Best Practices New Product Announcements – Marketing For SaaS Product Launches

Best Practices New Product Announcements - Marketing For SaaS Product Launches

What are the best practices for new product announcements? What tools and channels can a product manager use to effectively announce new products or features?

If you are after answers to these and other questions, you’re in the right place!

Let’s dive into how, when, and where to announce your new products or features to increase their adoption and your customer base.

TL;DR

  • Product announcement involves all the marketing activities to promote and successfully launch a new product or feature.
  • Your new product announcement should include information on the target customer group, why it’s being introduced, how it’s going to benefit the users, and how to best take advantage of it.
  • The announcement plan should include who needs what information, when and via what channels it should be delivered.
  • Define measurable objectives like the feature usage rate or the visitor-to-signup rate.
  • Consider the competitor behavior, time of the year, and your budget to choose the best timing for your announcement.
  • Use multiple channels to reach users.
  • Segmented in-app communications are a great way to announce your product to existing users, enlist beta testers and deliver release notes; they are also useful for user onboarding after the launch.
  • A series of SEO blog posts enhanced with screenshots and containing CTAs will help you attract new users and can be used for sales, marketing and customer support.
  • E-mails are effective at reaching inactive or churned users. Like in-app messages, they also are a good way to invite beta testers. Unless they are major updates, send out only periodic newsletters summarising the updates.
  • Product Hunt is a great venue to promote your product and get feedback from the members of the community. To attract Product Hunt users, write a punchy product description and captivating maker comments.
  • Engage influencers to generate publicity for your new product on social media.
  • If you have the money, use paid advertising to bring new customers and add videos showcasing the value of the product in your social media messaging.
  • Product (marketing) managers can use Userpilot to announce new products and features with in-app communications tailored for specific user segments.

What is a product announcement?

Product announcement is all the marketing efforts orchestrated to promote a new product or feature.

Its aim is to inform the users of the new product or feature and the value it is going to bring to them. Indirectly, it also shows your dedication to improving the user experience for your customers.

What to include in your product announcement for new and existing customers

Regardless of whether you are releasing the product to new or existing customers, your product announcement should contain information on the benefits of the new product or features and who is it for.

A well-defined user persona will help you understand what matters most for your ideal user and talk to them in a language they understand. Of course, the product also has to cater to their needs.

Don’t just offer false promises.

Here’s a nice crafted launch message from Grammarly when they launched their StoryChief integration.

Best practices New product announcement marketing: StoryChief
New product announcement from StoryChief

Here’s a short checklist of what you should include in your product announcements:

  • The reason for the new features if you are launching a new product enhancement or introducing big changes
  • The problems that it solves and the jobs that the product helps the users accomplish
  • How best to take advantage of it, which could be achieved with examples and images or videos with the product in action

How to run new product announcements successfully

There are three ingredients to a successful product announcement: planning, timing, and placement.

Don’t skip the new product announcement planning process

Product launches are complex processes involving a lot of actions that need to be coordinated, so planning is essential.

Through detailed planning of communications, you make sure that everyone has the information they need, you use the right channels for it and no contradictory messages are sent out.

People within your organization like the sales or customer support/success teams, need to know everything about the new product or feature to support the customers effectively.

More importantly, think of the best ways of reaching the existing users, how to get the message through to churned or inactive users, and how to attract new customers.

New Product Release Announcement Plan for Maker 2.0
New Product Release Announcement Plan for Maker 2.0

At the planning stage define the goals you want to achieve. Make sure to choose the right metrics to track, like the feature usage rate or the visitor-to-signup rate to measure your effectiveness.

Find the best time for your new product announcement

The timing of your product announcement can make or break your product launch. The main things to consider when planning your launch campaign are:

  • Competitor products

Do your homework to find out what your competitors are doing and how your product stacks against theirs.

If you launch your product before your main rivals, you may benefit from the sense of freshness and excitement it brings.

If you’re releasing your product after your competition, emphasize how your offer is better than theirs. And if it turns out it is not as good, consider waiting until you have a more attractive product.

