Amazon announced several new features for its voice assisted speaker Alexa. For email marketers, the most pertinent feature was Alexa’s new ability to read emails aloud to their owners.
According to reports, Alexa is now able to sync with Google Gmail, Microsoft Outlook, Hotmail and Live.com accounts. All the user needs to do is say “check my email”. This triggers Alexa to respond by notifying them of how many unread emails they have. Then Alexa starts to read out the user’s email subject lines.
After each subject line Alexa will give you four options.
1) Have Alexa read the body copy of the email.
2) Reply to it.
3) Archive it. or
4) Delete it.
Why should Email Marketers Care About Alexa’s Features?
While opinion on whether the new feature will be a boon or a bane for marketers seems to be split, one thing is certain. The new feature could seriously change email marketing.
If the feature gains popularity and Alexa becomes the new voice of your campaigns, it will produce a new set of rules for engagement.
First of all, no more pictures. Obviously, Alexa is not equipped to provide the reader with visuals. This could be seriously damaging for any marketers looking to promote any product that is primarily sold on how it looks (clothing, fashion accessories, furniture, etc.)
Body copy would; therefore, have to make up the slack.
Instead of images, marketers would have to rely on more detailed product descriptions to paint a picture in the customer’s mind.
Alexa’s development also carries serious implications for subject lines and email length:
Customers will be; primarily, using the new feature as a time-saving device. This puts even more pressure on subject lines and body copy to be short, punchy, and effective in delivering a message.
Most people will be using their device to sort through 10, 20, or 30 emails at a time and long emails are bound to make the task all the more tedious.
Furthermore, Alexa’s robotic voice might not make for the greatest salesperson. The script you’ll give to Alexa will have to pack a lot of personality in as clear a way as possible.
While I’m sure this change will be felt by email marketers, I’m skeptical as to how damaging it will be. Email has been an ever-present force in marketing for close to 40 years now.
In that time, it has faced many different doomsday prophecies (social media marketing, the move to smartphones, and GDPR among others.)
And, yet, email marketing is still here. Why?
Email is the most cost-effective way to generate real sales from an existing base. Where email hasn’t managed to simply outperform its competition, marketers have learned to adapt the industry.
And if marketers want to adapt to this change, I’d recommend a prompt response. If Alexa is reading people their emails, I’m sure Google Home will be quick to follow.