How an Alexa 'Skill' Can Boost Your Brand Get people to talk about you -- literally.
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If you haven't seen an Amazon Echo commercial where someone calls out "Alexa," you are among the (luck?) few. According to a recent study by NPR and Edison research, one in six Americans, or around 39 million people, have a smart home speaker -- and the Amazon Echo leads all of these sales.
Alexa's apps are called "skills," and they can be downloaded onto the device by voice command, the app on your phone or the website. With so many people using Alexa, your business might consider adding an app or skill, not just for boosting sales, but for branding and awareness.
Related: 3 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Position Their Brand to Dominate Voice Search
Types of skills.
The Amazon Echo is compatible with more than 30,000 different skills, leading Google Home by more than 20,000. A few of Alexa's most popular skills for business include the conference manager, email assistant and quick events. These skills are designed to make everyday office tasks more manageable. Alexa can go through your calendar and find the number to dial into your conference calls, look through your inbox to give you details about travel information and even help you schedule events.
Related: Why Smarter Voice Assistants Means You'll Have More Time to Work on Your Business
Why build an Amazon skill?
Here are some reasons you should build a skill for your business:
- Voice is not only the future; it's now. According to Google, around 20 percent of mobile searches in the Google App are conducted through the voice command feature. People are more likely to ask Siri or their smart speaker before they pull out their phone and start typing. As voice recognition continues to grow and Alexa becomes more intelligent, your team will need to understand how Alexa skills fit into business and life.
- Get ahead. Many times, businesses are too scared to lead in new technology because they are afraid to put the time in effort into something that has no guarantee to work. However, voice search isn't going anywhere; there are already more than 30,000 skills for Alexa, and it is going to continue to grow. It is better to be on the front end of something than the back end. It will be beneficial to you to get Alexa users loving your skill before the rest of your competitors figure it out and beat you.
- It may not be free forever. Many experts assume that as smart speakers become more and more popular, businesses may have to pay for their skill to be placed higher than others on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Some people also predict that you may be able to pay to make your skill the default for Alexa. In that case, someone could ask a question pertaining to your skill, and the device will use yours without the user calling your skill by name.
- Publicity. Getting your name out there is one of the hardest but most beneficial things you can do for your business. Having a skill on Alexa is just another way people can hear about and interact with your brand. Many marketers argue that word of mouth can be one of the best ways to get traffic to your website or through your doors, and this is one way to get people to talk about you -- literally.
- Authority. Having an Alexa skill can make your business seem more legitimate. It can give you credibility as being a brand they can trust. You're well-established enough to make a skill on Amazon's Alexa. You must be serious about your business, your brand and your products or services.
Related: Don't Let Alexa or Siri Speak for Your Company: Protecting Your Brand's Voice on AI Platforms
How to build a skill.
Depending on the size of your company, your IT team may be able to build your Amazon app, or you can hire an outside organization to do so.
Building an app takes time and is an investment. Don't create an app just because it is the trendy thing to do. Instead, make an app that starts with the consumer and his or her needs. It's better to not have an app at all than to have an app that isn't functional.