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Announcing new features to users

Feature announcements: where how you say it can matter as much as what you say. In this playbook, we’ll break the tips and tricks you need to craft the best new features messages to users.

What you’ll learn: 

  • How to identify the ideal users for your new feature.
  • How to craft a compelling message to announce the feature.
  • Which in-app messaging best practices to know for user engagement.

What you’ll need: 

  • CRM data to identify ideal users for this feature.
  • An in-app messaging platform.
  • A clear understanding of the new feature's value proposition and benefits.

Suggested playbook to check out before starting this one:

6 steps to announce features to users:

Step 1: Identify the user persona for this feature announcement.

Step 2: Create a plan for your feature announcement.

  • Consider the size and characteristics of your user base.
  • Decide whether the feature should be released to all users, beta testers, or a specific segment.
  • Be conscious of the impact this decision will have on user experience and expectations.
  • You can use our Product Launch Planner to help you create a plan for your feature announcement.
Appcues Product Launch Planner

Step 3: Choose the right format.

  • Determine the appropriate format for your announcement based on the type of feature being released.
  • For major feature announcements that significantly change the way users interact with your product or provide substantial new value, modal windows and dedicated in-app pages are highly recommended. These formats are hard to miss and provide sufficient space to elaborate on the feature's benefits.
  • For example, Scalable Press (a customized goods producer) launched their new feature, “Cashback Streaks,” using a modal window. What makes this announcement especially interesting is that Scalable Press included a 0–5 rating scale, allowing users to provide instant feedback on the new cash back program. It's a clever way to capture initial user sentiment at a moment of high engagement.
Source: Scalable Press' announcement + built-in user feedback survey
  • For minor feature updates or improvements, tooltips, slideouts, and checklists might be more appropriate. These formats are less disruptive to the user experience and can effectively introduce new functionalities without overwhelming users.
  • For example, HubSpot announced a new feature to view social posts in a calendar view using a tooltip tour.
Source: HubSpot's regular feature announcements and mini-tours
  • Regardless of the feature's size or impact, emails should be a crucial part of your announcement strategy. Emails serve as a long-term record of the update, reach users not currently active in the app, and allow you to include additional details or resources.
  • For Example, Semrush sent an email to announce their new link building tool:
Semrush uses onboarding emails to introduce individual tools
Source: Semrush uses onboarding emails to introduce individual tools

Tip: Ensure the format you choose provides an optimal user experience and supports the feature's value proposition. Also, make sure it's accessible and easy for users to understand and interact with.

Step 4: Craft a compelling message.

  • Start with a catchy and informative header.
  • Personalize the message by referencing the user by name or with other relevant user data.
  • Highlight the value proposition of the feature in persuasive language.
  • Include a clear call-to-action (CTA) that encourages users to try the feature.
  • Keep the message brief and easy to read.
  • Create different versions of the message tailored to specific problems users face.
  • You can use our Feature Announcement Template for some copy-and-paste templates for your feature announcement.
Appcues Feature Announcement Template

Step 5: Enable your sales and customer success team.

  • Equip your sales team or customer success team with the resources they need to promote the feature.
  • Provide presentation slides, informational documents, and any other necessary resources.
  • Train these teams on the feature's value proposition and potential user benefits.

Step 6: Monitor and analyze the results.

  • Track the feature adoption rate; i.e., the percentage of users who try the new feature after receiving the in-app message.
  • Measure user engagement. Gauge the level of interaction and time spent on the new feature.
  • Assess retention. Determine the percentage of users who continue using the feature over time.
  • Adjust your strategy based on these insights to optimize future feature announcements.

Useful resources:

Looking for more Playbooks? Go back to the Product-Led Growth Flywheel →