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Sending in-app messages to guide users to the aha moment

Message in a bottle? We’ve got something better. In this playbook, we cover everything you need to know about in-app messaging and its role in bringing users to value realization.

What you’ll learn: 

  • How to craft messaging for each step to guide users to the aha moment.
  • How to integrate available resources in your messaging.
  • How to select the appropriate UI pattern for each message.

What you’ll need: 

  • A clear understanding of your user journey.
  • Available resources to help your users (e.g., articles, webinars, worksheets, courses, etc.).
  • A team for brainstorming and reviewing your messages.

Suggested playbooks to check out before starting this one:

6 steps to sending in-app messages for new users:

Step 1: Map out your user journey.

  • Understand the user's path from start to completion in your product.
  • Identify key actions and decision points in the journey.
  • Check out our other playbook on mapping your user journey for more details.
  • Our In-App Message Planner includes the main components of the user journey.
Appcues In-App Message Planner

Step 2: Identify the user persona.

  • Understand what users are trying to achieve at each step and what motivates them.
  • Identify potential obstacles or issues they might face at each step.
  • Understand how users feel at each step; i.e., are they confused, excited, or frustrated?
  • Put it all together in a user persona. Here’s an example of a user persona in our playbook “Creating your user persona.”
Appcues User Persona Template

Step 3: Select the appropriate UI pattern for each message.

  • Use modals for crucial information, such as welcoming users or important account updates. For example, Crowd Content uses a modal window to welcome users.
Crowd Content new user survey
Source: Crowd Content new user survey
  • Use tooltips for guided tours or highlighting important features. For example, GitHub’s tooltips provide targeted advice and suggestions without being intrusive.
GitHub's practical tooltips
Source: GitHub's practical tooltips
  • Use hotspots for contextual tips. For example, to improve their onboarding, Trainual moved their video tutorials and other educational resources into discrete hotpots sprinkled throughout their UI. 
Trainual's video tutorial through a hotspot
Source: Trainual's video tutorial through a hotspot

Step 4: Create messaging for each step

  • Draft messages that are relevant to each step of the journey, addressing your users' motivations and pain points.
  • Be empathetic in your messaging—make the user feel understood and supported.
  • Make sure your messaging aligns with your overall brand tone and voice.
  • For messaging inspiration, we’ve compiled some of the best in-app messages in GoodUX

Step 5: Include any resources you have in the messaging.

  • If you have help articles, tutorials, or FAQs that could aid users, include them in your messaging.
  • For complex steps or features, consider linking to a webinar, instructional video, or an in-depth guide.
  • Make sure the resources are directly relevant to the step or feature in question.

Step 6: Finalize your in-app messaging.

  • Review the messages with your team. Check for clarity, relevance, and tone.
  • Make sure the UI patterns match the importance and urgency of the messages.
  • Plan for regular updates and revisions based on user feedback and changes in your product.
Looking for more Playbooks? Go back to the Product-Led Growth Flywheel →