  • Seasonal advantages

What is the best time for a launch? Depends on your niche.

Generally, SaaS products with small subscriptions sell well throughout the year but there are periods when some of them generate more income. For example, lifestyle apps, like dating or fitness, get the most interest in January.

For more expensive subscriptions like B2B’s, Q4 is the time to launch. That’s when businesses do their research into new products and tools to buy in the new budget cycle.

  • Budget status

The forecast cost of the launch will also have an impact on your timing.

Do you want a big launch on multiple channels or break the ice only with a small beta launch? If the latter, the cost is not likely to be high, so you may be able to pull it off at any time.

However, if you need a big launch, wait until you have the finances.

Announce your new product across multiple channels

As mentioned above, different customer segments require different communication channels.

You can announce your new features with:

In-app new product announcement best practices

You don’t want to lose your existing users while chasing new leads, so keep them in the loop about new features and updates with in-app announcements.

Segment your target audience

Segmenting your users is essential.

Before you announce your product or feature, you need to figure out who it is relevant for and only then reach out to that specific group using the most appropriate channel.

Tools like Userpilot allow you to segment your users easily using a range of criteria.

Userpilot allows you to target specific user segments with your in-app communications.
Userpilot allows you to target specific user segments with your in-app communications.

Engage loyal customers in a beta launch

Your users can offer you lots of insights and valuable feedback, so make sure to engage the most loyal ones in a beta launch.

Start by building a list of beta users. Use segmentation to identify the right testers and in-app prompts to approach and enlist them.

Many of your users will be intrinsically motivated to give your beta version a good run for its money. However, it will do no harm to offer incentives to take part in the trial and reward them for their effort.

An invitation to take part in beta testing.
A sample invitation to take part in beta testing, built with Userpilot.

Pair email marketing with in-app announcements

It is a good practice not to rely solely on your in-app announcements though. For some products like invoicing software, users might log in only once in a while and miss important notifications.

That’s why you should always back up your in-app messaging with emails to bring users back inside the app.

New product release announcement email.
New product release announcement email.

In-app release note for your product launch day

There’s a chance that your app users rarely go to your website, so why not deliver your release notes via in-app notifications?

You can use a ‘What’s new’ modal to put all the updates in front of the users and take them to the full release notes.

Miro new feature release notes.
Miro new feature release notes.

It’s a good practice to add the release notes to the Resource Center too.

Don’t skip the onboarding process

Whether you are launching a new product from scratch or a product update to existing users, user onboarding is a must.

The new or enhanced product may look like something your users have never seen before. They will need help and guidance so that they can discover relevant features for their use cases.

It’s a good practice to start with a welcome screen for new users to collect information about their needs and use it to personalize the onboarding path.

Collecting user information with a welcome screen. Source: Kontentino.
Collect user information with a welcome screen. Source: Kontentino.

Help users discover what’s new using tooltips

When you update the UI, make sure users can still find their way around it. In-app experiences like tooltips and hotspots are perfect for highlighting what’s new and prompting users to engage.

A tooltip showing new UI feature
A tooltip showing a new UI feature.

Blog posts for new product announcement best practices

Blog content allows you to communicate detailed information on new features and product enhancements.

Announce new features and product enhancements using a blog post

A blog is a great way for attracting new users. If your content is well-optimized it will come up in searches by potential customers looking for solutions that your product can help with.

Blog content is more friendly and engaging than product and sales pages, so users tend to spend more time reading it.

The best practice is to focus on the benefits and the jobs that the new product helps achieve rather than listing features.

A blog post announcing new feature release.
A blog post announcing a new feature release.

Include product screenshots with real data

Including real product screenshots instead of graphics and illustrations is a good practice. It shows users how to actually do something and validates the points you make in the copy.

Showing users how the product works brings them closer to the ‘Aha moment’. It is also a good chance to include contextual CTAs to drive signups and demos.

Write multiple blog posts

Writing multiple blog posts allows you to present the product in a clear way without overwhelming the users with too much information at once.

It’s a good idea to start with the main release note. Next, publish an overview highlighting the main benefits of the product.

