Information appliances are the devices like the Amazon Echo as well as the “infotainment” systems in cars. The benefit of these devices for users is on demand information and entertainment, as well as navigational information, which was the original intent of the connected systems in cars. The ability to ask for reviews of certain types of restaurants near you when driving in an unfamiliar area and getting directions to the one you select is invaluable. With regard to information appliances in one’s home, you can ask for a list of top rated items in a category and then select one to be delivered to the home. The challenge for companies and organizations is search engine optimization for information appliances.
Know the Network
Amazon Echo runs off Alexa. Its default source of stuff to sell to you is Amazon, but it works partners with Tunein, NRP, iHeart radio, Audible, Uber, Dominoes and others. Do you want to sell your product or service via the on demand requests the Amazon Echo information appliance caters to? Your products at a minimum need to be in the Amazon catalog. Then apply SEO for voice search which favors conversational queries over keywords. Product descriptions that include the full phrases or questions the user asks will win over key word dominated text. This is why customer question and answers sections are more prominent on Amazon product listings.
If you want to boost your search results for voice search on Amazon, you may need to pay for featured recommendations or let some of your product be sold through the Amazon warehouse/logistics network in order to meet the criteria for the Amazon Prime program.
The downside for many service providers is that you have to meet Amazon’s criteria to offer the service through them, and if someone already meets that niche, you may not be added or get second billing to the first person to sign up with them.
Conversely, if your product like a home automation tool is already compatible with the information appliance, then make that information abundantly clear in the description to help you sell more of them.
Position Your Digital Content
Amazon’s Echo makes selling digital content easy if you position yourself right. Your music can be sold through the Amazon catalog or available through Pandora for those who set it up. Note that if you sell songs, podcasts or audio books, your content needs to be available through the channels people are most likely to buy them. If you are selling content through one service, let people know if it is available through another channel, and where possible, link to it so that someone who doesn’t have X subscription service can directly go to its page on Y service and pay for it. The links between product pages have the benefit of serving as back links, too.
There are small things you can do to boost sales, too. If you have a Kindle book, you need to go into the Amazon settings to allow it to be read as an audio book via the Amazon Echo. You now don’t have to pay to create an audio book per set and manage an Audible account, and those who listen to your eBooks through the Echo receive information (and incentive) to order more in some format.
Don’t forget promotions for your related content, such as “if you enjoyed this book, you may enjoy X, Y and Z by this author” read by the Echo as part of the text of a Kindle book, recorded and played as part of an audio book or included in the product description for that item. Phrases like “album like ‘genre specific title here’” or “latest songs by artist J” in the content’s description are ideal for voice search for digital content.
Inertia Is Powerful
For consumers, the ability to say “reorder X” is simple and direct. You’ll get a new set of your favorite item shortly. For sellers, it means you really want to be the product they buy once and continue to re-order. Giving significant discounts for subscriptions to buy your item is one way to lock people into it. Another is soliciting people hard to buy or try the item so they want to make your product their default choice for the product category. Having better prices, service or delivery speed can all differentiate you from competitors.
Don’t Rely on Instant Answers for Sales
The artificial intelligences behind search engines try to determine someone’s intent to present the best websites with an answer. For short and simple answers, whether it is weather reports, latest headlines, sports scores, trivia or even simple calculations and conversions, instant answers presented in the top corner of a web search will dominate the top ranking websites while making it less likely people will see anything but the URL of the instant answer source. If you don’t land in that top answer for the instant answer, you’re unlikely to be seen. Compounding the challenge is that Google, Alexa and others prefer sites with higher domain authority to be the data source for instant answers. Unless no one else has an instant answer for the question, your content won’t be seen.
This has several effects on SEO. One would be ensuring that your website is set up to present the information you want if someone asks a question about the company, its personnel or members so you dominate searches about yourself. Another would be creating entries on sites like Wikipedia about your product or service so that queries about your business are answered by one of the default references information appliances use. Suppose your organization can dominate instant answers for a niche, such as “how to fix this classic car problem X” or “calculus derivative x dx r dr”. Your answer should reference the product or service in a non-intrusive manner. For example, “if this doesn’t work or you still get the ABC error message, you need a professional like JKL automotive in your town, located at …” or “and if you’re still having problems with the math problems, the tutors at Our Company can help, the website is …”. The referral to the company should be akin to the radio announcer plugs for various companies they do as part of the broadcast, but be spelled out on your website that way.
Another option is getting your product mentioned as a part of someone else’s content. A referral to buy your brand of green beans as part of a Campbell soup recipe could result in significant sales volume, especially if you also promote the recipe via social media so that others recommend it.