The Hack – Notifying Users of New Features
AARRR stage – Retention
Growth Problem – How to Communicate Product Development to Users
It has probably happened to you before. And probably not just once: you log into your favorite app and start clicking around only to find that a menu item that you use is gone. Or there is a new button where there was nothing but whitespace before. “Grrr, why wasn’t I ever notified about this by the app developers?!” you fume.
This is a scenario that plays all too out often with SaaS startups. A new feature is rolled out and, due to time pressure, or a general lack of method, customers are left to figure things out for themselves. Or an announcement is made on the company blog (that, at most, 10% of their users read) and things are left at that.
Do you see any important lessons here for your startup? Hopefully so, because adopting such a slack approach to new product feature announcements is sure to leave your app’s users, at best confused, and most likely quite aggravated. Read on to find out how you can improve this for the benefit of your retention rates.
The right customers
You can add as many filters as you like to your messages to make sure they only get sent to the people who matter.
Customers who have access to the feature should definitely hear about it. For example, if your new feature is available with your Pro plan, make sure to include the filter ‘Has pro plan is true.’
Customers who don’t have access to the feature, on the other hand, are a good group to upsell to. If your new feature is only available on your pro plan, you could use it as encouragement to upgrade. Your filter here might be something like ‘Has pro plan is false’. It’s important to create a unique message for these customers. They’ll want to know why they need your feature, and not just the specific details about how to use it.
Customers who have requested the feature are the perfect group to send a beta feature announcement to. If you have tagged these customers correctly, you can filter for ‘Tag is Calendar Feature Request’, for example.
Customers who take a specific action that’s related to your new feature will want to know about it. For example, if your new feature is an annotation tool, it makes sense to announce it in context, right after your customer takes a screenshot. You could create an event called ‘Screenshot taken’, and trigger your message using that event.
We all hate getting badly timed, irrelevant messages that don’t make sense. To avoid annoying the wrong customers, we recommend using the following filters:
Recently contacted users are more likely to ignore your new message if it’s sent too close to their last message. People don’t like receiving multiple messages at once. To combat this, make sure you include a ‘last contacted more than x days ago’ filter. We use a minimum of 3 days here at Intercom. This will space your messages out nicely.
New users who’ve just signed up might not care too much about your new feature; everything is new to them. So you might want to exclude these guys. And more importantly, there’s far more important things to talk to your users about in the first few days than pushing your new feature. Your filter here would be something like ‘Signed up more than 30 days ago’.
Just Hack It:
- First off, figure out a general plan for how you will announce features to your users. Via your blog? Email? Social media? In-app messaging? Hello Bar-type announcement? Pop-up overlays?
- While it pays to use as many channels as possible, pick the main ones that your users pay attention to and become religious about posting updates there every time a new feature is pushed
- In terms of the in-app experience, make sure that, regardless of how you decide to communicate features updates, these updates are clearly visible in your interface
- An informed user is a happy user. A happy user is mana for your retention statistics. Keep your users informed!
- Make a facebook group and add your potential clients, keep them notified of each and every detail needed.
- Chat messengers are the future, you can simply inform your registered users with a chatbot regarding the new updates.
- Add an image or video: People are visual learners. So add a screenshot or a short video to help your customers quickly understand the job they can now do with your feature.
The right way, at the right time in the right place
Before making your announcement, you’ll need to decide where and when it makes sense for your customers to get your message.
When do in-app feature announcements make sense? The best time to promote a new feature is when someone is inside your product and in a position to use it. You need to think about where it makes most sense to announce your new feature to active customers. For example, if you’ve just released a new sync reports feature, a good place to tell your customers about it would be on the reports page.
When do email feature announcements make sense? New features are only new once. If you have a time-sensitive announcement to make and you want to reach both active and inactive customers right now, you should send an email announcement. Email’s advantage over in-app messages is that it delivers to people outside your app and can drive them back to using it. Promoting your new feature to inactive users is a great way to re-engage users. To increase your email’s chance of getting opened, set your delivery window to send during the days and times that get the best engagement.
Set a stop date
Remember, your feature won’t be new forever. That’s why it’s important to set a stop date for your announcement in your ‘Goal, Display & Expiry’ settings.