How to Announce New Features to Drive Adoption (+Checklist)
Product teams are constantly working on improving their software with updates and new features. For customers and end-users of your product, newly developed features can provide added value to their software subscription and empower them to become even more productive and efficient in their day-to-day.
However, there is more to launching a new software feature than just developing it and pushing an update live. Product teams must coordinate the launch with other teams across the organization to plan a full feature launch and product adoption plan.
Without a proper new feature launch strategy, users won’t know a new feature exists. Even if they do, they won’t know what the feature is meant to solve, or how to properly use it. Adding new features will improve the quality of your product and add value to customers, but those benefits will not be recognized without a proper feature announcement strategy.
By bringing new product features and updates to the forefront of customers’ minds with in-app messaging and product tours of the new capabilities, you have the opportunity to boost product adoption, improve customer loyalty, and reduce churn rate.
Why Is a New Feature Launch Strategy Important?
What seems like a simple new feature announcement could be the difference between the success or failure of a new feature. These announcements provide a route to help users discover new features. New feature announcements show existing customers how to find value within your new features and that they made a smart investment, as well as showing potential customers that your product is always evolving.
It also improves loyalty by showcasing to users that your product is listening and taking action based upon user feedback and suggestions. Customers who may be on the fence about sticking with your product may be reinvigorated knowing there is now a solution to their problem.
4 Tips for Announcing a New Product Feature
A successful feature launch builds awareness of the new product capabilities, while also guiding customers with user onboarding flows on how to best use a new update.
1. Take an Omnichannel Launch Strategy Approach
An omnichannel launch strategy allows you the greatest chance of getting eyes on your announcement. The product marketing team should promote and showcase the new feature across multiple channels and platforms, both for current users and potential customers. An omnichannel launch strategy allows your product marketing team to hit users where they are the most comfortable, and ensure that all types of users are being targeted.
Different channels to include in your omnichannel launch plan include:
- In-app notifications
- Modal popups
- Website announcements (ie. website banners)
- Blog posts
- Release notes
- Email campaigns
- Social media posts
- Video tutorials
- Customer meetings
2. Target the Right Customer Segment(s)
While all of your users may benefit from a new feature update, product use among customer segments vary. Some users may be more interested than others, and some may be interested in the new feature for a specific reason requiring a different announcement or promotion angle. Using the same message to announce a new release to your entire user base limits the success of your feature adoption strategy.
Start by evaluating customer feedback and in-product activity to choose and segment your target audience. Consider segmenting those who:
- Submitted feedback or asked their customer success representative for this type of feature
- Use your product daily and have strong adoption of your entire feature set
- Users or customers who have been flagged as a risk account and need a reason to extend their subscription
With a digital guidance and analytics platform like Whatfix, you present targeted, contextual messages to segmented users to promote new features to the right audience.
3. Determine Messaging That Highlights the Feature’s Benefits & Use Cases
When communicating about your new product update, make sure your messaging highlights how the new feature will explicitly benefit the customer with persona-specific use cases. If users don’t believe an update will improve their lives or business, they won’t adopt it and will be resistant to change.
An effective adoption strategy is to start with the problem that needs solving. Customers should be able to relate to this messaging and will be interested in the solution. From there, your feature announcement should discuss how this update solves those specific problems, highlight how it will benefit the user, and clearly state how they can take advantage and use it.
4. Create Onboarding Support Documentation & Training Materials
Even if you announce your new feature on all the channels above, the adoption rate could still be low without instructions for using it. Creating easy-to-digest and accessible training materials is key to feature adoption.
Common product training materials include:
- Help Articles, User Documentation, Video Tutorials, and Blog Posts: Once you announce your feature, you can link to an article explaining it and how to get started. Use visuals in your user documentation and training manuals such as screenshots, screen recordings, GIFs, or webinars to make the content more digestible. Direct the user to get started with a clear call to action that takes them to your new feature.
- In-App Walkthroughs & Support: In-app assistance for questions or troubleshooting promotes learning while doing. Users don’t have to wait for customer support or track down help documents to solve questions, allowing them to see value quicker.
7 Types of New Feature Announcements with Examples
As mentioned earlier, it’s critical for product teams to create an omnichannel new feature announcement and launch strategy that hits customers across various channels. Here are the best types of new feature announcements you should add to your launch plan:
1. In-App Guidance and Notifications
The ideal opportunity to announce your feature and encourage adoption is when a customer is using your application and is primed to implement it. Consider including in-app messages in your UX design to alert users of new launches, take them to the feature, give them a tour, and provide helpful resources on how to best implement it into their workflows.
