What Is Voice Marketing—and Why You Should Be Doing It

4 min read • Jun 17, 2021 • Derek Miller

Strategic marketers are always on the hunt for the next big trend. If you can get on a platform before anyone else does (like TikTok or early-adopter Instagrammers), you can build a massive audience and establish your brand on that channel.

Jumping on trends is easy—discovering new ones is hard. However, the next up-and-coming platform might have been in front of us all along—or more specifically, within earshot.

Voice marketing taps into the use of audio recordings, experiences, and communication to engage users. While voice marketing goes back as far as the radio, it’s gained a lot more popularity in recent years.

Learn more about this new-ish trend and how you can take advantage of it. 

The Exponential Growth of Voice Marketing

Voice marketing isn’t especially new. However, it’s recently gained more attention, thanks to the resurgence of podcasting and the rise of voice-activated technology such as Siri and smart speakers.

For example, only 12% of Americans had listened to a podcast in the past month in 2010. This number rose to 37% in 2020, a number that accounts for more than 104 million Americans. In 2020, 155 million Americans (55%) also reported having ever listened to a podcast in their lives. 

Most people listen to more than 1 podcast each month, jumping from topic to topic depending on their mood. Stitcher, a podcasting platform, reported that the number of podcasts on the platform has grown 129,000% in the past decade. In 2010, the company published 350,000 episodes. In 2019, they published 7 million. 

While these numbers are staggering, podcasting only makes up a small aspect of voice marketing. Brands are also tapping into new apps like Clubhouse, which feature live audio shows, and Twitter Spaces, which is meant to serve as an audio-based chatroom to prove context with tone and empathy—emotions that are often lost via text. 

What’s Driving Voice Marketing Growth?

Many factors are fueling the rise in voice marketing. The first is convenience: you can listen to podcasts throughout your day, whether you’re taking the subway to work or driving in your car. Many people listen to discussions while working or completing chores at home. It’s possible to multitask while listening—and the use of headphones makes the experience private. 

However, there’s also a deeper emotional reason behind the rise of voice marketing—something Twitter hopes to tap into with its Spaces platform. Listening allows humans to pick up context clues where there previously were none. 

For example, the phrase “well, that’s nice” can be read in an empathetic or sarcastic manner depending on the context or the person speaking. It’s easy to lose this emotion in a written message. In the same way you feel excited or content listening to your favorite songs, voice marketing elicits emotions and builds connections—both goals of most marketing campaigns.  

Voice marketing meets at the corner of convenience and connection, which is why people are drawn to it—and why brands need to invest in it. 

How Can Your Brand Tap Into Voice Marketing? 

Voice marketing is an incredibly flexible solution for your brand. You can decide how you want to scale your efforts and engage with audiences. Check out these tips to launch your voice marketing efforts and see what your audience thinks. 

  • Explore up-and-coming audio platforms. Request an invite from Clubhouse and see if you can attend some events there. 
  • Check out Twitter Spaces when it first goes live. (If you’ve ignored your Twitter account for the past year, give it some life first.)
  • Consider starting or sponsoring a podcast. If you’re already blogging, this could serve as a fresh medium to share your content. 
  • Try to optimize your content for voice search. This can help your website show up as an answer when people use voice assistance. 
  • Evaluate your brand. Is your message funny? Serious? Informative? Figure out what will make people tune in so you can keep them engaged. 
  • Keep it accessible. Pair your voice marketing efforts with accessible features. For example, include a transcript with your podcast to help listeners with hearing loss and support your SEO efforts. 

As with all marketing practices, your content will determine your success. If you don’t have anything interesting or valuable to say, your efforts will fall flat. Consider focusing on the content aspect of your business and then finding the right platforms for it rather than choosing a platform first. This can guide your creative efforts and increase your chances of success.   

Explore New Marketing Trends

Often, companies are timid when it comes to exploring new trends. They want to see how something plays out before investing time and money into reaching a potentially small audience. However, these early risks can lead to long-term rewards. Consider the value of voice marketing and its proven popularity over the past decade. Brainstorm ways to join in, whether you’re getting invited to Clubhouse or setting up a podcast of your own.

Derek Miller

Derek Miller is a writer specializing in entrepreneurship, small business, and digital marketing. His work has featured in sites like Entrepreneur, GoDaddy, Score.org, and StartupCamp. He’s currently the CMO of Smack Apparel, the content guru at Great.com, and a marketing consultant for small businesses.