Reading Time: 12 minutes
Overview: In this episode of Digital Conversations with Billy Bateman is joined by Bob Stolzberg CEO and founder of VoiceXP. He walks us through the importance of securing your brand name in the voice space and how to integrate voice into your current marketing process to capture your prospect where they are available.
Guest: Bob Stolzberg– Bob believes that every business needs an Alexa Skill the same way they need a website. And if they don’t get one they’ll be in big trouble because their competition got there first. He’s the best in the world at helping businesses engage real customers and get a real ROI using Voice Technology like Alexa Skills. He’s the Founder and CEO of VoiceXP. VoiceXP is a voice app building tool that Anyone can use to put their business on Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Samsung Bixby without coding, hiring a developer, or tech team at all.
All right everyone, welcome to digital conversation. I am your host Billy Bateman. Today I am joined by the CEO and founder of Voice XP Bob Stolzberg. Bob how are you doing?
Bob: Amazing! Thank you so much for having me on Billy. And thank you to the listeners for tuning in. This is going to be a great episode. I’m excited.
Billy: It is I’m excited as well. So, tell us just a little bit about yourself and Voice XP and what you guys do.
Bob: Sure. I’m Bob Stolzberg the founder and CEO. I started Voice XP 3 1/2 years ago, but I come from a 20 plus year enterprise IT background. I’m living in the rural Ozark mountains of Missouri on a water Lily farm that I bought off of Craigslist.
I operate Voice XP out of small-town USA and what we do is we help businesses get into voice technology and get an ROI from it. What that means is will help you get on Alexa to engage your customers prospects your audience and help you get an ROI from that technology. Specifically though we work with all sorts of businesses of any size like Hallmark, CenturyLink, TiVo, Square, Mercy Health Care, Arizona State University, the state of New Hampshire and we make a platform that allows anybody to in minutes create a premium Alexa skill without coding hiring a developer or tech team. It’s like Craigslist simple. So, voice XP is a software company that helps businesses get on Alexa and Google without coding in minutes through our SAS platform.
Billy: Awesome man. One of the things when we 1st started getting connected I poked around, and your website talked about securing your voice domain name. Honestly, I didn’t even know that was a thing that should be looking at doing. So can you tell us what does that mean? What does that do for somebody who’s a business owner?
Bob: Yeah sure so I’ve been focused 100% in the voice space for 3 1/2 years and I’ve learned a lot. I’ve got my more than 10,000 hours of mastery in it. One of the things I learned is that businesses do not necessarily need to be on Alexa right now. That’s what they feel. That’s what other customers have told me. My customers aren’t begging for it I don’t know yet.
What they need to do is secure their business or brand name. Because voice has an invocation phrase right. For example, Voice XP is the name of my company. So, we went out there and we secured our name on Alexa. It’s also on Google assistant and Samsung Bixby because the way these platforms like Google and Samsung work is it’s first come first serve. If you’re the first one to show up with a voice app and request that invocation phrase, as long as it violates a major brand trademarks, you’re going to get it.
We were able to secure phrases like Black Friday in Cyber Monday years ago. It’s the same thing as the.com boom. Exact same thing. What are you going to do a short time from now and everybody’s talking to these devices instead of looking at your website? They’re talking to look up your website and you didn’t get your business name. Some other squatter or somebody else got their first. That sucks we all know that pain. But that’s really the opportunities because it’s a wide-open right now for some of the hottest domain names out there.
What we do is for $20 we will spin up a voice app on all the major platforms and secure that name for you. You also can use our platform to then build out that voice experience. So, it’s away again to secure your business if you’re not ready to build something out yet you can at least get you locked in it.
Billy: Makes sense man, makes sense. So, let me ask you this just to maybe backtrack a tiny bit. How do you get into voice? What inspired you to start working on this?
Bob: I saw I got an Echo of those really tall ones back in in 2016 for Christmas and I plugged it in. And as a 20-year technology guy who witnessed the birth of the web in the 90s and then mobile and social media I immediately recognized that this is just another wave of disruptive technology.
But what really crystallized for me was my kids. Using it for half an hour a day to get information, jokes, entertainment, language translations. There were just like me when I was a kid goofing around with technology. Since 2017 all of the numbers have grown exponentially to now where over 34% of US households have Alexa in them.
