Announcing your new product
Your launch announcement plans should be informed by your own unique goals, audience, launch tier, etc. No generic checklist can tell you exactly what to do. Fortunately, you’ve done the legwork, and you now can start thinking about which channels and tactics you’ll leverage to spread the word and drive adoption.
Let’s start with the basics. Any time you launch a new product or feature—regardless of launch tier—you should include release notes. Release notes explain new features, issues resolved, and improvements to your product.
They also present an opportunity to keep customers excited about your investment in the product. Well-written release notes not only make your customers aware of new features (hello product adoption) but also remind them of the value your product provides.
Helpscout nails this approach with a monthly blog post (and subsequent email) highlighting product launches, updates, and changes. Consider taking a similar approach on launch day.
For a full rundown of best practices, check out the popular How to write release notes (+5 great examples) article on Appcues’ Blog.
In the meantime, here’s a quick list to get you started.
• Make the intent of the changes clear
• Focus on how the changes impact your users
• Explain changes with visuals
• Make sure they’re easy to consume
• Don’t get overly technical
Hot tip: Most companies’ release notes are boooooring. 😴 And that's the opportunity. All it takes to stand out and make an impression is a little creativity. Seize the day!
In-app announcements and guides
One of the most essential (but surprisingly overlooked) aspects of a product launch is making sure your new product or feature is discoverable. In other words, it’s easily discovered by users. Imagine you spend six months developing and planning the launch of a new feature, only to have it go unused.
Still not worried? Get this: 90% of features requested by Microsoft’s customers already exist. Yeah. It’s so easy for features—even incredibly useful ones that make your product stickier—to get lost in the shuffle.
🚀 For more on product discoverability check out this blog
Thankfully, in-app announcements and guides are extremely useful tools when launching a new product. You can announce the new feature with a modal, draw attention to it with visual cues like a hotspot, and create a brief tour to teach users how to use and get value from it.
Check out these examples:
As you can see, in-app nudges can be useful long after launch day. But on the big day, you’ll likely want to announce the new product with an obvious modal or slideout, like in this example from Airtable:
🚀 For more in-app launch collateral, check this out
We’re going to assume that you don’t need us to tell you what email is or why it’s important. Instead, we’ll focus on a few best practices to make your launch emails shine on the big day and beyond.
Email inboxes are flooded. To get your message across, you need product launch emails—yes, plural—that pique the interest of your audience and get them excited about what you’re offering. Try sending emails before the actual big day to build excitement. For example, you could send a teaser email one week out, an announcement email on the day of, and a two-week follow-up to the segment of your audience that hasn’t yet made a purchase or an upgrade.
As you begin writing your emails, it may be tempting to include a bunch of details about the product. Don’t. Instead, keep it brief and focused on value.
Here are a few tips:
• Start with a short greeting.
• Use images or videos to catch your audience’s attention.
• Include links to more info, such as a blog post or a product demo.
• Include multiple CTAs so that it’s easy for your audience to take the next step.
Hot tip: If your email is great, customers will want to log in to your product and start using it immediately. Instead of linking to your product's home screen or dashboard, use a permalink to push them straight into that guided in-app tour you built earlier!
Below, project management software Asana chose to announce several new features in a single email.
Asana makes the most of email by using rich graphics to showcase their new List View product offering. The images clearly depict the value-add to their users and the bold CTAs make it easy to click-through and start using it.
🚀 For more in-app launch collateral, check this out
We’ve all heard the phrase, “if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”
Well, if you don’t promote your product launch on social media, do you even have a product? While the answer may be yes, it also means that your product isn’t getting the kind of attention it deserves.
There’s no question that having a solid social strategy is important for your product launch. What’s more difficult is getting it to take off. Spend time brainstorming ways to get your brand evangelists (employees, customers, fans) excited about your launch so that they spread the word. It could be as simple as a shoutout or some cool new swag. For example, Disney nailed this with their “Bringing Back The Magic” nametags:
As you plan out your social media strategy, don’t forget sponsored social media ads. Sponsored ads are a great way to reach an audience that will be interested in your new product but may not otherwise hear about it. The key to success is knowing which platform is most effective at reaching your audience. But you already know that!
Many companies use Product Hunt to launch their products, and many have seen thousands of users join/use their product in a single day. If you’re unfamiliar, Product Hunt is a social news site where community members post and upvote interesting new products. Put simply, it’s a forum for product discovery.
Getting listed (or “hunted”) on Product Hunt isn’t too difficult—you just need to find a “hunter” who is excited about your product. The key is gaining traction through upvotes.
Whether or not your product is right for Product Hunt, only you can answer. But if you’re going to do it, study up first. Appcues’ Director of Product Marketing Anand does an awesome deep dive into the subject, but here’s a high-level overview of what you need to do:
1. Become familiar with Product Hunt
2. Nail down your post ahead of your Product Hunt launch
3. Build that buzz
4. Prepare for the long launch
Also, if you’re looking to get re-listed on Product Hunt you’ll want to check this out
In summary, there’s no shortage of ways to promote your new product on launch day, and no one channel is right for every launch. We’ve covered the most common tactics here, but you should not be afraid to think outside of the box. In fact, we dare you to think outside of the box. As you know by now, if you want to build serious buzz, you’ve got to stand out.
Now let’s bring it home.