Overview: Bob Stolzberg founder of VoiceXP discusses how to use Alexa in a omnichannel marketing approach.
About the Speaker: Bob lives off the grid on a water lily farm in the Ozark of Missouri and operates numerous technology companies out of downtown St. Louis.
He’s an expert in voice technology like Amazon Alexa, digital marketing, conversational content, and voice marketing. He has a 20+ year enterprise IT, cloud computing, and entrepreneurial background.
Hello, hello, welcome. I’m so glad you’re here! Thank you for joining. Today we are going to learn how to get an ROI from Amazon Alexa. That’s right, we’re going to get an ROI. We’re going to turn Alexa into an ATM machine. Hey, my name is Bob Stolzberg. I live on a 75-acre water lily farm in the middle of the Ozark Mountains in Missouri. We’ve got tens of thousands of these beautiful pink, white and yellow water lilies blooming per day. I love the outdoors and operate a small business out of small-town USA.
That business is one of the leading voice companies in the space, we create a platform that allows anybody to create a premium Alexa skill without coding or hiring a developer. And we’ve been doing this for so long, we figured out the killer apps of voice, which are answering frequently asked questions, sending text messages, emails, making phone calls, sending push notifications, showing graphics. We’ve got all that stuff built into our platform. These are awesome features.
Alexa Voice Skills
And the company has been around for three and a half years. We’ve been fortunate to win the Alexa skill of the year. I’m an Alexa champion. There’s like 16 of us in the world. And you know, for the past three and half years, we’ve been 100% focused on voice and been so lucky to help companies like Hallmark CenturyLink, TiVo, even, yeah, Mark Cuban’s a customer pretty crazy. If you don’t know, let me catch you up to speed real quick. Voice is the next big thing. And in fact, it’s happening now. It’s in 40 plus percent of US households.
And there is a whole new generation growing up talking to technology, like it’s normal. We call them the voice generation. They’re playing games. They’re getting their education, their entertainment. And even business is now adopting voice. You can order a coffee through your phone and just drive through the pickup and have everything paid. And you didn’t have to touch a credit card or anything. It’s it’s all done through voice and integration technologies. And what we see is voice is being built in everywhere, guys, not just cars, but watches, wearables, glasses, I mean, light bulbs, smoke detectors, it’s everywhere. We are going to shortly live in a world that’s just accessible via ubiquitously voice command. And we as marketers and salespeople need to be ready for that.
Voice Use Cases
Imagine driving down the road and you have, you know, an Alexa in your car and you’re in a car accident, you don’t know what to do. If you have a teenager, you ever been in that situation? Here’s what you do. Well, now you can just ask the Alexa skill that’s accessible through your car. By the way, it works like a funnel. I’m going to show you how. Imagine walking down the aisle in the store retail settings, and being able to get product information, coupons, or interact with a specialist, instantly through voice. That’s pretty cool.
The fact of the matter is that we now live in a voice enabled world and we as marketers need to adapt. The old way is typing, looking at a screen, looking stuff up like Google it. These kids aren’t going to google it anymore. They’re just going to ask because it’s easier to, it’s frictionless. It’s on demand anytime. You don’t have to do anything really manual to get that stuff. So just ask to get information is becoming the new standard, not just for these young kids, but for the elderly population too.
Voice is the next evolution of things. Isn’t that a cool slide. I love that little depiction there. But it’s also part of businesses default tech stack. You know, I grew up in the 80s, so I saw the birth of the web, and then mobile and social and voice is just another disruptive wave of technology that we’re going to have to adapt. But it’s also part of your new default marketing tech stack, right? Because I know that you’re on web, social, paid media, you know, your LinkedIn and Facebook ads. You’re creating content, like your eBooks and infographics. You’re sending out emails. Well, what about voice as a channel? Do you ever think about that? Would if you could get all of these channels working together? I’m going to show you how.
Voice is truly changing the world. And it’s not just for Amazon. Let me show you. “Whether she comes in echo or dot form for many of us our daily lives include using Alexa at some point. Tonight a group of local high schoolers are tapping Alexa to create a better future. Only news fours Kim St. Onge is explaining how they’re doing- Steve, every single Alexa, including this one now has this capability because of these local high schoolers. They work with this man who owns this software development company to create what’s been called the Black Lives Matter skill. And they say more than anything.
Black Lives Matter skill
They just want this to encourage people to continue having those tough conversations. Welcome back to black lives matter. We fight for equality. Alexa answers about 30 questions as part of the Black Lives Matter skill. You can say things like, tell me about Black Lives Matter. Why is it important these three University City high school seniors helped come up with the content. Alexa, tell me about Ahmaud Arbery.