I saw a trend early on. I went all in because I believe that voice is that next wave and it’s going to disrupt everything. If you have an app you need to have a voice app. I saw the opportunity with my kids and really parlayed my enterprise career and relationships I had to leverage some great customer trust and create new use cases and pioneer things. For example, voice XP was the very first company to have a single word invocation phase for a platinum music recording artist. We were the first to do music videos with Alexa in them with these artists and a bunch more stuff early on. What we did is we just we worked with our customers and figured it out. And I leveraged a lot of my and our team’s previous relationships to make it happen. I don’t want to ramble.
Billy: No this is good. So, you guys start out kind of as an agency just helping people to build \ skills. Then from there you were able to say okay here are the tools to enable people to do it on their own.
Bob: 100% correct. Yeah, our business model has changed where it’s gone from custom software development. Where you’re having to integrate software with another system and make it all work and design it and you know there’s project management and development. That’s agency stuff.
After doing that for years and figuring out the killer apps of voice the common denominators and what the process is to enable anybody to do it. That’s when we released a Craigslist simple SAS platform for anybody to do it. So, we still operate in an agency mode. We’ve got great experience and we love innovating with fortune 1000 customers and it’s honestly, it’s tough turning down big checks but we’re really focused on enabling every business in the world to get into voice.
We’ve been described as the GoDaddy of voice because you can start by just securing your name and then using our do-it-yourself building tools and training and resources to build out an experience. Then use our voice marketing plan that we give our customers to really amp it up and market and promote your voice experiences so you can get that ROI.
Billy: Okay man so let’s say Billy Bateman you know cofounder chat funnels wants to get a voice skill on Alexa. I sign up, I secure chat funnels business name and then I what do I even do? I’m a SAS and consulting company for chatbots. How is a voice skill going to going to help me? Where would you suggest starting?
Bob: Well the way to think about it is that voice is another spoke off of your omnichannel marketing. It’s part of your marketing process and any savvy digital marketer knows that the reason you’re on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn is because you have to be everywhere to catch that customer, prospect, that person’s attention where they are. That’s the whole name of the game is getting your attention in the moment where you are and entering my funnel.
If I were and you’ve got something called ChatFunnels you’re going to have an experience, this is just me spit balling. You’re going to have an experience that tells people and educates them, this is what a chat funnel is. This is what it can do for you, this is how others have used it, and this is what our customers are saying.
Here’s the key point right we’re going to turn this voice experience into a funnel because at the end of this experience maybe we can do something that you would traditionally call a call to action like offer up a white paper or case study. Hey if you would like me to text you a case study about our top three customers and how they use Billy Bateman’s chat funnel system to increase sales. Whatever that is. Just say, send me a white paper. Let me show you an example from our Voice XP skill and how that works. Let’s hope this demo works, my demos have been like 50/50 lately.
Billy: Live demos are always tricky, so we’ll be forgiving.
Bob: “Alexa ask Voice XP to send me the CenturyLink case study”.
Alexa: Okay, I can text you a link to the CenturyLink case study right now. What is the mobile phone number starting with the area code first you want me to send it to?
Alexa: Did I hear you correctly? I heard 314-555-2610
Alexa: Awesome, got it. I just sent you a text with a link to the case study. If you’re all done just say goodbye.
Bob: Alright I’m going to cut out there. Now you heard you heard a couple dings there, let me explain what happened. Number one I got a text message on my phone and I got a link. The text message said here’s the CenturyLink case study you requested from the Voice XP skill. Then it has a you are a tiny url right. Then I also got a text message that said an Alexa user requested CenturyLink case study and I got that users telephone number. I also got an email that said an Alexa user requested the CenturyLink case study and it included their phone number.
Because I as the business that owner of that skill I want to know every time someone is requesting something like a white paper, a coupon, a menu, my real estate listings it’s endless possibilities. I’m capturing that phone number, to close the loop on this. That’s the end of your funnel is capturing that lead. What happens, some of my customers use other automations like say Xapier and they’ll auto add that person to their existing text message service. They’ll get another text that says text stop to opt out right.
The whole point Billy is imagine your prospect your fan your audience whoever they are scrolling on Instagram they see a picture on there that has that call to action. Like, Alexa ask ChatFunnels send me the case study. You just took that user from a social media platform probably on their phone to a smart speaker experience. Where you educated them. You essentially had Alexa do the selling for you. And then at the end of that process you sent them a text message which you got the lead from. Then that user jumped to another mobile app along that journey.
We’ve got some customers that have contests. And you have to use Alexa as the top of the funnel to enter the contest. Then give it the phone number. Then you get texted the link to which you have to put your email address in to get extra entries and stuff like that. And that marker is like holy smokes I just got to phone number and an email in a 30 second process that was frictionless and a fun experience for the customer. That’s the power of voice.
