If you're a small business and you're not sure how or why to add voice to your digital marketing strategy, CEO of Data Driven Design, Paul Hickey explains exactly how it can help you.

Keri: One of the things I hear over and over again from people in Voice is, there’s still the issue of educating people who don’t know so much about voice, what it is, and what it does, so I’m curious how you as an individual and as a business owner within this space…

How do you showcase the value and importance of voice that aren’t quite sure what it is yet, or how it could work for them?

Paul: Totally, and I love this conversation because I had to challenge myself to think, how do I even make this voice thing relevant to business owners, because the reality is for me in our business is that our clients are mainly either small to midsize level business owners, that we’re talking directly to and they’re making the purchasing decision, or a lot of times, I would say the other half of our audience stakeholder would be like the VP of Marketing at a mid-level regional company. So they all kind of fall into the bucket of not having huge marketing or operations budgets. They have some money to spend, but they need to spend it super-wisely, and they’re really more focused on what is currently on their plate.

So that typically covers their website and maybe the upcoming quarter’s digital marketing initiatives related to social media, SEO, and maybe even print and outdoor, to be honest with you. And so, we don’t do any print or outdoor, we just stick to digital, but introducing voice, I knew was going to be kind of a marathon, so the first couple things we decided to do:

1. Build an Alexa Skill called Ask Data Driven Design. So, Ask Data Driven Design is a custom Alexa Skill that allows our clients to ask Alexa how their web traffic is doing, and it’s integrated with their Google Analytics account. The reason why we decided to do this first, is because our main differentiator when earning any kind of business, is that we use data. And so, our clients love that we use Google Analytics; they’re all about it. But when it came down to it, they were less inclined to use it themselves than they were to have us consult and have us show them the data and explain what it means. So knowing that a voice app can really save a lot of time, I said to the VP of Marketing or Business Owner; understanding that you don’t want to have to log into a platform and look at your data, would you ask Alexa about your data? And they all were like “100% yes” and got really excited.

So to really introduce voice as a possibility to businesses and to create a differentiator for us, we created Ask Data Driven Design and we give it away to anyone who does business with us, and they also get a branded Echo Dot with Data Driven Design branding on it. So it’s a way to provide additional value and it was a good way to give ourselves a project and challenge ourselves to create a skill with account linking and third party integrations like Google Analytics.

2. The second thing we did was the Nashville Voice Conference. I said, okay, “I love doing marketing workshops.” Marketing workshops in front of 10-20 business owners and marketers are fun and very useful and mutually beneficial. And what if I do what that’s a little bit larger, but just around Voice? So in 2019, we did the inaugural Nashville Voice Conference. That was a hit, and now we’re doing Nashville Voice Conference 2020 on August 7, 2020 at the Nashville Entrepreneur Center. So that event is just solely focused on how businesses can become more efficient and effective through integrating an Alexa Skill or Google Action or both into their operations or marketing strategy.

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Keri: Well, Paul, I have to congratulate you because everything you just said was not only so smart but it really fits into your vision of data driven design and voice, because you did exactly what you said. You looked at your own data, you did some research, you asked questions and you said how can I use voice in a way that’s going to benefit my organization as well as my potential clients in a way that I can use it for marketing. You’re bringing it to people, you’re showcasing it to them. You’re right. Google Analytics, if anyone has ever looked at it, it can be very overwhelming. The amount of numbers that are there; not sure what to look at, or what’s important. Even if you put it into a spreadsheet, it can be a lot for anyone. I think what’s great about your skill that you’re talking about is you can ask, what’s going on with it, what has been my increase in web traffic. Those are the things people truly care about, so I love that you created this from your whole Ethos of what you’re talking about. And it’s a great way to showcase it, and then you’re also having this conference to answer questions and to teach more. So, very, very smart.

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