Communication

When voice assistant software reads your emails to you

Published on 4 November 2019 | Author Marie Afschrift

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Microsoft’s Cortana, Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa or the Google Assistant: language assistants have long since found their way into our everyday lives. And, of course, the voice assistants also read out emails. For marketers in email marketing, this generally means that mailings can reach users more easily and quickly. However, additional questions arise: Is the email even correctly conveyed? How can I influence the way I verbalize? How are graphics and symbols presented? Do they lose their effect? How do the language assistants influence the design of the mailings? So let this blog post provide the answers.

Easier access to emails thanks to the language assistant

Voice assistants can be a great convenience. With their support, we manage our everyday lives differently, in a new and simpler way. During everyday activities, such as driving a car, cooking or going for a walk, the Voice Assistants can read our e-mails aloud. People with visual impairments can have their e-mails read to them. Busy people, occupied by work and everyday life, can simply have their emails read to them, while simultaneously pursuing other activities. Voice Marketing, i.e. marketing via the voice assistant channel, makes it possible to reach e-mail recipients who otherwise may not have the opportunity to read your e-mails in their everyday lives. If these recipients have their e-mails read to them by the voice assistant, they still perceive the message and the e-mail is not simply ignored, deleted and left unread (or perhaps unheard?). However, it is still unknown whether the attention paid to the e-mails read aloud is the same as when reading them oneself.

Marketers should exploit the potential of this new interaction with emails. The combination of email and voice marketing brings a big advantage – experts are sure of that!

“Siri, read me my next email!”

As interesting as Voice Marketing is for email marketing, email marketers face challenges and questions. Probably the biggest hurdle is the conversion: Using Voice Assistants, prospective customers cannot click on a button or a link. Conversion is thus made more difficult, or is moved further away by delaying the necessary click. The prospective customer has to switch to another channel.

In addition, tracking in an email campaign is only possible to a limited extent, since emails that are opened by a voice assistant are not necessarily identified as opened and read. It is therefore quite possible that e-mails that have been delivered are not listed under the read e-mails in your evaluations. Additionally, it is not predictable whether an email will be read out by a voice assistant or whether the user will read it themselves – your e-mails should therefore be designed in such a way that both are possible.

So take Siri, Alexa and friends into account when setting up an email campaign. Note that many users use Voice Assistants for prioritizing within their mailbox and for sorting e-mails. Basically, users use the commands “Read”, “Reply”, “Delete”, “Archive” and “Next” to guide the Voice Assistants through their email inbox. These commands are quick to say, so if your email is not presented appealingly, there is a risk that the e-mail will be skipped or deleted. Avoid long phrases and dry texts.

How to make the best use of voice assistants

So there is a lot to consider in order to take full advantage of the opportunities voice assistants offer for email marketing. With the following small adjustments you can make your emails more readable for the voice assistants.

  • Let Siri, Alexa and the others read your emails to you first. This gives you a feeling for the voices, the flow of language and the emphasis.
  • Structure your email using a clear hierarchy of content. Important messages and relevant content should be preceded by links, SWYN buttons or disclaimers.
  • Create easy-to-understand content that doesn’t require additional visualizations.
  • Voice assistants usually present the HTML version of an email, or in some cases the plain text. So pay attention to the syntax of your email, the punctuation and other written aspects that facilitate a fluent reading aloud.
  • Voice assistants don’t read images and Google’s Alexa even has problems verbalizing ALT tags of images. Avoid displaying relevant content in images only.
  • The voice assistants Siri and Alexa read out emojis. Consider this when working with these little images in your mailings.
  • Use funny pronunciation mistakes or peculiarities of the voice assistants in a humorous way, play with them and make yourself stick in your client’s memory.
  • Keep an eye on the market of voice assistants and keep up to date with the latest technologies and updates from Google Home, Siri, Alexa and more. Adapt your email marketing campaigns to the innovations and use the full potential of Voice Assistants for your e-mail marketing.

Voice marketing within email marketing… and then?

Emails are and will remain to be one of the most important digital marketing channels. Having an email read to you by a voice assistant makes everyday life easier for many users and should not be overlooked by marketers. Alexa, Siri and other voice assistants don’t diminish the importance of email marketing, but they present new challenges and opportunities for marketing. When setting up email marketing campaigns, consider the voice assistants and keep an eye on how the devices themselves and the technologies behind them evolve in order to be able to spread email campaigns widely in the future.

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artegic AG provides strategic consulting, technology and business services for online CRM and dialogue marketing via email, RSS, mobile and social media. artegic's online CRM technology ELAINE FIVE, which is used for the sending of over 2.7 billion messages monthly enables marketing automation based on self-sharpening analytical profiles. artegic's customers include, e.g. Rewe and PAYBACK.

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