Learn How to Make Your Alexa Skill Discoverable

A survey of the Alexa skill library found that about 70 percent of the skills only had one or zero customer reviews. It’s possible that you could slave over developing one of the greatest skills to ever grace the Alexa library, only to find that absolutely no one has shown any interest in it. Part of this problem may be due to the skill itself, especially if it is similar to dozens (or even hundreds) of other types of skills that have been in the library longer. Another part of the problem may be your approach to promoting your skill. You simply can’t push it to the Alexa skill library and wait for people to stumble upon it: With over 25,000 skills available, you may be in for a very long wait. With such stiff competition, how can you improve your skill’s chances of being discovered?

Make it easy to remember

An Alexa skill should have something special about it to make it stand out. First, choose a strategic name for your skill, one that is simple to say and remember. Some good examples here are Hellmann’s Best Recipes skill (“Alexa, open Best Recipes”) and the Kayak skill (which gives you information about travel planning and can help book a hotel). Developing a stellar name is not as easy as it may first seem: It has to explain exactly what your skill does while still being short and catchy. Long, difficult or even embarrassing words may cause users to skip your skill. In addition, make sure that the name is optimized for users to find it in the Skills Store; most of your users will likely already have had experience accessing mobile apps, so they probably already have specific language in mind that addresses what your Alexa skill can do.

Next, write a clear description about what your skill can actually do. This part of promoting your skill should include succinct language and only specify the true nature of the skill (be wary of being overpromising and underdelivering; this isn’t an elevator pitch). A solid, useful description will include the right types of keywords that users would expect to find with such a skill and contain a reason for why your voice-enabled skill is superior to a regular app.

Finally, design an eye-catching icon. Let’s be honest: Many people do judge a book by its cover, at least at first. Your skill’s icon should be designed with the goal of grabbing the user’s interest immediately. The best icons include something recognizable, such as how many brands include either their logos or aspects of their logos (such as Tide’s stain remover skill). No words are necessary, either. Text-free icons limit the amount of reading that your potential users need to do; plus, unless you are including a very short word, text on a logo can look awkward or crowded. Think of how simple it is to understand a thumbnail; you immediately understand that the smaller picture presents the content of the larger file. Since Alexa skills are for voice, you might want to consider developing a voice logo to nab user attention, but be careful here. One man’s dulcet-toned jingle is another man’s annoyance.

Do your research

Of course, you have most likely already looked into what kinds of skills are in the library before your first lines of code were generated. It’s time to look again at the categories. Your best chance of attracting attention is to find a sparsely populated category where there are few (or no) skills. A word of advice: Do not try to fool users by misplacing your skill in a poorly populated category when it actually belongs somewhere else. (This type of bait-and-switch technique may work a few times, but users will quickly out the skill and may even leave some nasty feedback.) While you are doing your research, check out the Skills Store to make sure someone has not already built a skill with the same name as yours to avoid duplicates and increase your chances of standing out from the crowd.

Promote, promote, promote

Just like any other product or service, the only way to get attention for your skill is to advertise it. Pro developer Jo Jaquinta highlighted that the key to skill adoption is related to advertising. Of course, your company’s new Alexa skill should be featured on your website, and you will want to include it in your newsletter and mailing lists. In addition, let the world know about your skill on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Don’t overlook sites that appeal to a more tech-savvy crowd, such as ProductHuntReddit, and Hacker News, which promote the novel and freshest ideas from all corners of the internet.

Getting users excited about your Alexa skill is much like marketing other products and services. You need to be offering something unique and valuable (your skill), with an attractive packaging (your skill’s name, description and icon). Market your skill by tapping into the power of the internet to get the word out. Are you interested in creating a skill but perhaps lack the time to build it? Our team of skilled developers can help you to move your skill from a mere idea to reality. Contact us today to see how we can help you.

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