garnered 3,142 users, 11 five-star customer reviews and tons of media attention. “We were not expecting the media reaction we got,” says Rowena Track, former global vice president of digital for Cigna and current CEO of iVitalité. “That was very positive.” By September, Cigna had expanded Answers by Cigna to 250 questions and answers.
Before she moved to her new company, Track had been working on a road map for Answers by Cigna to answer Medicare-related questions—proving that voice marketing isn’t just for millennials, even though research from CapTech reports that 53 percent of smart-speaker owners are millennials or younger, and 32 percent are Gen Xers. “All you need to have is a voice, and most people have a voice,” says Track. “For seniors, who may have dexterity and mobility issues, voice is a very attractive application to offer information and to engage them.
“We made our information available in as many channels as we can. Some people prefer to call the call center, some prefer to engage us on voice and everything in between,” says Track. The benefits are many: Answers by Cigna is showing consumers that the company is progressive, innovative and customer-centric.
“Answers by Cigna was a huge brand moment for us,” says Track.