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Conversational Design: Everything Marketers Need To Know with Emily Lonetto

Conversational Design: Everything Marketers Need To Know with Emily Lonetto

Stewart Hillhouse
Stewart Hillhouse

Smart speakers have over a 30% adoption rate, with the number of voice-enabled devices growing every single day. Emily Lonetto joins Stewart Hillhouse on Top Of Mind to share where the opportunities are for marketers when it comes to conversational design & voice apps.

Listen on your favourite podcast player

Who's The Guest?

šŸ‘¤ Name: Emily Lonetto

šŸ’Ŗ What They Do: Emily is Head of Growth & Marketing at Voiceflow

šŸŒ Emily on the web: Website | Twitter

šŸ§  Best Advice: The best voice apps create incremental behaviour change. Look for tasks that people are already doing and re-create them with voice.

Episode Takeaways

A short summary of the most actionable takeaways and best advice of the episode.

Why are voice apps such a big deal?

We're currently going through a computer interface change. The interface is the medium we interact with our computers. In the last 40 years, we've gone from punch-cards, to keyboards, to touchscreens.

At each interface change, there are tons of opportunities to invent new things. We're currently going through a change from mobile phones to smart speakers.

šŸ’„ Top Of Mind Takeaway: Whenever there's an innovation in technology, there's also the opportunity to design how we interact with computers from the ground up. Just because it's been done a certain way for decades doesn't make it the best way to do something. But if you're going to change someone's behaviour, you're going to need to do it strategically (as we'll discuss in the next section).

How to design a voice app people will actually use

According to Emily, the best voice app designers look for behaviours and rituals people already have. Then they design the voice app to allow them to accomplish the same tasks with less steps, without needing to use their phone, or in a fraction of the time.

This is important because you're dealing with two behaviour changes.

  1. The interface - Not everyone is used to talking to a computer. Therefore, it'll take some time before they do it naturally. This is a major behaviour change.
  2. The task - If you expect someone to accomplish a new task perfectly the first time, you will be disappointed. It takes time and practice before users will be experts at new tasks.

If you design an app that's totally new, you're competing against both those behaviour changes. The chances of someone adopting your new method will be pretty slim.

So instead, focus on finding behaviours that people are already doing and making them voice-based.

Ex. Some people like to listen to relaxing music and meditate in the mornings. Creating a voice app that accomplishes this task by saying "Start morning meditation".

There will be a higher adoption rate if you're only asking people to change a little bit of their behaviours, not everything.

How to market your voice skill

Emily says that the most successful voice developers are very open about their development. They actually market the skill before it's even done.


  • It allows them to get direct feedback as they're building it.
  • It builds an audience who are eager for it when it launches.
  • It starts to develop SEO before the app is available.

šŸ’„ Top Of Mind Takeaway: Like most things, it's better to start marketing your product or business waaaaaay before it actually goes live. This allows you to manage launch expectations and build a base of early adopters you can sell to right away. And with hundreds of thousands of new voice apps launched each year, being proactive about finding your customers is a must for any voice developer or marketer.

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