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Font Best Practices in Email

Font Best Practices in Email

When you think of your style guide, a few things come to mind: your logo, brand colors and, of course, fonts. However, out of those elements, your fonts can be trickiest. From file types to licensing, understanding the ins and outs of fonts can be a headache.

Never fear! We’re here to help. We’ll walk you through everything you need to know about fonts in email design so you can maintain that brand consistency your customers know and love.

Font File Types

First things first! Let’s do a quick overview of the different font file types you’ll need.

  • True Type Font (TTF): TTF was developed by Apple and Microsoft in the late 1980s and is the most common font format for both Mac OS and Windows.
  • OpenType Font (OTF): OTF is the latest font format developed by Adobe and Microsoft. Commonly used on Mac OS and Windows, these fonts also offer ligatures, fractions, and contextual glyphs.
  • Web Open Font Format (WOFF): Developed in 2009, WOFF is the W3C recommendation for web fonts and is supported by most browsers.
  • Embedded OpenType (EOT): EOT fonts are compact variations of Microsoft’s Open Type fonts.
  • Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG): SVG fonts are text files containing the glyph outlines as if they were single vector objects to render without a font file available.

This chart shows the browser support for each font type. Due to the varying degrees of support, it’s best to include all these font types in your code when possible.

font-best-practices1

Tip: Interested in learning more about utilizing web fonts? The awesome chart above is from W3School’s in-depth rundown of CSS3 Web Fonts.

Font Licensing

When choosing which fonts to use, always make sure that you are following the licensing agreement. Some fonts found on “free” font sites are only free for personal use or by donation. Any usage not following the font license could result in costly legal action and fines.

You’ll also need to verify what type of license your font has. While it might not be the most fun task, read over your font license agreement before proceeding with any usage. This will guarantee that you’re covering all the bases before you start designing. Most fonts will have a web font license available, which means it’s A-OK for email use. However, if you have materials to print, you may not be able to use the same font. Some fonts have a print-only license, which means you can’t use your chosen web font for print.

Don’t forget to check the usage numbers of the license, too! If you only purchase a single-use license for a font, it’s not valid to share on multiple computers or with your third-party design vendors. The license will outline how many computers the font can be installed on, as well as any online traffic restrictions for web fonts (meaning you pay based on how many visitors you have to your website). It’s extremely important to follow the guidelines of your font license to maintain headache-free use. Designshack did a great in-depth article called What is a font license? (And do I need one?) that may answer some more of your questions.

Some font libraries like Google Fonts are free for personal or commercial use. These are a great alternative if you don’t have a license for some of the larger type foundries.

Inbox Restrictions

Modern email inboxes have much more support for custom fonts than before, but there are still (unfortunately) some restrictions. Some inboxes like the Apple Mail app utilize HTML and CSS in a very similar manner to an internet browser, but others have extremely limited support for CSS3 and HTML5 coding. Understanding browser rendering will help you leverage your custom font usage in email sends.

While you may think it’ll be easier to toss your text into an image and call it a day, there are a lot of reasons to try to include as much live HTML text as possible. For more info on HTML, check out The Importance of Live Text in Email.

To ensure consistent browser rendering for your fonts, follow these tips:

