Create and Monetize Custom Alexa Skills for Business

Did you ever think you’d live to see the day where most of your conversations are with machines?

Today, more than 100 million Amazon Echo Devices have been sold. (source)

In fact, the global market for voice search devices grew by 187 percent in the 2nd quarter of 2018 (source). And in the same timeframe.

If you have an Alexa yourself, you already know how much time you spend talking to this device. And as more Alexa Skills emerge, you’ll spend even more time.

Because we’re always looking for ways to save time and enjoy more convenience.

Why is Voice Search Suddenly So Popular?
Get Your Own Custom Alexa Skill
Monetize Your Custom Alexa Skill
CTAs for Your Custom Alexa  Skill

Why is Voice Search Suddenly So Popular?

To understand the popularity of voice search, think about your own experience. How much did your life change when you started relying on computers? Regardless of age, we all have this experience. But for kids today, it’s happening earlier and earlier as schoolwork migrates towards the internet.

So you went from no typing to typing literally everything – and that’s not natural to us. We’re social beings, and we like to talk. It’s all about convenience.

You can ask Alexa for information while you’re cooking, studying or even watching television. No longer do you have to stop what you’re doing to get an answer. Simply ask and you shall receive.

Voice is all about getting what you want when you want it. And in this age of instant gratification, that’s golden.

Alexa Skill for Cleaning

You’re sitting in your PJs at 1 pm (because why not?) when the in-laws call with the news that they’re on their way. Gasp! You weren’t expecting company and there are about a million things to do within the 60 minutes you have.

So you scramble to put the laundry on and sweep the floors. In the process, you don’t even realize you’ve knocked over your coffee. And, suddenly, you are staring at a dark coffee stain on your white rug.

“ALEXA! How do you get a coffee stain out of a wool rug??”

Alexa responds with the best product suggestion it has – because it’s programmed into the Alexa Skill you’ve been using. Thankfully, you have some on hand. Crisis averted. But you vow to never be without it again. So you go ahead and order some more through your Amazon account. And you do it all through voice. Now, if only Alexa could scrub that stain for you…

How to Monetize Your Voice Content

I can almost read your mind right now. Just about every marketer or entrepreneur goes through the same period of panic when they learn that voice content may soon take over. After all, we’ve all just spent years optimizing written content. We understand SEO and are pros at written calls-to-action. We’ve just mastered one thing and now it’s “on to the next?”

It can all feel overwhelming.

But don’t let it get you down – because this isn’t the end. In fact, it’s a full-on success story. And we’re just starting to write it now. Or are we voicing it?

The truth is that you can very easily monetize voice content. There are two main ways to monetize your voice content:

  • Get Sponsors by recommending their product or service for a fee.
  • Voice CTAs

In this post, we’re going to cover the CTAs because sponsors are rather self-explanatory.

But here comes the fun part…

Because this is a new and largely uncharted territory, we’re almost forced to get creative.

We can take cues from things like radio ads, but when you consider the multimedia approach that tools like Alexa offer, it’s a new playing field

CTAs and Alexa Skill

Alexa Skills allow you to create an interactive experience around a product or brand that’s activated and largely controlled by voice.

To understand how this works, let’s look at an example.

Example: Alexa Skill to get Nutrition Tips

You wake up in the morning and you are concerned your teenage daughter isn’t getting the best nutrition snacks. Or, perhaps you want to receive pep talks to keep you focused on your diet.

My Nutrition Alexa Skill hosted by dietitian Ashley Koff, is your guide to better health powered by better nutrition. Better nutrition is key to better health,  Ashley Koff helps you discover deliciously practical better nutrition choices at home or on the go.

The My Better Nutrition Alexa Skill offers users: Ask to get Daily Tips – Ask A Question – Get A Pep Talk. Skill features product recommendations and delicious recipes.

At the end of each audio recording, My Better Nutrition Alexa Skill includes a CTA to a specific website.  For the Question/Answer section, Alexa says, “would you like to receive information via web-link to your mobile device?”   When a user says, “yes.”  They instantly receive a text message with a web-link.  Users click on the web-link which opens up to a custom landing page with additional offers presented by Ashley Koff, the Better Nutrition Program.