Examples of in-app messaging and notifications that product teams can utilize include:
- Product tours
- Interactive walkthroughs
- Modal windows and pop-ups
Example: Evernote utilizes multiple UX patterns to highlight new features inside its app
Evernote has an incredibly simple and intuitive UX, which can be witnessed by analyzing how it highlights new features inside its application by capturing the attention of users with in-app notifications – starting with its “Whatfix’s New” task list sidebar:
When users click on a new feature, they’re taken on a step-by-step, interactive walkthrough of its newly launched features – helping users reach their aha! moment.
To continue driving adoption of its new features, Evernote then provides in-app support with embedded release notes.
With digital adoption platforms (DAP) such as Whatfix, it’s simple for product managers, marketing, customer support, and onboarding teams to create this type of interactive, in-app messaging without engineering resources. Whatfix’s no-code editor empowers non-technical team members to create, publish, analyze, and test in-app help, training, and support content.
2. Website Announcements
Utilize your website as a promotional ground to show that your product is constantly evolving and improving. It’s an excellent way to get people excited about the direction of your product roadmap. Examples of this include a pop-up on your home page, a blog post, live chat messaging, or a specific landing page that customer success and sales teams can use when sending the new feature to customers and prospects.
Example: Beamer uses its website's live chat to promote new features
Beamer drives awareness of its newly launched features by utilizing its live chat to present whats new with its product. It directly embeds the overview of its new releases, and includes a link to learn more about it.
3. Blog Posts
A blog post allows your product marketing team to create a static asset that can be shared with customers and prospects at any time. The blog post should go into detail on the new feature, the problems it solves, its use cases, and include screenshots of how to best use the newly launched feature.
Product marketing teams should create short videos and GIFs of the new feature in action. Be sure to end the article with a CTA to current customers, letting them know to set up some time with their customer success manager if they have any additional questions on how to best use the new feature.
Example: Canva's new feature blog article announcements
Canva does a great job of keeping customers and potential customers informed about new features using their blog.
Canva keeps their blog updated, and in each post, they include product screenshots and opportunities to enroll in their newsletter. This blog gives users and brand followers a place to go when interested in what’s new with Canva.
Whatfix does something similar on our blog to keep customers informed of the newest feature rollouts – as seen below.
4. Release Notes
Release notes are a similar type of asset that products create on a monthly or quarterly basis, to highlight all new product updates and features that have been implemented. Release notes are a type of technical documentation and are generally more specific and detailed than a traditional blog post.
Example: Whatfix release notes announcing new features each quarter
Here at Whatfix, our product marketing team writes and publishes quarterly release notes, which can be found in our support community.
5. Email Campaigns
Every new feature launch should have an announcement email. Instead of sending out a mass email to all users, try multiple email campaigns based on the segmented audiences mentioned above, each highlighting the specific use cases for each customer segment.
Be sure to include the GIFs or feature video you created for your blog post as a visual asset in your product email, as well as end the email with a CTA pushing users to your new blog post that takes a deeper dive into the new feature.
Example: Usabilla promotes new in-app survey feature with a user email
The customer feedback and survey platform Usabilla supported it new targeted in-app survey feature launch by sending out a user email.
The email includes a screenshot fo the new feature, a brief description, a video from the Head of Product, and a CTA to read more about the new product feature in a more detailed blog post.
6. Social Media Posts
While not as critical as other announcement channels on this list, it doesn’t hurt to promote your new feature on social media to increase exposure on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and any other channel that your company is active on. This acts as a reminder for your users that you’ve launched a new feature – and can be a motivator to explore the new update.
Example: Buffer announces new feature page across its social media
In addition, they announced it on their website and created a video highlighting current user challenges and how their Start Page can solve them.
7. Customer Success Managers & Customer Meetings
A critical step in new feature adoption lays on the shoulders of your customer success team. Make sure your customer success managers reach out to their customers to promote the new feature, provide resources on how to best utilize it, and set up a time to meet for any questions or concerns they may have on the new launch. This is a great opportunity to show your customers the feature and benefits in real-time – and provide relevant context to how every account or user can uniquely use the new feature for their benefit.
Whatfix supports new feature launches by providing a no-code content creator to build, launch, and track the performance of in-app messages and notifications such as walkthroughs, tours, tooltips, task lists, and more.