  • Research inbox support Some inboxes have limited code support. Before implementing any bells and whistles, determine what rendering issues could appear and plan how to address them. Some issues can be addressed with specialized tags like the Microsoft Office HTML & XML Reference Guide outlines. Others have available backups or fixes to put in place. Knowing the code support before you start will help ease frustrations during the troubleshooting process.
  • Avoid JavaScript-based web fonts While sites like Typekit offer some amazing fonts for web use, most inboxes can’t run JavaScript. There are also limitations to the licensing, which may limit how many times the font can be viewed. The safest bet is to avoid these fonts in your email messages and only use them on your website or in graphics.
  • Leverage CSS to use custom fonts A lot of inboxes support CSS in the <head> of the message body which allows the use of custom fonts in your email.
    • Find your favorite Google Fonts The Google Font Library has hundreds of high-quality fonts that can easily be implemented into your email sends. If you’re using Listrak Composer, many popular Google Fonts are already built-in and ready to use! Simply use a text-based element and the available fonts will already populate the editor’s font list. If your font isn’t available in Composer, contact your account manager to have it added! For HTML sends, simply get the @import provided and add it to your document.
    • Purchase on Typography.comWith a similar implementation to Google Fonts, Typography.com offers a beautiful collection of high-end fonts for use in your email messages.
    • Utilize a linked custom font If you have a licensed custom font uploaded to a server, it’s possible to use a CSS font-face import to call the files for your email. These fonts will render in the same manner as Google Fonts. When using an uploaded custom font, you will need to use the @font-face method.
    • Keep your code clean with an external stylesheet All inboxes that support @import will also support an external stylesheet, if you want to keep your styles organized and clutter-free.
    • Always choose an appropriate fallback font For inboxes that don’t support custom fonts and CSS, choose a similar standard font for your font stack. Otherwise, when your custom font doesn’t render, your text will display in the system default (which is usually Times New Roman). Try to use a font of similar structure, character width and style so the experience is very similar with and without custom fonts displaying.
      • Tip: Need help picking your fallback fonts? CSS Font Stack has a great overview of standard fonts and popularity by the operating system.
  • Test, test, test…and then test again! When utilizing techniques and code which might not be supported by all inboxes, testing is more important than ever to ensure the quality of your email messages.

Once you’re on the right path to using custom fonts, your emails will now be better suited to your branding and look great in the inbox!

ARTICLE CREDITS:
Article originally published at https://www.listrak.com/blog/detail/font-best-practices-in-email
Author: Melissa Lobach


If you would like to see the benefits and effects that Email Marketing can have for your business take a look at our Email Marketing Services page.

25 Digital Marketing News Sources You NEED to Be Reading

25 Digital Marketing News Sources You NEED to Be Reading

To say that the digital marketing industry moves rapidly would be a considerable understatement. With everyone moving fast and breaking things, it’s easy to fall behind on the news that really matters.

With that in mind, I’ve gathered 25 of what I consider essential sources of the latest marketing news. From breaking headlines to in-depth analysis of emerging trends, these publications will see you right when it comes to keeping up with the ever-changing world of digital marketing.

Here’s a quick list of our 25 favorite digital marketing news sources on the web:

  1. Inside Google Ads Blog
  2. Search Engine Land
  3. Search Engine Watch
  4. Search Engine Journal
  5. SEM Post
  6. Moz
  7. Distilled
  8. Search Engine Roundtable
  9. Media Post
  10. Small Business Trends
  11. Social Media Today
  12. SocialTimes
  13. Social Media Examiner
  14. Buffer
  15. Mashable
  16. Copyblogger
  17. Contently
  18. Content Marketing Institute
  19. CoSchedule
  20. Unbounce
  21. Optimizely
  22. The Daily Egg
  23. KISSmetrics
  24. The Verge
  25. Ars Technica

But keep reading to learn more about each of these marketing news sources in the full list below!

Internet Marketing News

Inside Google Ads Blog

Some news sources break Google Ads developments so fast you’d think they were constantly hitting refresh on the official Inside Google Ads blog. Obviously the definitive place to get (officially sanctioned) news about new Google Ads features, the AdWords blog is the news source for PPC marketers who need to know what’s going on as it happens. Remember, however, that when it comes to the juicier gossip about Google Ads (formerly known as Google AdWords), you’ll have to look elsewhere…

Search Engine Land

If you’re in search, you’re probably already an avid reader of Search Engine Land. The publication also organizes and hosts the hotly anticipated Search Marketing Expo (SMX) conference every year. The industry’s go-to news source for both breaking headlines and comprehensive analysis, Search Engine Land should be in every search marketer’s RSS feed.

Marketing news Search Engine Land

Image via Search Engine Land

Search Engine Watch

Another must-read for search marketers, Search Engine Watch provides a wide range of coverage of everything that’s going on in digital marketing. Although SEW does offer breaking news and timely content, it also provides analysis of developing trends and actionable how-to articles that will help you become a better search marketer.