Finally, produce a series of in-depth posts focusing on specific use cases and how the product can help the user achieve particular outcomes.

Include a CTA in your product launch blog post

All blog articles should have a call to action.

The best practice is to stick to one main thing that you want the user to do. Is it to sign up for a trial or demo? Or maybe you want them to read more in-depth regarding a specific product?

Choosing one good CTA is easier when you have a clear goal in mind. It also helps you write content that drives the user to do what you want them to.

Email new product announcement best practices

Emailing new product announcements is a good way to supplement your other channels to reach more user segments.

Re-engage churned users with new features

Email is great for bringing churned users back if you think they left because of a lack of specific product functionality.

It’s a best practice to limit your ‘what’s new’ emails to when there is a major product enhancement. Unless you know that a specific user segment left due to the lack of a specific feature, don’t send emails about minor features.

Many Figma users churned as they were looking for a whiteboard tool and Figma was too advanced for them. However, when Figma launched FigJam, a much simpler tool, they used email to reach out to churned Figma users.

Figma announcing FigJam to re-engage churned users.
Figma announcing FigJam to re-engage churned users.

Don’t spam existing customers – use a changelog newsletter

Your users’ time is precious, so be considerate when announcing new product launches and changes.

Instead of spamming your existing users with emails whenever a new update is out, use a monthly newsletter to announce what’s new.

Monday’s newsletter with product updates
Monday’s newsletter with product updates.

Use emails to gather beta testers before the product launches

Just like in-app notifications, email can also be extremely useful to enlist beta testers.

It’s best to reach out to potential users before even starting to build the product.

In this way, you can test multiple mockups and decide which product to build without wasting development effort on a product no one would use.

An email inviting beta testers
An email inviting beta testers.

Product Hunt’s new product announcement best practices

Product Hunt is a great platform to spread the news about your product and solicit feedback from the tech community.

Use engaging product description

Get your copywriter to produce a creative and concise description of the product and the value it brings to the users.

Make sure it’s easy to read.

In your description, highlight the benefits of the product and its superiority to existing products, and how it can improve the way your users work.

Using emojis and bullet points to present the product functionality improves clarity.

Create an engaging product description for your Product Hunt
Create an engaging product description for your Product Hunt.

Don’t forget about the maker comments

Use your storytelling skills to create a compelling narrative of how and why the product was conceived and developed.

In your story concentrate on your target audience, the value that your product offers and why it’s relevant.

People love hearing such stories and if you manage to captivate their imagination, they will not only spread the word of your product further but be a source of valuable feedback.

Maker comments in Product Hunt
Maker comments in Product Hunt.

Social media platform new product announcement best practices

Social media is how many people learn about new products, so make sure your launch plan covers this channel.

Slack’s new product update announcement on Twitter
Slack’s new product update announcement on Twitter.

Build awareness with an influencer marketing campaign

Influencers can create lots of buzz and excitement around your product, so take the time to bring some onboard before the product launch.

The key is to find an influencer with a relevant user following. It’s not the number of followers but the demographic that matters. Make sure they match your target audience.

Do a webinar together to collect leads for your future release, or ask them to showcase how they use your product in a short video.

Different kinds of influencers. Source: InfluencerDB
Different kinds of influencers. Source: InfluencerDB.

Attract new customers with a paid ads campaign

If you have the budget for it use paid ads to promote your new product announcement. Paid advertising always works – you just need to pick the right acquisition channel and optimize it.

If you have no direct experience with paid ads in your product niche, test multiple channels one by one and see which brings the best ROI.

Use videos that show the product in action

Videos showcasing your product are a great way of raising awareness and helping users discover its value.

The best practice is to produce different product demo videos focusing on specific tasks that can be accomplished with your product.

Asana using video in its new product feature announcement.
Asana uses video in its new product feature announcement.

Conclusion

New product and feature launches can be nerve-racking, so make sure you plan your release announcements carefully. Use a range of marketing channels to reach new users and in-app communications to engage existing customers.

If you would like to see how Userpilot can help you pull off a successful product launch, hit the link to get the demo!

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