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Last Updated on
December 18, 2023

How to Announce New Features and Product Changes

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You’ve worked hard for months on that new feature, employed dozens of developers, designers, product managers, copywriters, and other employees and now it’s time to finally hit that button - and publish.

Announcing a new feature should be one of the most exciting things you can do as a business owner of a SaaS company, especially if it’s one that your customers have been requesting for a while.

And yet - very few companies do it right, resorting to just an email and maybe a social media post. If you want to learn how to do better, you’re in the right place.

Why Communicate Product Changes

Before we go any further, let’s discuss the elephant in the room. Why would you even communicate your new product changes if you can just update your help center and a few landing pages?

There are some good reasons to let everyone know about the new features you just launched, including:

  1. Driving feature adoption - you’re making sure that your customers actually try out the results of your hard work
  2. Collecting feedback - you want to see whether you did a good job or not
  3. Avoiding a backlash - to ensure the people who requested the feature actually get notified that it is live
  4. Activating lost and old customers - by showing them a feature that may be the missing piece for them becoming a customer (again)

It’s more than just a good marketing stunt - think of it as an opportunity to communicate with your customers and show them that you care about making your product better for them.

What Tools or Channels to Use to Communicate Product Changes

In the past couple of years, there have been many new tools that let you communicate with your customers en masse. Emails, push notifications, in-app messaging tools, there are many routes to take and they’re not mutually exclusive either.

In-app messaging tools

There are tools such as Beamer that let you announce your new product feature to your customers within your own app. This is a pretty neat way to show your customers that something new is available without bothering them with emails or push notifications.

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Beamer

The only issue is that you’re messaging customers who are using the app at that moment. Some may take days or weeks to log into your app and see the product announcement. So, while being unobtrusive, this communication method isn’t very far-reaching.

Using email to announce new features

Email is one of the most powerful messaging channels out there. Despite the crazy number of emails we all get daily, your customers are very likely to check their inboxes and read your messages.

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New feature email by Better Proposals

Having said that, creating a product announcement email that gets read and clicked through is not an easy task. You need a captivating subject line and email body that drives action. If you have a successful track record with emails and you have a way with words, this is the route to take.

Launch new feature with a webinar or video

Show, don’t tell. Webinars and videos are excellent ways to demonstrate what a new product feature does rather than giving lengthy explanations. When you do it right, you can show more in a 1-minute video than you could with a 2000-word blog post.

When it comes to videos, they’re fairly easy to create with something as simple as Loom and an hour or two spent editing. Webinars take more time to set up, host, and manage, but if you have enough interested customers, they’re well worth your time.

These two are super engaging and a great way to announce a feature - combined with other methods on this list.

Using social media

With so many customers on social media nowadays, it makes no sense to neglect this promotion channel. The key to success here is knowing where your customers spend their time.

LinkedIn might be an option, depending on your customer base. Twitter and Facebook are great channels, especially if you encourage your customers to follow you on these channels during your sign-up process.

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CloudTalk announcing a new feature on Linkedin

One method that seems to work well is having Facebook groups for potential and current customers. This lets you get the new feature announcement in front of the exact people that need to see it. Plus, it’s actually free compared to boosting or promoting a post - which you would have to do to get any reach nowadays.

Using a blog or changelog

Blogs are great for getting traffic to your website but your existing customers also need their own space there. Writing a blog about your latest feature announcement is a great way to provide in-depth instructions on how to use it, as well as explain why you built the feature in the first place.

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An example of a blog post with new features from Whatagraph

From an SEO/writing standpoint, this is also a great way to create some internal links. Every time you write about this feature in the future, you can just link to your announcement blog post.

A changelog, on the other hand, is a tool built specifically for updating your customers about the changes to your product. There are quite a few tools that can be used for creating and maintaining a changelog and FeedBear is a great one to try out.

Which channel is the best?

The real answer is - all of them. If you took hundreds of hours to develop and launch a certain feature, it’s worth spending a few hours more on promoting it. Whenever you can, make sure to use all of these channels to make sure your new feature gets as many eyeballs on it as possible.

Closing the loop with users that requested the feature

There are many customers out there who need to hear about your new feature. However, there is one group that needs to hear from you the most - those that requested the feature.

They’ll be thrilled to know that you’re taking their feedback seriously and that you’ve built the exact feature they asked for. Make sure to specifically target them when launching your feature update announcements.

If you don’t know who those people are, you need a dedicated feedback tool like FeedBear. In FeedBear, when you update a feature that your customers:

  • Requested
  • Voted on
  • Commented on

They get notified through email. That way, they are always in the loop about the features they need to make their lives easier. You can use this as an addition to the other communication channels mentioned above. The best of all is that you’re not spamming the announcement - you’re sending it with laser precision to the people who need to see it.

Communicating with potential customers

Besides the people who requested the feature you built, there is another group that needs to know about the new launch - potential customers.

You never know how many people are on the fence about subscribing for your tool and they’re just waiting for that one last bit to push them over. The feature you just built could be that deciding point, so it’s up to you to show it to the world.

If you have a mailing list of customers who use your free trial or left their email to get your newsletter, it’s a good idea to let them know about the feature you just came out with.

Following up with old leads and past customers

You can’t win them all. You probably have a list of customers that you had a demo with or got close to closing them but they got away. The reasons could be many, from someone at the top management level backing out to switching to a competitor.

If you have a database of these customers (which you should), use the opportunity to reach out. If the timing is right, the new feature just might push them to sign the dotted line this time around.

On the other hand, you also should have a list of customers who were once paying for a subscription but churned. Give them a gentle reminder about your product and the new feature you launched - it might get them back.

Last but not least, customers who were on the free trial but never upgraded are also a great group to target with messages about new product features and changes.

Collecting feedback on what has been released

Once a feature is done and announced, you need to track adoption and see what your customers think. It may fulfill all of their expectations (if they had any in the first place) or it could be a total disappointment. It’s up to you to track the sentiment of your customers and learn from it.

Make sure to gather the feedback on your new product announcement, be it through emails, changelog comments, blog post comments, social media mentions/comments, or whatever your preferred channel may be.

Using data to measure the engagement

There is the feedback that your customers will provide and there is the feedback that you’ll have to mine for yourself. It’s often useful to get the data behind the actual real-world use of your new feature.

Whenever you launch a new feature or a product change, make sure to set up tracking within your app to find out how “sticky” it is and how many people are actually using it. Many times, you’ll find that a feature that has been requested quite a bit doesn’t end up getting used as much - this is well worth looking into.

This is an additional metric that you can use to better guide your decisions in the future when it comes to prioritizing which features to build.

Wrapping up

If you’ve taken hundreds of hours and quite a bit of money to build a certain feature, give it the kind of promotion that it deserves. Through your available channels, show your past, current, and future customers what you’re working on and why it matters.

And if you’re looking for the one tool that will make it easier to collect feedback and communicate with your customers, give FeedBear a try today!

Collect customer feedback the easy way.

Bring feedback, ideas and feature requests in one place with FeedBear, so you can focus on what matters. Start your 14-day free trial today – no credit card required.
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