Search Engine Journal

Over the years, SEJ has grown from a small but dedicated blog into a diverse and reliable source of Internet marketing news with its finger on the pulse of everything search, social, SEO, and content. SEJ is also in the events business, running the impressive SEJ Summit, and also hosts the Marketing Nerds podcast, a series that’s as entertaining as it is informative.

SEM Post

The SEM Post, run by Jennifer Slegg, is always one of the first sites to break news stories about the industry’s biggest events, and I’m sure that even the “big boys” of Internet marketing news have been beaten to the punch by the SEM Post on at least a couple of occasions. If you want to stay up-to-date on what’s going on in search engine marketing, be sure to subscribe to the SEM Post’s RSS feed and follow them on Twitter – they usually update several times per day, making it one of the best places to keep up with our rapidly changing industry.

Moz

I feel like every time I mention Moz here on the WordStream blog I end up gushing about how great they are, but it’s hard not to. One of the digital marketing industry’s best-known and most-loved companies, Moz also creates top-tier content about content, SEO, and wider digital marketing trends. From Rand’s Whiteboard Fridays to Dr. Pete’s in-depth analysis of search’s most mysterious enigmas, there’s always something worth reading (or watching) at Moz.

Marketing news Moz

Image via Moz

Distilled

Although our friends at Distilled have an office in New York, I personally think of them as our comrades across the Pond, as their main office is based in my former home of London. Aside from my affinity for the Distilled team as my fellow countrymen, Distilled is one of the best sources for content relating to PPC, SEO, and digital strategy. Always brimming with genuine insight and a keen eye for trends to watch out for, the Distilled blog is essential reading for marketers hoping to stay ahead of the curve.

Search Engine Roundtable

Barry Schwartz’s blog, Search Engine Roundtable, is another essential read for Internet marketers. Few news sources, independent or otherwise, manage to combine breaking hard news coverage with analysis and context the way Search Engine Roundtable does, and between the daily recaps, the active and engaging forum, and the regularly posted video content, there’s more then enough to keep even the most diligent newshound satisfied.

Media Post

Media Post is one of the most comprehensive online advertising, digital marketing, and media news sources out there. Although their coverage is diverse, ranging from TV audiences and print circulations to social media and search marketing, the quality of their editorial standards certainly doesn’t suffer for it, and they’re often among the first to break major stories. One of the best all-round news sources you should be reading if you aren’t already.

Marketing news MediaPost

Image via MediaPost

Small Business Trends

Small Business Trends is another of my favorite all-rounder news sources. Covering everything from venture capital developments to trends in entrepreneurialism and striking out on your own, Small Business Trends also boasts great coverage of many aspects of digital media and marketing, making it a worthwhile addition to your (rapidly growing) reading list.

Social Media Marketing News

Social Media Today

Whenever anything of note happens in the social media world, Social Media Today is often among the first to report on it. Featuring a wide range of content beyond its hard news coverage, SMT is an indispensable ally to social media marketers who need the latest news as it happens.

SocialTimes

Although SocialTimes is not an independent news site, but rather a site owned and operated by AdWeek, that doesn’t diminish the quality of its coverage or its value to social media marketers. In fact, SocialTimes is one of the very best places to get social media news from an advertising-centric perspective, a relative rarity today, despite social media advertising’s rapidly growing popularity.

Marketing news SocialTimes

Image via AdWeek / SocialTimes

Social Media Examiner

One of the things I like most about Social Media Examiner is that it isn’t content to merely report on the news, but also offer actionable tips on how you can use it. This blend of hard news and applied strategy should put SME on every social media marketer’s to-read list, preferably over a nice hot cup of coffee first thing in the morning.

Buffer

It’s difficult to imagine the world of social media without Buffer. Ever since they shocked pretty much everyone with their radical approach to corporate transparency, the Buffer team has continued to raise eyebrows and the bar with the quality of their content and their timely insights into trending topics. In a rising ocean of content about social, Buffer continues to stand out.

Mashable

Just over 10 years ago, Pete Cashmore launched Mashable from his home in Aberdeen, Scotland. Today, Mashable is one of the titans of Internet publishing, boasting a social media following of tens of millions and some of the best marketing news content out there. When it comes to news on developments in social media, Mashable is tough to beat.