Earlier this year, on February 23, Ahmaud Arbery went out for a run. The new skill launched last week and already has over 1000 installations. I really hope it would like make it less of a conversation that needs to be had amongst black people. And like a conversation needs to be had among all people. They want the conversation to go beyond just Alexa. They want to inspire people to take action. It’s hard for people to kind of like oh, should I donate here, should I donate to this place. And this skill really just focuses on one specific platform where that has every resource you can imagine.
This Alexa skill started as a school project for them. But been years in the making. Developer Bob Stolzberg came up with the idea after Eric Gardner was killed and recently reached out to the principal at U City High School for help. What I can do is support and amplify the voices of the black community and empower those youth and those voices that need to be heard by using this technology. These students say if anything this taught them you don’t have to be somebody to make a big difference. We are the future and it just the saying that what we can do to make an impact just kind of like inspires our whole generation.
So right now, this feature is only available if you have Alexa. Their dream they say is to get 1 million installations by the end of this month. If you do want to install this feature right on your Alexa, it takes about two seconds all you have to do is say Alexa, install the Black Lives Matter skill. Steve. All right, kimchi knowledge reporting live this evening. Thank you, Kim. The Rock.
Wow, wasn’t that cool? I’m so I’m so humbled by that every time I get a little moved. But, you know, for a few marketers out there, I want you to pay attention. You saw a couple things in there. Number one, there was a graphic with the memorial. And it had the little tagline at the bottom it had the picture of the Alexa skill icon and it said, Alexa, enable the Black Lives Matter skill. Those are the graphics and the images that we put out on social media that through organic and grassroots efforts get shared, and are the instruction manuals for people to enable that.
You also heard the reporter deliver the voice activation phrase on air. To enable it, you just have to say this phrase. So you know, guys, it’s so powerful to enable students, anybody to be able to have a voice for a cause, but also your business. And you know, a lot of people ask me, you know, is voice just a novelty? Is it a fad? Is it fun? And the truth of the matter is that it’s a big ROI. I’m going to show you that in a minute.
Chingys Voice Skill
But I want to explain some of the novelty skills, right? These aren’t fails. These were just, they didn’t bring in the money like we had hoped. For example, we won the Alexa skill of the Year award with a platinum recording artist named Chingy. Chingy is from St. Louis and I’m from St. Louis, it’s the hometown connection. Well, Chingy was the first Platinum recording artist to have a skill that coupled with his new music release. You know what, I think I got the video here. Let’s cue it up and play it via Amazon’s Alexa platform.
It is the first of its kind voice technology release partnering with Voice XP you can play Chingy’s music, videos, and obtain information and updates on his live tour. That’s pretty cool, right? We got on TV because of that, you know, but it was also the first time Alexa was ever built into a private jet, a car, and appeared in a music video. I got the chance to do a little bit of directing. And that was pretty cool. I picked up a rap name. I’m officially in the game. I’m The Notorious B O B. But the funnest part about that whole experience was we got to rent a Rolls Royce Phantom DHC. This is a $600,000 car. We didn’t get to drive it but I got to take my picture with it.
That was pretty cool. It only cost us a G. But once we had this concept, right, we went and we had a press release. That’s when the news came in and covered that story. We went to one of the big studios in town. We got some cool pictures out of it, you know, we extended the tail of this thing, because we were able to create Facebook live videos, we chopped it up into blog post, we had so many pictures to post on social, like it became a content strategy in itself. Like if you’re trying to get awareness and engagement, this was off the charts. But we didn’t have anything really monetized in it.
After that happened, we were invited to go up to Amazon’s headquarters where we hosted a meetup with Chingy in Seattle, right? So that’s me and Chingy answering questions and answers talking about this skill. We had tons of people from amazon music there. It was awesome. And it turned it from a meetup like Q&A into straight up party, like we were on stage. Chingy did a couple tracks. He brought the DJ, the whole crew, it was awesome. Here’s an example of the release party. This is like what we put out on social and it got picked up and like it got retweeted in Japan. Like I guess we’re big in Japan. That’s cool.
And shout out to all my friends at Amazon for helping support it internally grassroots like they tags the elevators, there were email chains going around. It was like a surprise little easter egg that got all the Alexa people fired up back in the day. And afterwards, we went and we went bowling with Chiggy and all the Amazon marketing people. It was crazy, crazy fun.