Getting creative with your Alexa Skill CTAs

There are so many ways to use CTAs with Alexa Skills. And with a little creativity, you can find the perfect blend of helpfulness and salesmanship.

The AYRIAL Positive Living Alexa Skill presents a CTA offering to send users a web-link sent to a users’ mobile device.  Positive Living features audio recorded tips presented by vetted lifestyle consultants, life coaches, feng shui experts.  Users can instantly connect with the featured consultant once they click on the web-link sent to their mobile devices.

How easy is that?  

In addition, Positive Living Alexa Skill allows users to VOICE search a lifestyle consultant in the United States.  No more being tethered to your desktop, tablet.  Simply ask Alexa, “find me a feng shui expert in Pennsylvania.”

“It’s all about hands-free, voice-activated information that a user can access instantly.”

AYRIAL Positive Living Alexa Skill monetizes the skill by offering users consumables.  Users buy a 5-pack series for three unique programs:

  • Intuitive Development with Victoria lynn Weston
  • Dreamwork, understanding your dreams with Dr. David Low
  • Love and Relationship work with April Kirkwood, LPC

Alexa makes the pitch after a user has listened to several audio recordings presented by the aforementioned consultants with, “Hi, Dr. David Low offers exclusive series to help you understand your dreams. Would you like to listen?”  When a user says, yes, Amazon handles the transaction along with the fee of $9.99 and the user is now able to listen to the 5-pack series.  The consumable content expires in 30 days.  Alexa will then ask the user if they would like to renew the series or purchase the next set.

In your own Alexa Skill,  you can set up a consumable to expire anytime and set any price.

Think about how people use your product or service. Now, imagine you could be in the room with them when they’re using it. You can help them make the most of their experience, so they’ll understand that your product is indispensable.

Alexa Skill offers you a way to be in that room with every customer.

Are Custom Alexa Skills Expensive?

As you might imagine, there’s a lot involved in the production and development of a custom Alexa Skill. So it’s important to consider what’s involved before you even think about the price.

Now, to answer the question: Is Alexa Skill expensive?

And, as with most business decisions, the answer always comes down to ROI. If you spend $1 on something that doesn’t serve you, that’s $1 wasted. So even though the investment is small, the value was actually zero. So that $1 purchase is more expensive than a $1,000 purchase that generates $2,000 in demand.

Alexa Skills are investments. The cost to develop an Alexa Skill will depend on the features you choose, but you can expect the range to fall between an entry level skill that is designed for VOICE only to something more robust that features:

  • Visual presentation for Amazon Echo Devices and FireTV, Spot
  • In Skill purchases such as monthly subscriptions or consumables
  • CTA that sends users a web-link to mobile devices
  • Alexa personalization.  Alexa greets users by their name.
  • And, more options.

Every Alexa Skill project is unique and based on the features a business, author, professional wants to include.  I will give you hint, an Alexa Skill is an investment but something you can also update with new content regularly.

But when it comes to your investment, try to think more about the potential return. In most cases, an investment of a few thousand is nothing compared to the demand increase you’d see.

It all depends on the execution. You can create a full-featured Alexa Skill that completely misses the mark. In that case, the investment would be expensive.

And actually, this is more common than you think. Business owners and high-level marketers often get so wrapped up in the sales pitch that they have trouble seeing all the ways in which your business could provide value to its customer.

That’s one reason why you should enlist the help of an experienced agency to help brainstorm and develop your app.

And if you’re still learning how all this works, don’t worry. Feel free to take your time to learn all about Alexa Skills for business. If you want to get some tips, tricks and inspiration, subscribe to our ALEXA SKILLS FOR BUSINESS podcast.

I hope by now, you’re inspired and not intimidated by the innovative technology changes that are coming our way. Voice and multimedia search are the future – and now is the time to get into the action!

VOICE Your Brand!