Marketing news Mashable

Image via Mashable

Content Marketing News

Unlike other aspects of digital marketing, there is very little actual news on which to report in the realm of content marketing. When there is, it’s usually tangentially related to a more newsworthy industry, such as SEO, rather than considered an entity unto itself. That said, there are several resources that I personally read on a regular basis to help me stay abreast of changes and trends in content that I think you’ll also find valuable.

Copyblogger

When it comes to content, nobody does it better than Copyblogger. Granted, Copyblogger is a little light when it comes to breaking news, but then again, content marketing isn’t exactly the most newsworthy topic, in the truest sense of the word. However, for content marketers seeking to hone their craft, Copyblogger is an invaluable resource, and therefore worthy of inclusion in this round-up. Subscribe to their RSS feed right now.

Contently

I absolutely love the guys over at Contently. Not only do they offer an awesome free portfolio builder for content producers and journalists who’ve made the switch to content, but they also publish two excellent blogs/newsletters: The Content Strategist and The Freelancer, both of which are always at the top of my reading list.

Marketing news Contently

Image via Contently

Content Marketing Institute

Few organizations have done as much to advance content marketing both as an industry and to the industry than the Content Marketing Institute. For many years, CMI has been the most vocal advocacy and support organization for content producers of all types, and the CMI blog and whitepapers are nothing short of essential reading for content marketers.

CoSchedule

I first discovered CoSchedule thanks to its Headline Analyzer, a remarkably nifty free tool that evaluates the strength of your headlines. Since then, I’ve become a regular and loyal reader of the CoSchedule blog. Offering some of the most actionable content tips out there, CoSchedule consistently publishes useful content that helps me do my job better.

Conversion Rate Optimization News

Similarly to content marketing, the burgeoning field of conversion rate optimization is also difficult to define from a news perspective. However, with more marketers than ever before paying close attention to the adjustments and optimizations that allow them to wring every last drop of value from their initiatives, I wanted to include a section for blogs and resources that you’ll find as valuable as I do.

Unbounce

Everyone on the marketing team here at WordStream loves Unbounce. Aside from being the home of the inimitable Oli Gardner, whose witty (and sometimes colorful, mildly NSFW) blog posts are as entertaining to read as they are useful, the Unbounce content team produces some of the best CRO content on the Web. Keep up the great work, guys!

Marketing news Unbounce

Image via Unbounce

Optimizely

Like Unbounce, Optimizely manages to make an awesome product and maintain an equally impressive blog. Optimizely is among my go-to resources when I want to know what’s going on in CRO trends, what changes I can make to optimize my content, and generally anything else about A/B testing and optimization. Oh, and the tote bags they were giving away at Opticon were awesome. Yes, I collect industry tote bags, and no, I’m not ashamed to admit it.

The Daily Egg

The Daily Egg, the blog of Crazy Egg, is another great CRO blog. I’m consistently impressed by both the quality and frequency of The Daily Egg’s content, and when it comes to a solid all-round blog that covers a wide range of topics relating to CRO, it’s one of the best.

KISSmetrics

The KISSmetrics blog publishes some of the most fascinating, actionable marketing content you’re likely to find. From how to leverage emotions to increase email signups to optimizing your landing pages, there’s something for every digital marketer. Highly recommended reading.

Miscellaneous Digital Marketing & Tech News

The resources below fit several of the above categories, so I’ve collected them here. However, unlike many miscellaneous sections, just because these resources aren’t easily categorized doesn’t make them any less valuable or worthwhile.

The Verge

Although The Verge’s editorial range is incredibly wide, covering everything from robotics technologies to virtual reality, it’s also an excellent source of breaking news for what’s going on in search and social media. In addition, The Verge offers some of the snappiest, liveliest writing I’ve come across online – a genuine pleasure in today’s oversaturated media environment. If you’re looking for intelligent, insightful social media news (along with other fascinatingly geeky stuff), look no further. The Verge also has arguably the best logo of any of these sites.