Here’s a picture of how you market that stuff. Right now we had a bunch of these pictures. But notice you’ve got a cool picture of the artist, engaging image, you have the very bottom graphic, that’s the skill icon and the phrase you want people to say. And then you can add some other little pizzazz like your logos, and that it’s multimodal enhanced, right? it’ll play music, it’ll show graphics and videos. That’s the type of marketing materials that you need to build in with your skills. And to get the word out there.
How Voice increases ROI
Now, I’m here, not just talking about fun stuff, it’s all about show me the money! Let’s talk ROI. Okay, so we’ve been fortunate enough to work with some other customers, like CenturyLink. They were the first to do an Alexa skill and Alexa marketing campaign in a box. This is what they used for a door opener. They set 1000 echo dots out, it came in a nice box, and it came with a card. Here’s the front of the card, right. And this is all branded, like the box said, you know, CenturyLink a digital transformation.
But then here’s the reverse of the card. They wanted people to take this device that they sent them and it’s a cool toy, like you’re going to use this, it’s not some mug or squeezy ball or something you’re gonna give to the dog. This is like you’re going to plug in and use it. And at the time, nobody had ever even seen anything like this promotion where you can just ask Alexa these questions. And so, this was so powerful. This was one of their channel partner networks, highest performing marketing campaigns in history, because people would use this and at the end, it would put them in touch with their sales rep. So, the sales rep, booked more meetings, got a foot in the door, and they educated people all about this, you know, their offerings.
It was it was awesome. It works perfectly. So, you can take that same blueprint, create a skill, come up with some questions, roll it into a campaign, use it for whatever purposes. And you can use this as evergreen to. You can keep refreshing and adding content to it. So, it’s an ongoing thing, not just a one off. You can even just create your own one-off custom skill for the campaign. Like in this case, they could have called it CenturyLink cloud. Okay, let me take a quick drink and tell you about a gamified Alexa skill.
Dr. Terry Fisher use case
I bet you’ve never heard of that. This was one of the highest performing campaigns I’ve ever seen with an Alexa skill. And my friend, Dr. Terry Fisher, who runs Alexa in Canada was having his 500th podcast episode. That is some serious commitment. And he also had a flash briefing. And so, what Terry did is, we pioneered creating a voice marketing funnel, which I’ll show you how it works. But the premise for this gamified skill was he ran it as a contest. You as a user, you listen to his podcast and his flash briefing, and he gives you a clue.
Go to the Alexa skill guess the clue and it will give you a letter. Now if you listen for a couple days and you do that you’re going to get a couple letters, and you have to put them in the right order just like an anagram, to spell a magic phrase. And if you say that magic phrase to the Alexa skill, it will tell that you won and it will send you a text message with the length that you go to claim your prize. But meanwhile, while all this is happening, if you get the correct answer, it’ll say, Hey, I’ll give you another chance to enter the drawing, right?
So, you can, you can stack this thing so many different times. And it’s capturing phone numbers, sending them a text message with a link to the landing page where you can opt into this stuff. So, the result was people kept doing this over and over and over and over again.
Voice Flash briefings
In fact, let me bring up the webpage and show you. If you go to socialmediaexaminer.com, you can find the exact blueprint. It’s called How to create voice marketing funnels with Alexa flash briefings. And it’s not just flash briefings, okay, but here’s the results. I’m going to scroll down so you can see what happened. He grew his Twitter followers 491%, got a bunch of clicks, bunch of retweets, tons of likes. But look at that impressions, holy reach Batman! 2,140% increase in impressions. That’s off the chart! This is like normal.
And this is what’s happening when he’s running this gamified Alexa skill during his marketing campaign and promotion, right. And as a result, he got more listeners to his flash briefings, 180% increase, that’s crazy. He got 110% increase to his website, and more people played his stuff so they could get those clues. So this is a step by step blueprint. Okay.
Now, why we say that it’s a marketing funnel is because you’re advertising the hook. I have a contest; I’m giving something away. You’re doing that on social media, your website, your podcast, you’re getting those listeners to then use your flash briefing or your Alexa skill. And it’s way more intimate. They’re doing that on a daily, weekly, frequent basis. Then when they’re using that skill, you were able to send them a text message. You’re getting that phone number from them. You’re then sending them to a landing page where they can opt in. And they’re running through the funnel again.
Let me show you. I have another graphic that shows where people enter the funnel, all these different places, right? You want to funnel them to get to your Alexa skill, so that you can send them a text and get that phone number. Alexa also has the capability to download their full contact information if people opt in. And what a lot of marketers don’t realize is that Alexa is a great database for customers. I mean, think about it, who wouldn’t want an Amazon Prime customer as their own customer. It’s like disposable income, you get it?
