How to Improve Product Usage by Announcing New Features
- Provide instructional materials to help users learn how to use your product’s new features.
- Share customer success stories to show users how real-life companies are using your product to solve their problems.
- Use changelog tools like ReleaseLog to easily announce new features and product updates to users.
- Tailor announcements to different user segments so that it’s relevant to them. That way they’ll be more motivated to try out the new feature.
What is SaaS product usage?
Product usage is fairly self-explanatory – it refers to how users interact with your product. It involves what users do inside your SaaS app, including the features they use, and how long they spend interacting with it. Monitoring this data helps you to make decisions to improve product adoption and retention.
What are some important product usage metrics to track?
We covered this topic extensively here. But below is a quick overview of the metrics you should measure:
- Session duration: how long a user spends interacting with your product after logging in.
- Usage frequency: how often a customer uses your product.
- Time-to-value (TTV): the length of time it takes a user to realize your product’s value.
- Logo churn: the number of users who have stopped using your product
- Daily active users (DAU): how many users use your product daily (a measure of stickiness).
Why should you announce your product’s new features?
When you launch new features and users aren’t aware of them, consider those features as good as dead. That’s why you need to announce them – to boost the feature’s discovery.
Besides that, showing your customers how a new feature improves their lives can make them adopt that feature more quickly. It also demonstrates that you pay attention to their feedback and concerns.
Finally, a well-planned feature announcement is a great way to make a public splash about your product to catch the attention of new prospects and convert them.
What channels should you use to announce new features?
Before announcing your new feature, it’s important to identify three things:
a) The right channel. Improvements and fixes are normally announced via changelogs. You can use email, changelogs, social media, and in-app messaging to communicate smaller features. For major feature releases, use PR, feature on Product Hunt, email, social media, and everywhere else to get your news in front of as many eyeballs as possible.
b) The right timing. Time of day and day of the week make a big difference when it comes to the impact of social media posts and emails. It can be handy to set a cadence, say monthly, for your announcements, to create consistency for your team and users. You can also keep an eye on media trends to pick the perfect moment to launch a feature.
c) The right user. Tailor announcements to a specific user segment. For example, you can group users based on the plan they are on or whether they have an admin role. You can also segment based on whether a user makes active use of a specific feature.
If you’re looking for in-depth information about announcing new product features, check out our ultimate guide.
On that note, let’s look at some common feature announcement channels.
A changelog is used to keep a record of all the changes and updates to your product. It keeps users informed about the details of your product’s latest updates and improvements and lets them know you’re working hard to make your product better and their lives easier.
With a changelog tool like ReleaseLog, you can write, edit and publish new feature announcements and share them with your users. This can increase usage and enhance the customer experience.
Email is often a default channel for announcing new features, especially for early-stage startups that don’t have a changelog or other product marketing tools set up. The advantage is that you can use it to reach users who may be outside your app and drive them to it. Email is very effective in promoting major feature releases.
Anima used email to announce their new Timeline feature.
3. Social media
Customers use social media networks like Twitter and LinkedIn to find out what’s going on with the brands they like. That’s why it’s an excellent way to promote your new features. Add visual elements to your posts to create a buzz around your product features. You can even win new prospects that way.
Calendly used Twitter to announce a new feature.
4. In-app messaging
These are messages that appear while the user is in your SaaS application. You can use elements like UI modals to alert active users to a new feature. You can combine that with tooltips to provide in-app guidance to users the moment they interact with a feature so they can get started immediately.
Some changelog tools (like ReleaseLog) allow you to embed an in-app notification widget in your SaaS to share new product updates with your users.
5. Blog posts
You can write articles to give more detail about the new feature. For example, you can blog about new use cases that the feature facilitates.
How do you improve product usage in SaaS?
As much as announcements are important, they aren’t the final stop. There are a few ways to increase your product usage after announcing your changes.
#1 Educate users about your product
Even if your product is user-friendly, some users will struggle to understand it or will get stuck with the more advanced features. Without resources to help them, these users may become overwhelmed and frustrated, and eventually leave.
Here are a few ideas to resolve this problem:
- Blog posts can educate prospects and current users on your features and how to use them in specific use cases.
- Virtual tours and product walkthroughs help new users to understand how to set up and use your product and perform basic functions.
- Tutorials and guides can break any process into simple steps. You can use these to target different customer segments and use cases.
- Help centers and knowledge bases are useful sources of information for users who like to get things done on their own without reaching out for help.
#2 Tailor your announcements to different users
Tailor your messages to different users to make it relevant to as many of them as possible.
You can segment your audience in different ways, but for the purpose of increasing product usage, consider the following groups:
- Active users who use the product frequently.
- Inactive users who need a reason to come back.
- Users who left feedback or requested a specific feature.
With a well-tailored message, you can entice these different segments to try out the feature. For example, inactive users might be convinced by the idea that you’ve improved your product since the last they used it. Who knows, maybe the new feature was just the thing they needed to solve their pain point.
#3 Share product case studies
Case studies are an excellent opportunity to show users what real-life companies are achieving with your product. The most effective way to communicate case studies is through storytelling.
Tell customer success stories using a before-and-after structure. Start with the company’s struggles and pain points, then describe the transformation after they discovered your SaaS app. It’s a great way to build social proof.
Here are a few more tips for sharing case studies.
- Pick both large and small clients to show that your product is suitable for any company size.
- Focus on a specific feature in each case study. That way, you can generate more stories and appeal to different personas.
- Share customer success stories from different industries to appeal to different markets.