Marketing news The Verge

Ars Technica

Ars Technica is similar to The Verge in that it covers a huge range of topics, but its news reporting is among the very best the Web has to offer. Aside from its always-timely reporting on the hottest trends and breaking news in search and social media, Ars Technica’s fearlessly independent editorial stance is both a reminder of what Internet journalism should be and a standard to which we should all aspire.

ARTICLE CREDITS:
Article originally published at https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2016/01/05/marketing-news
Author:
Dan Shewan

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LinkedIn Modifies Its Algorithm To Create A Better News Feed For Users

LinkedIn Modifies Its Algorithm To Create A Better News Feed For Users

Are you fed up of scrolling through your LinkedIn feed and finding cat videos, motivational quotes, or apocryphal odes to business excellence that make you want to vomit?

Don’t worry – the social network has got you covered. LinkedIn has announced changes to its algorithm to prioritize better conversations in users’ feeds.

The company uses the maxim of ‘people you know, talking about things you care about’ as its framework. Consequently, as the company explains, it tries to filter through the garbage and onto the good stuff.

LinkedIn prioritizes users by filtering through direct interactions, direct connections, such as co-workers, and information on profiles to gauge interests and common experiences. The ‘talking about’ section rewards conversations which are ‘authentic’ and have ‘constructive back and forth’, while common groups, hashtags, and pages are also considered.

Naturally, it takes two to tango, and LinkedIn also took the opportunity to advise users on best practice for its platform. “Despite the rumors, the algorithm doesn’t favor any particular format,” the company noted. Use no more than three hashtags and mention no more than five other users in a post if you don’t want to be seen as a spammer. Yet the key is: be yourself.

“Authenticity is key,” wrote Pete Davies, consumer product at LinkedIn in a post announcing the changes. “All the tips work out better when members talk about things they truly care about, in a way that’s natural for them. Genuine conversation around real experiences spark better and deeper conversation. Better conversation, in turn, leads to stronger community and connection.”

In March, LinkedIn issued a report which explored how marketers could influence customer decisions across the buying process. The study argued that while more people were involved in the tech buying process, the purchase timeline was shortening. Marketers therefore needed to assert themselves more quickly, from knowing their buying audience, to engaging and communicating in ‘enlightened buyer’ communities.

 

ARTICLE CREDITS:
Article originally published at https://www.marketingtechnews.net/news/2019/jun/28/linkedin-modifies-its-algorithm-create-better-news-feed-users/
Author: James Bourne
10 Ways to Market Your Small Business on a Shoestring Budget

10 Ways to Market Your Small Business on a Shoestring Budget

When budgets are tight, marketing might be the first expense you look to cut.

Let me stop you right there.

While traditional advertising methods are costly and hard to measure, small businesses have never had greater access to cost-effective, trackable marketing tools.

But with so many digital tools available, how do you know where to start?

Email marketing is the tried and true digital marketing channel with an average return of $38 for every $1 spent.

Ready to do more business with email marketing?

1. Craft an elevator pitch

You should be marketing all the time — wherever you are. Therefore, you need a compelling elevator pitch.

Research shows the average attention span of an adult is about six to eight seconds. That’s all the time you have to grab someone’s attention.

If you successfully engage them, then you only have a little over a minute to really sell them on your product or service. Invest the time to craft a killer elevator pitch. The return on your investment will pay huge dividends in terms of creating business opportunities.

2. Leverage your community

You don’t have to think big when it comes to your marketing efforts. Think locally. What’s going on in your community?

Sponsor a Little League team or a 5k charity walk/run. Print bookmarks and leave them at the local library. Get to know your ideal customer and think about how and where they spend their time.

Then search for opportunities to get in front of your customer with your marketing message.

3. Collaborate

Put together a group of synergistic, non-competitive businesses in your area and agree to cross-promote.

You can use coupons, fliers, reciprocal website links, bundled promotions or social media platforms. By collaborating with each other, you can expand your customer base because you’ll be reaching new people.

4. Network

I’m a huge fan of networking. I don’t think there is any better way to build a business than to get out there, shake some hands, and get to know people.

Networking requires a time commitment and it doesn’t provide instant gratification, but a strong network is one of the greatest assets any business person can have.