Okay, now, there’s a couple different ways that you can generate leads with Alexa skills. Let me show you. Well, if you use the Voice XP skill, that’s the perfect funnel. You guys should try this because it’s going to start and then it’s going to try and say, Hey, let me tell you about our business. Then let me tell you about our customers. And then hey, let me send you a case study or a white paper. It’s narrowing down through a path where you’re going to give it the phone number ultimately, if you meet my goals.
And we generate a lead from that. You get a case study or white paper link texted to you. We get a phone number that flows into our marketing automation and into our sales process. But let me show you how like retailers, restaurants, specifically, are using Alexa skills to generate an ROI.
Pizza use case
Have you ever received a phone call that’s something like this- “Hello? Yeah, I don’t know what to do for dinner. What do you want to do? I don’t know. What do you want to do? That’s cool. We can get pizza. Hey, I saw Dag Woods had a coupon a couple days ago. I was on Facebook. And they had a coupon on there. They said I had to talk to you know my voice friend here to get it. Is that cool? What do you want? Dude, I am not doing pineapple.” Okay, you get the point. Right? Like it’s order pizza time.
Now I saw this on Facebook. Imagine that. You’re scrolling. You see an ad that says this- Alexa, ask Dag Woods pizza send me a coupon. Sorry, I’m not sure about that. Oh, yeah. I hate that. Alexa, ask Dag Woods pizza send me a coupon. Hot, fresh and made with love just for you. Dag Woods pizza. Coming right up. Let me send you a text message with a coupon that’s good for curbside pickup, carry out or delivery.
What is your mobile phone number starting with the area code first.
Did I hear you correctly? I heard 3143972610.
Great. Got it. I just sent you a text message with a coupon. Thank you for supporting Dag Woods pizza during these tough times. We appreciate your business and look forward to seeing you soon. If you are all done, just say goodbye. What do you want to do next?
Place a pickup order.
Awesome. Got it? I am calling you now. When it rings, it will be me. Okay, cool. Check it, check it.
This is your operator Alexa, I’m calling to connect you to Dag Woods pizza to place an order. I’m connecting you now. Please stand by.
Thank you for calling Dagwood Santa Monica’s favorite mom and pop New York style pizza shop. And we are so open and accepting.
I didn’t have to look the phone number up. I asked and I got the coupon texted to me. That is an amazing experience in itself but what’s even more amazing is how I figured out how to track the ROI and the interactions and everything down from somebody used Alexa, we sent him a text message, they got a coupon, they redeem that coupon at point of sale. We can track all those dots back together, not just for restaurants, for anything.
Breaking down the Funnel
Let me break down that step by step experience again, right like the prospect that customers saw an image, whether it’s paid media, you know, they liked you. And they just saw it in your feed on social, whatever. There’s something that had that instruction. Alexa asked Dagwood’s pizza send me a coupon. They engaged Alexa, Alexa, send them a text. Then, I said connect me over the phone. And it did it automatically for me. And what happened was I as the customer got that instant gratification. Everybody’s happy, I’m coming home with pizza and I’m happy because I got a coupon. Business is happy because they generated a lead and actually converted that lead easily. ROI, awesome.
It’s just that easy. And where I’m really focused now is on conversational content, which is content that is specifically designed to have a human conversation around. And I’ve been doing this for a long time, guys. I’ve started to learn so much about voice and the behavior of our customers and users so this is the most important thing that I’m really focused on channel switching, because that’s what you saw. My journey, that customer journey was for the pizza. I saw something on Facebook on my computer. I then engaged voice AI to get that information. It sent me a text or a link. So, then I’m on mobile and then I switched to another channel, which was phone call, right? Like that’s what people are doing. And customers are choosing where they want to engage with your business.
Namely that’s why voice is so important. In addition, if you’re not out there, that’s another channel they can’t engage with your business in. And believe me, there are a lot of people out there, you can run ads on amazon.com targeting people that own Alexa devices. And that’s so big. Specifically here I’m insanely focused, though, where I have seen the most traction, ROI, and business value is where bots hand off to humans. And where my head’s at now with some of the things I’m working on is profound. It’s ungating your content and building in the right type of click to human technology that allows people to get ahold of the right people in the business at the right time on the channel of their choice whether it’s voice, SMS, web, email, doesn’t matter.
I hope this presentation was helpful. If you thought it was cool, connect with me on LinkedIn- Bob Stolzberg. If you want to see some more voice marketing funnels in action, just say Alexa, start Voice XP. Thanks for watching. Tell your friends share it. I look forward to connecting. Have a great day guys. Bye.