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VOL. 42 | NO. 51 | Friday, December 21, 2018

Alexa, read my email! Marketers, you need to adapt

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Smart home voice assistant usage is on the rise. According to Nielsen, 24 percent of U.S. households use such a device and that number is expected to double in 2019. As marketers try to optimize for the impact such devices have on search, Amazon has just rolled out a new Alexa feature for their Echo devices that will also impact email marketing.

Owners of Echo devices who use Gmail, Hotmail or Outlook email will now be able to read, compose and delete their email with Alexa voice commands. When asked “Alexa, read my email,” the device will read aloud the subject line and email sender. It will then prompt the user to choose to read the rest of the email, reply, delete or go to the next email. This new feature will have a big impact on email marketing campaigns for businesses, specifically related to subject lines and body content.

Subject lines have always been an important factor in getting subscribers to open their email. But even with less-than-stellar subject lines, you stood a chance of your email being given a second glance or even being opened in the process of trying to delete. Now you will be relying on a smart device to portray your subject line with a sense of urgency and emotion to entice your audience to not immediately say “delete.” The need for a compelling subject line has never been more important.

If you succeed in getting an Echo user to want to read the rest of your email after hearing the subject line, you now face the challenge of your email content being relayed via voice alone. There will be no images or text seen from your email. Echo users will only hear the text that is in the body of the email, including your email footer. With a lack of visuals, subscribers will have less information to make the decision to save or delete the email.

Like most companies, your marketing emails are most likely heavier on graphics than text. If so, you will want to start adding in more text, but proceed with caution. If your messaging strategy has been or will be headlines and keywords with no punctuation, Amazon Echo devices will read all of the text as one large run-on sentence.

When developing your email for 2019, you will want to imagine how your subject line and the text inside your email will sound coming from an automated voice. Knowing your email will not create conversions on voice assistant devices, your ultimate goal will be to motivate a subscriber to want to go back and read your email on a computer or mobile device where your email is set to shine.

Lead Generation Specialist for RedRover Sales & Marketing Strategy, Ashley Sullivan is a results driven marketing professional with a passion for analytics and strategy development. Learn more at www.redrovercompany.com.

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