5. Give a speech

A lot of people hate public speaking. However, there are many organizations looking for qualified, subject-matter experts who can present to their groups.

Take a deep breath and volunteer. You don’t have to be a pro as long as the information you share is helpful to the audience. And the upside — the more you do it the easier it gets. Plus, it positions you as a credible authority in your field.

6. Create buzz

I started my corporate career in the field of public relations and the business has changed significantly because of technology.

Today, a small business owner can accomplish a lot without hiring a professional firm. Subscribe to Help a Reporter Out. You can respond to reporters’ queries that are looking for story ideas and resources. Some are small media opportunities, but others are major media outlets that use this service too.

7. Ask for referrals

Don’t be shy about asking for customer referrals. The majority of people say they are willing to provide a referral if asked, but very few take the initiative to do it on their own.

Referrals make it easier to get in the door with new customers. If you aren’t asking for them, you are missing opportunities.

8. Build relationships

It is a lot less expensive to keep a customer than it is to get a new one. That’s why establishing strong relationships with your customer base is crucial. One of the ways you can do that is by keeping in touch with people through email marketing.

Ask customers for their email address when they visit your store or website. Then, make your communications informative, helpful and professional — something your customers will look forward to receiving.

9. Offer coupons

Coupons are a good way for many businesses to attract new customers. Research shows that people will go out of their way to use a coupon, proving that this method is successful in expanding your customer base.

Coupons can also generate return visits. For example, if you give a customer a coupon for a discount to use on future business, there’s a high probability they’ll be back.

10. Give it away

If someone has the opportunity to experience your product or service, chances are they will want to purchase more.

Don’t be afraid to give someone a free trial or a sample. In today’s economy, people are more comfortable purchasing something they have been able to experience first.

These ten, inexpensive marketing strategies will help you engage customers, build relationships, and ultimately keep your brand top-of-mind. It’s not always about the money you have to spend on marketing, it’s about the time and effort you put into it and above all, the relevance it has for your customers.

ARTICLE CREDITS:
Article originally published at https://blogs.constantcontact.com/market-your-small-business/
Author: Susan Solovic

 

Just say it: The Future Of Search is Voice and Personal Digital Assistants

Just say it: The Future Of Search is Voice and Personal Digital Assistants

In the 2013 drama Her, actor Joaquin Phoenix plays a lonely writer named Theodore who falls in love with his AI digital assistant, “Samantha.” Samantha, it seems, knows Theodore better than anyone.

And while the voice-search enabled digital assistants of the real-world like Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana and Amazon’s Alexa may not yet have had anyone confess their undying love, we do know that they are quickly becoming the go-to search mode for consumers everywhere. In fact, ComScore says that by 2020, 50 percent of all searches will be voice searches.

Today’s digital assistants are going beyond voice input, and are evolving to understand user intent and behaviors through available data and information to help consumers take actions.

With voice search and the adoption of personal assistants coming on strong, here are some trends and tips for digital marketers.

Voice Search is mobile – and part of your everyday life

Voice search tends to be more mobile and locally focused because it’s embedded into many mobile apps and devices. However, several digital assistants are integrated into products that are part of your everyday life, both at work and at home.

For instance, Microsoft has integrated Cortana into Windows 10 to power both text and voice search on all devices from your PC to your phone to the Xbox One.

Amazon’s Echo is like having the Star-Trek computer available at the command of your voice, ready to answer your questions, play your music or audiobooks, and even control other devices in your home through smart home-connected technology.

These devices are powered by data gathered across platforms and the Internet of Things and are no longer solely tethered to mobile devices and applications.

Using voice search and digital personal assistants are becoming second nature as they are integrated into products I use regularly and helps me get tasks done more quickly every day. For example, it’s common for me to use voice search in my car with Ford Sync technology.

I can send a text message while driving to let someone know I’m running late, or use Cortana on my PC to add an appointment to my calendar.  When I’m at home I can speak to my Xbox to navigate between my favorite TV channel and Netflix, and then during the movie, ask Echo to add ice cream to my AmazonFresh shopping cart because I’m almost out.

