How to choose and test the activation phrase of your Alexa skill

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The activation phrase of a skill is an essential element for its success.

Choosing the right one will help spread it, choosing it the wrong way can seriously compromise the results.

That’s why today I want to give you some tips on how to locate and test your skill’s activation phrase.

Let’s start right away with some practical examples of activation phrases used by IPERVOX users.

Alexa skill activation phrase: practical examples to make it effective


All of the following examples are skill translations created in English

An activation phrase chosen for a skill, created with IPERVOX, was: How to sell a home now”

First of all, we have to think that this sentence must sound good with the incipit “Alexa, Open” or “Alexa, close”.

If we use Alexa, Open how to sell house right away” it might work, but if we use “Alexa, Ask How to Sell Home Right Away” would clash and unlikely to be used.

My advice in this case is: remove the “how” and leave only “Sell house now”.

When we choose the activation phrase, we must remember that other words and commands will be attached to it (such as “last content”).

One indication that should always be followed is to use 2 maximum 3 words to reduce the cognitive load for the user.

Let’s move on to another example:

“Where to go trekking in California”.

It’s way too long and would sound bad even with all the controls.

My advice is to take away “where to go” and leave only “California Trekking”

In this way, the trigger phrase would become “Open California Trekking”.

Let’s now move on to a website-related advice.

If you want to use your site name in the trigger phrase, you need to type “site name: dot com” and not “site name .com” (recommended for one-word sites).

Then the phrase would become “Alexa, Open restaurants dot com” or “Ask restaurants point com”.

Fast, very low cognitive load, memorable and connects well to the other words.

Let’s see two more examples of activation phrases that I often see:

The first example is: “Miami Hotel Offers”.

My advice is to remove the word “offers” and leave only “Hotel Miami”

The fact that there are offers communicates it with the content of the skill.

The second example is: “Contents: skill name”.

In these cases, It would improve the sentence by removing “Contents” and leaving the “name of the skill”

The general principle is to always simplify and leave only the essential words.

As in this case: “The voice of books.”

My advice is to remove “the” and leave only “Voice of Books” that would pair well with “Open Book Entry” or “Ask for Book Voice.”

An example of person names is: “Robert Cain voice”

In this case, I would remove the first or last name so that it remains “Open Robert Voice” and would work well.

Now I’m going to show you the example of an error that isn’t in the choice of the activation phrase but in the way the phrase is written.

A skill called “007 of the web”, with the “007” written all attached and in numbers risks creating problems.

What needs to be done in this case is to separate the numbers and write them in letters, then  “Zero zero seven”.

Now let’s look at a very simple method to test the trigger phrase before choosing it and understanding how it will be interpreted by Alexa.

This little trick will allow you to facilitate the choice and writing of the sentence.

Just open the Alexa app on your smartphone and say “Alexa, open [the phrase you’re planning to use]”.

If there are no other skills with the same name already, you’ll hear a sound that signals an error.

It’s a good sign, it means the name is free and you can use it to publish.

If you want to understand how Alexa interpreted the command, go to the app, click on settings, then on history and read how she interpreted it.

Simply copy that text and paste it as your name of choice.

However, on IPERVOX, on the detail sheet of your skill (near the trigger phrase field) you will find a link with very detailed suggestions about what you can and cannot use for your activation phrase.

I hope these examples have been helpful to you to better understand how you’ll have to think about choosing the activation phrase of your skill.

Always keep in mind its importance.

There are potentially thousands or millions of people ready and pronounce it, make life simple and benefit from it.

As soon as you find the perfect activation phrase for you, you’ll be within minutes of publishing your skill.

Just click on “Start for free” at the bottom to start creating your Alexa skill.

I’m waiting for you.

See you soon,

Juxhin
CEO and Founder of IPERVOX

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