The Anatomy of an Effective Product Release Email

Written by: Ty Magnin Ty Magnin 

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Product release emails serve as the main source of ignition to excite your users to adopt your new feature. They should pack the most emotional punch out of any other element of your product release, and should be the least tutorial-like.

Let’s take a look inside an effective product release email.

Start in the email body

I am a big subscriber to writing your headlines/subject lines last, so I typically start crafting my email with the body first. Specifically, I like to start with my call-to-action and then build the rest of the copy up to that.

CTAs

on feature releases usually link to either blog post or a specific page in your product. It depends what other content you're releasing with your product, and if you have tooltips queued up to walk your customers through the new feature.

 

Using buttons for your main CTA can help improve conversions. If you include a button, try linking other spots in your body text to the same place. On our last feature release email, 34% of our customers clicked on the plaintext link, whereas 66% clicked on the main CTA button. Here’s how it looked:

Appcues hotspots product release

Body text

comes in all different shapes and sizes. If you're communicating about mutliple features at once, you may want to write short bullet-like sections about each new feature. If it's one feature you're trying to highlight, try longer paragraphs and tell a story about how the feature development came about, or how it’s been successfully used in beta. The most important thing, however, is that you're framing your body text around how exactly it’s going to help make your customers better at their jobs.

 

Although you may spend a lot of time crafting this to be just right, only about 30% of the effort you should go into the email should go your email body text. It’s important, but perhaps not as important as subject lines and from address as examined below.

Also, be wary of writing your email copy in google docs. Google docs are dangerous because marketers sometimes forget to include the all-important subject lines, header text, from addresses, etc. that are crucial elements to your email’s success. I’ve made this mistake before, and it can lead to someone else adding these into your email on your behalf or to a last minute scramble.

To help you organize your content and write your emails more effectively, I’ve just created a free product release email template for you to help you on your next release email:

Don't leave the success of your product release emails to chance. Get your free template now!

Include images

Nowadays many email designs include big images directly above above the email body text. I like this style, and suggest that if you have a big image to use on your email, this is a good way to include it.

 

Product screenshots

can fit here if your feature shows well. consider using a real-life version rather than a flat 2D command-shift-4. Try a photo of a monitor with this displayed like this:

 

product screenshot

It’s a good idea to link an image of your new product to the corresponding page in your product. Hopefully there’s a nice feature tutorial waiting for them there.

Animated gifs

can help you if your product shows well and you want to quickly display how it works, try an animated gif.

 

Videos

are great for a quick demo or use-case, best practice is to add an image of a video with the play button over it; just as you’d see it on Youtube before you click play. This can trick the viewer into clicking the video's play button, so you'll want to link them to a page that hosts the video—like your blog page.

 

product video screenshot

Tie it together

Signatures

are important. Product release emails often come from the team. It takes a team effort to build and release products, and I think that's why so many companies sign product release emails from the team.

 

If it’s coming from your team, a hand-drawn signature can add a nice personal touch.

However, if you have a customer success team, you may want to send emails to your customers from their dedicated CSMs. If you’re going this route, it can be nice to use email tokens/merge tags to include a headshot of of the CSM in the signature. Their face can help reinforce the relationship, and it makes it a lot easier to receive feedback.

email signature photo

Now the all-important nitty gritty details

From/reply to adresses

should match your signatures pretty closely. From addresses are something you might want to experiment with. Sometimes including your company name and an individual’s can lead to higher open rates.

 

Subject lines

will have the greatest impact on any email campaign. They can determine how any people will open your email and have a chance to convert on your CTA.

 

The best tip I’ve received for writing effective subject lines is to write 12+ versions that you think would work well. Then use your intuition to select the best.

When writing your subject lines, try and frame the feature around how it will help customers achieve their goals.

For a product release email, you may want to try using bracketed text such as [New Feature] or [New] ahead of the line. The word “new” positively stimulates our human brains in a way that will encourage opens.

The preheader text

is the bit of text that appears in your inbox after your subject lines. You can add preheader text to your emails via your email service provider or by inserting a little bit of tiny light grey text above the body of your email.

 

Preheader text should read as a continuation of the subject line, and serve the same purpose: to get your audience to click and open the email.

This is a great place to include more information about the details of the feature release here.

preheader-text

Header text

may read similarly to your preheader text. You may want to include the name of your product or overaching product release theme.

 

I hope this analysis helps you in your next product release. If you want to keep these tips top-of-mind for when the time comes to write your email, get the template below:

Product release emails are too important to mess up. Get your free template to keep you on track always!

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