It’s about the conversation

Over the last 15 years, we’ve learned to succinctly express ourselves in very few words to traditional search engines. With voice search, spoken language connects people to what they’re searching for with an immediacy, convenience, and intimacy that text-only search could never provide.

Because of this, the artificial intelligence that powers voice search grows smarter with every interaction and has a better understanding of user intent as the search becomes more conversational in nature.

The AI is developing a model based on the conversational language that understands intent and context, builds on previous queries, can contemplate multiple steps and queries, and is oriented toward actions, tasks, and transactions.

For example: If I live in Seattle but have traveled to Munich and I ask my digital assistant for directions to a hotel, and then for a cab company in Munich, it should anticipate that when I ask for local restaurant recommendations, the search results should be in Munich – not in Seattle – based on my current geo-location and the context of my recent historical searches.

The search engines powering voice search and personal assistants are focusing on new ways that machine-based learning and artificial intelligence can be used to analyze all of the available data signals– not only from their own products and the available search knowledge graphs – but also at how a current query pertains to previous queries, geolocation signals as well as your own connected data as signals of intent.

As more devices and the Internet of Things provide data signals to the artificial intelligence platforms that power voice search, it can understand who you are, what you are doing, and where you are to understand the context of what you want, based on your behavior patterns and preferences. This makes voice search somewhat predictive in nature, with the ability to understand the intent and anticipate what the searcher’s upcoming needs may be.

Voice searches are different – and the results should be, too

We unconsciously change our behavior when using voice search. When you are searching for a restaurant on your desktop or phone, you might type in “Best Brunch in Los Angeles.” But when you use voice search you change your behavior and ask a question, like “What restaurant has the best brunch in Los Angeles?” or “What restaurants are open for Brunch Now?”

As a result, voice search queries are longer than their text counterparts – they tend to be three-to-five keywords in length, and they tend to explicitly ask a question, characterized by words like who, how, what, where, why and when, with the expectation that the search engines will provide an answer back.

The choice of words used in the question provides more context about user intent, which in turn can provide advertisers with more insight into where the consumer is within the purchase funnel. Are they simply researching, or ready to purchase?

For example, if a consumer asks, “What is the difference between an infant car seat and a convertible car seat?” they are likely just researching. But if they ask, “How much is a Mesa car seat?” or “Where can I buy a Mesa car seat?” they are much closer to taking action.

And remember, not all queries that start with a term are created equal. “What price” shows more intent than “What is” and is further down the purchase path. Create and develop content to answer specific questions and to match the right level of user intent.

Understanding the nuances between conversational search queries can help you discern consumer intent and make sure that your website contains the right content to adapt to voice search.

Top tips for tapping into voice search

The continued rise of both personal assistants and voice search means that it’s more important than ever to understand how search engines provide predictive answers to our questions. It’s necessary to adapt our marketing strategies to be visible and provide answers to questions across all formats from text search to voice search.

Personal assistants are getting smarter based on how we interact with them, learning from our speech patterns and personal preferences to gain context to help us with our daily life so we can focus on what matters most.

Voice search is not a thing of the future – it’s here today, and consumers are quickly adopting it. When they fall in love with their digital assistant of choice, make sure you’re there, ready to take advantage of the promise voice search and digital assistants can deliver.


How savvy marketers should adapt to voice search

  1. Write content in a natural, conversational voice that answers the questions your consumers are asking: Website content in the era of voice search isn’t about keywords, it’s about semantic search and building the context related to answering a question.
  2. Build out your view of user intent based on the types of question-based queries: It’s essential to understand the intent behind a query and how both you and the search engine can deliver more accurate results based on the anticipated context. Develop content as well as expand your paid search keyword lists to include longer tail keyword phrases to reach users at each stage of intent based on the types of questions they are asking.
  3. Make sure structured data is integrated into the backend of your website (schema mark-up): Structured data within your website becomes more important because it is one of the signals used to power the search results and the “cards” — or direct answers. Using structured data and schema mark-up can help the search engines understand and crawl your data more efficiently and become part of the available knowledge graphs.

 

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Article originally published at https://www.campaignlive.co.uk/article/just-say-it-future-search-voice-personal-digital-assistants/1392459

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