Product announcements are one of the staples of a product marketer or customer marketer’s job, but with all of the moving pieces that come with a product launch, feature release, or upsell campaign, the announcement itself is easy to overlook (see How to Launch a New Product).
As a result, most product announcements end up feeling like (gulp) spam.
Here are 8 questions to ask when you’re planning your next product announcement to make sure that doesn’t happen.
1. Do You Have A Measurable Goal?
Whether you’re targeting new prospects or existing customers, every product announcement needs to have a goal.
As a marketer, the best thing you can before sending anything to your prospects and customers is ask why. Figuring out the why first will make it much easier to set a goal.
This could be anything from webinar registrations if you’re trying to get prospects to learn more about a new product, or a percentage of weekly active users if you’re launching something new to your existing customer base.
Push your team to set a measurable goal. Even if the goal of the product announcement is awareness about a new feature, find a way to measure that awareness, whether that means clicks to a blog post, views of a product video, or signups for a customer-only webinar.
2. Do You Have The Right Channel?
When it comes to product announcements, the channel is just as important as the message itself. For most marketers, this comes down to whether you should send your product announcement via email or in-app — but things like blog posts, webinars and events can also make since for big launches (more on in-app vs. email throughout this post).
3. Will Enough People See It?
According to MailChimp, the average open rate of an email for a software company is 21.57% and the average click rate is 2.46%. Now those are most likely averages for prospects, not customers, but humor me: that means if you sent an email to 10,000 customers, only 53 of them would click on your CTA that says “Login To See This In Action.”
All that work for 53 clicks? Is that going to move the needle and help you hit your goal? It might — and you might have a more engaged list which would mean you’d beat these benchmarks, but just be aware and set expectations of the response rate via email. In this case, an in-app product announcement might be the better option.
4. How Many Messages Have They Seen From You Lately?
This one matters regardless of the channel. Be aware of how many messages your customers are already receiving, both from you and from other companies. Put your consumer hat on for a second and think about how much email you get on a daily basis.
Live look at my inbox. This is probably your inbox, too. Names and faces have been hidden to protect the violators.
Don’t forget about all of their non-product email subscriptions, too. They could be getting blog subscription emails from you, your weekly newsletter, case study requests from account managers and more. The best marketers have a solid understanding of the volume of email their customers have been receiving and know when to pull back.
Frequency also matters for in-app messages. Even though customers can’t unsubscribe like they can from an email, sending too many in-app messages can have the same effect: all of your messages and pop-ups will eventually become noise and customers will become trained to tune them out. This will hurt when you have an announcement that you really need every customer to see.
5. Do You Know The Roles Of The People You’re Talking To?
When it comes to product announcements, you can’t spend enough time thinking about segmentation. Very rarely is there a one-size fits all bucket of customers, and as a result, you need to treat them with more care than prospects or leads (they’re already your customers, after all!)
Are you showing a message to admin users who rarely use the feature you are about to email them about? Are you targeting the power user who uses this feature daily? Are they experienced? VIP? Trialer? All of those things matter, regardless of the channel.
6. Where Should The Product Announcement Go?
For in-app messages, location can have a big impact on the customers you are targeting. You want customers to see your message without being interrupted or taken off task.
Let’s use Spotify as an example. They recently rolled out an update so customers can see song lyrics inside of their app. They could have put this product announcement anywhere, but instead it only shows up when you are in the middle of listening to a song for the first time — not while you’re browsing or creating a new playlist.
Very rarely is email instant. As consumers we’re checking our email at home, during our commutes, at the gym — basically everywhere except when we’re about to login to a product and do something very specific. Keep that in mind so you can target customers in the right place at the right time.
Here’s a great example of how Medium handle this.
7. Do You Have Suppression Lists?
Suppression lists, exclusions, call it whatever you want. Here’s what matters: who you don’t send an announcement to is often times just as important as who you do send it to.
Make sure to choose your suppression lists wisely depending on the announcement you are sending. For example:
- Exclude current sales opportunities from getting your cross-sell/up-sell email for the time being.
- Exclude people who have registered for a webinar in the last week from your upcoming webinar email.
8. Did You Write Customer-Driven Copy?
Read your message outloud before you send it or put it inside of your app.
Is this something you’d say to a friend outloud?
Do you talk about features and specs, or the super-power that it will give your customers when they use it?
Regardless of how you send your product announcement, the best thing that you can do is be ruthless about the copy and making sure that it’s customer-driven.