Voice Assistants and Email Marketing

The world is moving at a breakneck pace, and we have to try our best to keep up with it. Technology has given us several innovations and discoveries that have helped make our lives easier. Voice assistants are one such discovery that has come to our aid a lot. They enable us to be more productive and efficient, and as technology grows, the future looks bright for such voice assistants. As with everything else in their path, these have had a significant impact in the field of marketing as well. Here’s a look at the impact voice recognition technology has had on email marketing.

The Present

Studies by Strategy Analytics show that over 38.5 million smart speakers were purchased by users in just the last quarter of 2018, proving just how vital such technology has become to us. The growth has been exponential, and they sold out more units in one quarter of 2018 then they had in the entire year 2017. According to surveys conducted by Statista, voice assistants are expected to grow from the present 3.25 billion to 8 billion by 2023. Hence, it is only obvious that they will have a significant impact on marketing methodologies.

What role will voice assistants play in email marketing?

Both Siri and Alexa can read, delete, archive and reply to our emails, making them a one-stop-solution with regards to all our mailing requirements. They allow you to work on more important things by taking care of your networking and ability to connect to your customer base or subscriber base. This also allows marketers to present their sales pitch via such AI-powered assistants.

Accessibility for the Impaired

Around 1.3 billion people around the world have some sort of visual impairment. For such people, Alexa, Siri and the likes provide much-needed relief by providing them access to many functions which would otherwise be hard for them to access. They help in making emails accessible and also enables them to navigate through such mailing apps a whole lot easier. Email accessibility gives such people the power to communicate to a broader audience and also keeps them updated with regards to the content they follow and subscribe to.

Here, so as to make emails more impactful, marketers have to rely on more text-based campaigns as visually engaging content would do no good for such customers. Hence, they stick to HTML tags as they help define your text-based content better instead of shifting focus onto images on the website. Email marketers who want to exploit this market will also have to be adept at captioning alt texts as they become the user’s way of understanding what the images encapsulate. The alt text must, therefore, be able to explain what the icon is about and get the message across to the user clearly.

Challenges and Limitations

  1. Subscribers cannot unsubscribe using a voice assistant, and this is a significant drawback.
  2. Difficult to identify spam.
  3. Hard to replicate the interactivity that marketers work on.
  4. Users usually imbibe an inbuilt tracker when they download an image from an email and analysers uses this to analyse the performance of the email. While using voice assistants, no tracker is downloaded and hence analysis suffers as a result.
  5. Voice assistants rarely support browsers, and so you may not be able to access a landing page.

How to Stay Ahead

Voice assistants do not help you better your conversion rates directly as of now, but making your emails more voice-assistant friendly will go a long way in widening your audience. Create engaging and informative emails to help you avoid the spam folder. Here’s how you can make your emails more voice-assistant friendly.

  1. Focus on the subject line because this is probably what Alexa reads out first. Ensure that the subject line is captivating so that users feel like continuing.
  2. Having a famous sender name or brand helps as it builds trust and ensures that the user will keep reading.
  3. Avoid the use of emojis or special characters as they might not be picked up by these assistants, and so their usage might work against your best interests.
  4. Stick to text-based and descriptive subject lines that offer more information and less formatting. Also, ensure you have stuck to the exact same spelling as assistants get easily confused.
  5. Make sure to optimise your content for the user so that your conversion rate increases.
  6. Maintain the correct sequence to your content so that it makes sense to your user when an assistant reads it out loud.
  7. Do not rely heavily on images and animations as the assistant will not pick these up.

While voice-activated marketing does have limitations, they certainly have great potential with respect to accessibility. Voice-assistants definitely look like they are here to say and it is for a fact that things will get very interesting in a few years as AI grows and evolves. Hence, for now, voice assistants will mainly help subscribers sort emails, identify the good ones and read them out and then organise their inbox. Maybe in the future, their functionality will increase to include other options which will help refine and redefine the email marketing industry furthermore.

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