AWS unveiled Alexa for Business during its re:INVENT conference in Las Vegas
AWS unveiled Alexa for Business during its re:INVENT conference in Las Vegas PHOTO: AWS

The Amazon Echo is already being used by major brands to reach their audience in a whole new way. With flash briefings, brands can publish daily content that users can listen to during their morning routines. This often comes in the form of news, recent article headlines and weather updates.

With custom skills, brands can branch out and code skills that integrate with other IoT devices to control them with audio commands. Or, they can code their own audio-based games, broadcast radio, and a whole lot more. In fact, the possibilities — much like native mobile apps — are endless.

When we discussed Alexa Blueprints for the first time, we touched on the possible business use cases for some of the templates available. Today, we’re taking a look at how to turn Alexa Blueprints into Alexa Skills that can help improve your business' customer experience.

Related Article: 16 Crucial Alexa Skills For Marketers

Why Build An Alexa Skill For Your Customers?

According to comScore as much as 50 percent of all searches will be performed using voice input by 2020. This statistic by itself speaks volumes about the growth of voice-enabled assistants, but if you still need convincing about Amazon Alexa specifically — which is now in roughly 30 million US homes — Amazon’s announcement that it plans to put Alexa “everywhere” might be enough for you.

But building an Alexa Skill is a technically intensive task, right? Well, not since the advent of Alexa Blueprints, which enable almost anybody to build an Alexa Skill simply by filling in the “blanks” of a pre-built, ready to launch skill. “Alexa Blueprints are ready built templates for the Amazon Alexa personal assistant and make it much easier for people with limited technical skills or programming knowledge to start making voice skills,” said David Alexander, Digital Marketer at UK based Mazepress. “[The release of Alexa Blueprints] presents a new opportunity for marketers to be early adopters [of the Amazon Echo],” he continued.

Timothy Hughes, Founder and CEO of Teddington, UK based Digital Leadership Associates, agreed with Alexander’s assertion. “Alexa has quickly become the new battleground for brands to improve customer experience. Alexa Blueprints opens the platform right up to anybody to create Alexa skills without the need for programming skills. As a marketer there is no excuse now why Alexa is not now part of the marketing mix,” Hughes said.

Related Article: 7 Things Businesses Should Know About Alexa in the Workplace

5 Alexa Blueprints You Can Use to Assist, Educate and Entertain Customers

Douglas Robinson, Founder of NYC-based Fresh Digital, told CMSWire that the key to building a successful Alexa Skill for consumers is, “giving the consumer something they can use in their daily lives, whether that's knowledge, entertainment, health tips or something else — because becoming part of someone's daily routine is priceless.” Thankfully, there are five Alexa Blueprints that can help brands become part of their target audience’s daily routine.  

Custom Q&A

With the Custom Q&A Alexa Blueprint, you can produce an FAQ skill to help your customers understand your brand, products and services without ever having to leave their living rooms — or lift a finger.

Storytelling

The different storytelling blueprints enable you to tell outlandish stories with your brand, or the personalities within your brand, playing any role you wish. If you’re able to make your story witty, comical, scary or interesting enough, your customers will be eager to share recordings of the story on other platforms.

Quizzes

The Quiz Alexa Blueprint makes it easy to set questions and answers for a straightforward quiz on the subject of your choice. Facebook quizzes continue to enjoy huge success, attracting quiz-takers, commenters and likes at scale. A well-executed quiz based on your brand or industry might enjoy similar results. The quizzes are made via the Quiz Branded quiz, like Facebook.

Facts

Dishing out facts related to your industry is a great way into the ears of your target audience. If, for example, your company operates in the social media marketing industry, you could use the facts blueprint to build an Alexa Skill that announces random facts about the size of social media platforms, the amount of video content currently on YouTube, what the latest Snapchat feature includes, and so forth.

Trivia

The trivia blueprint is the perfect way to launch your brands first Alexa-based game by taking things one step further than a quiz. With the trivia blueprint, you can ask your audience open-ended questions about the topics they may be interested in. There’s an element of education and entertainment to be had here.

Alexa Skill Marketing Just Got Accessible

Building an Alexa Skill used to be a difficult task — and while it’s still no walk in the park for non-technical people to build custom Skills, the emergence of Alexa Blueprints gives marketers an accessible way to engage their target market on a whole new level.