And again, to close the loop you took him on a journey from a possibly a social media ad or whatever omnichannel place that you put that marketing for your skill out there. And then you got him to enter through a smart speaker or a mobile phone, smart AI assistant like hey Google. Then you were able to get him to hit your website on a mobile app. That’s the goal of this thing. It’s not just about having a voice app out there. It’s about having a voice app that integrates with your marketing processes so that you can capture the attention of your audience when and where they are available.
Billy: I got it man. I love it. So, I want to take one step back further up the funnel because one of the things that we constantly hear about voice is: the biggest challenge is discoverability. How do people find my voice app and then know my Alexa skills there? Now you laid out before we started recording a strategy that a pizza shop is using to get people using the Alexis skill. I’d love to hear what are some strategies for helping people find your voice skills and the experience is your building, so that it’s worth the time for the marketing team to do that so people are getting in there?
Bob: That’s a really good question and I’m going to give you an answer that I think not a lot of people are going to like. Screw discoverability. Don’t rely on somebody else to market your stuff. If you have a skill you need to be the one that’s promoting it and marketing, it. It’s honestly really easy. Think about it like this, I just got a brand new website, how do I generate traffic? It’s the same exact thing. The first thing I’m going to do is I’m going to make some cute memes. I’m going to post them on my social media to drive people there. Because that’s free and that’s easy, that’s the really good starting point.
Next I’m going to start mentioning some stuff in my email newsletter. I’m going to make some graphics that have my little Alexa icon on there. Maybe it says Alexa enable ChatFunnels. I want my existing audience customers to use my stuff. My dad who’s own a business longer than I’ve been alive gave me a great quote. He said Bob, the best customer is the one you’ve already got. So, if you’re trying to drive engagement to a new property whether it’s new website, new social media, new voice app use your existing audience.
And do it however you can- email signature, email newsletter, put it on your website, postcards, flyers, put a sign outside your business. 34% of Americans have these in their home and Alexa in the car is exponentially growing. Five years from now you’re going to be driving by stuff and then they’re going to talk to it. So savvy marketers need to prepare for that and start thinking of the magical phrases and intents they can put on a billboard.
Think of this, it’s five thirty you’ve got the kids in the back of the car, “Dad I’m hungry”. You look at the wife and you’re like what do you want to do for dinner. I don’t know what do you want to do for dinner. Then suddenly you drive past the Billboard that says something like “Alexa ask Imo’s pizza send me a coupon”. It’s got the picture of the pizza in the toaster grabs in the salad. You just say that to your car. Then instantly you get texted a coupon. And maybe you could even get automatically connected to place order over your car through Alexa. So, you just have to pull up to the curb and pick that up. Boom! Honey, thank Alexa for dinner.
Marketers this is happening right now. I know because we’ve been selling Alexa for restaurants to enable that type of frictionless hands-free anywhere activity ordering. Marketers need to be thinking about how they can get people to enter their funnel. It’s no longer going to be from a mobile app or their websites. How are they going to advertise those magical things that people have to say to engage.
Billy: I love it so before we wrap up. Is there anything I should have asked you about that that I haven’t at this point?
Bob: Well everybody that’s in front of a computer if you Google social media examiner Voice XP you’ll find this great write up from one of our customers doctor Terry Fisher. Who created a voice app on our platform that was a contest? It was a contest that he used in conjunction with his podcast and his flash briefing. I mean this guy was giving away prizes and you know he did a daily podcast. You basically have to go check the Alexa skill he built every day to get a clue. If you piece together all the clues, you could figure out how to win the prizes and enter in all this stuff.
The whole point is the guys social media impressions grew over 2400% during the time he ran this contest that was all based around an Alexa skill. He increased his email list’s, phone number list his website down a visitor his flash briefing enablement his podcast subscribers. Every single number went up because he included voice as part of his marketing funnel. That’s the key thing if you want to read about it, again social media examiner Voice XP. Google that You’ll find the article on socialmediaexaminer.com. It’s a step by step blueprint that shows exactly what this guy did to integrate it and make it work. So, the question was what some of the like success are. And I point to that one.
Billy: Alright man will put a link to that in the show notes. Thanks, bob it’s been great if people want to reach out and continue the conversation where can they find you?
Bob: Voice XP dot com. Hit me up on Linked in I’d love to help your audience out. Connect with me anyway I’m on the Twitter LinkedIn and the website.
Billy: OK man sounds good thanks again and we’ll chat later Bob.
Bob: Thank you. Thanks listeners have a great day guys!