Do you remember The Clapper? There's a good chance you at least remember their catchy jingle: "Clap on! <clap, clap=""> Clap off! <clap, clap="">."</clap,></clap,>
In the late 80s and early 90s, The Clapper was the peak of home technology. All you had to do was clap twice, and your lamp would spring to life.
It was a simpler time, to say the least.
Now, our homes are filled with all sorts of technology — smart speakers, smart thermostats, even video doorbells we can use to talk to the delivery person while sitting miles away at our office desks.
As of 2018, more than 40% of Americans owned a smart speaker. By 2023, an estimated 8 billion people will use voice-activated search.
It's kind of a big deal.
Here's the thing: voice technology has already impacted marketing, and many marketers are changing the way they do SEO.
But, they aren't talking about how voice technology could change the way businesses find, nurture, and convert leads.
It is time to change that. Here is what you need to know about what voice technology is, why it matters, and how it could impact effective lead generation strategies.
What is voice technology, and why does it matter?
Voice technology is the ability of machines or computer programs to recognize and respond to the human voice. For example, when you tell Alexa to play a song or ask Google what time the game is, you're using voice technology. If you use a plugin to read a blog post to you, you are using voice technology.
The field has been growing for years, and marketers have been debating its importance for years.
However, two things are becoming increasingly clear — voice technology (especially voice search) is here to stay and it's transforming the way businesses market themselves online.
Here are a few reasons why voice technology matters:
- People speak a search differently than they type: If you want to find a pizza place, for example, you might type "pizza place near me." By voice search, however, you'd likely say, "Hey Siri, can you find a pizza place nearby that uses vegan cheese?" Voice searches are longer and less precise.
- Voice search means users don't actually see the search results: If you are the third or fourth result, your business may as well not exist. This also means that visual cues for branding, like colors and logos, could carry less weight.
- Voice searchers don't usually fill out forms: Traditional inbound lead generation efforts like ebook downloads or email sign-ups may no longer be as effective in generating leads.
- Voice technology can help sales teams work more efficiently: Sales teams can use voice technology to keep CRMs up to date, reach out to leads, and improve the accuracy of their data.
Driving leads is always a challenge — but voice search could make it a whole lot more difficult. So, how can you prepare your lead generation efforts for a voice search future?
How voice technology will change lead generation efforts in the coming years
Marketers have a habit of calling any change the "death" of the industry. (SEO, for example, has apparently been dead or dying since 1997.)
I am not here to tell you that lead generation is dying, don't worry. But it is changing.
Here are a few trends that are worth paying attention to if you want to stay competitive:
Retargeting may become more important than ever
People who use voice technology will never actually see your website. That means if you are relying on lead generation tactics like email sign ups, chatbots, and announcement bars, your lead generation tactics could fall flat for voice technology users.
But retargeting can help. Unfortunately, Google and Bing don't separate out voice searches in their analytics, but you can use retargeting to find users in your core audience and turn them into leads.
Complicated forms may become a thing of the past
As more searchers use voice to navigate the web, businesses may need to re-think the forms they use for lead generation. Forms can be filled out by voice (via a speech recognition software), however complex forms with dozens of questions are likely to frustrated users — and result in fewer leads.
Rather than using long forms for lead generations, it may be more effective to gather leads with a smaller task — such as an email address — and gather information over time through your CRM or by tracking their behavior on your website.
People are likely to prefer voice content over written content
Searchers who use voice to search aren't likely to switch to a computer to consume content. They want an answer now.
Older lead generation tactics, like publishing blog posts or asking for newsletter sign-ups, may become less effective. Brands should consider creating voice-based content, such as webinars, podcasts, and voice transcriptions of blog posts. This type of content can be consumed through smart speakers.
It could impact the use of chatbots for lead generation
Are you using chatbots for lead gen? Their effectiveness could be in peril. According to a recent survey, 67% of millennials say they are likely to purchase from brands using chatbots — which is one reason why they have become so popular.
But voice technology could change that.
Chatbots rely on typed conversations — as more people rely on voice to navigate the internet, chatbots could become far less effective. Rather than relying on the shiniest new technology for leads, brands should look for ways to build and test diverse lead generation strategies.
Voice search is nothing new — but AI is quickly changing the way consumers and businesses use the technology. Most businesses are ignoring the impact voice search could have on their ability to drive leads — and that could be a fatal mistake. Sales and marketing teams that rely on a steady stream of leads to drive revenue need to be paying attention.
Staying competitive requires generating more voice-based content, paying attention to how your users navigate your website, and keeping your lead generation strategy diverse so you can navigate fast-moving technological changes.
To find out how our voice recording and messaging platform could transform your business' lead generation, please get in touch with the team at telbee today. We'd love to hear from you!