Announcing your feature in the right way to the right people, at the right time will convince more of them to sit up and try it. Below we show you how we announce new features at Intercom and how you can too. You’ll learn how to target the right people, showcase your feature’s possibilities, prioritize the information that matters, and track how your announcement performs.
The right customers
You can add as many filters as you like to your messages to make sure they only get sent to the people who matter. Here are some useful groups to target for feature announcements:
Customers who have access to the feature should definitely hear about it. For example, if your new feature is available with your Pro plan, make sure to include the filter ‘Has pro plan is true.’
Customers who don’t have access to the feature, on the other hand, are a good group to upsell to. If your new feature is only available on your pro plan, you could use it as encouragement to upgrade. Your filter here might be something like ‘Has pro plan is false’. It’s important to create a unique message for these customers. They’ll want to know why they need your feature, and not just the specific details about how to use it.
Customers who have requested the feature are the perfect group to send a beta feature announcement to. If you have tagged these customers correctly, you can filter for ‘Tag is Calendar Feature Request’, for example.
Customers who take a specific action that’s related to your new feature will want to know about it. For example, if your new feature is an annotation tool, it makes sense to announce it in context, right after your customer takes a screenshot. You could create an event called ‘Screenshot taken’, and trigger your message using that event.
We all hate getting badly timed, irrelevant messages that don’t make sense. To avoid annoying the wrong customers, we recommend using the following filters:
Recently contacted users are more likely to ignore your new message if it’s sent too close to their last message. People don’t like receiving multiple messages at once. To combat this, make sure you include a 'last contacted more than x days ago’ filter. We use a minimum of 3 days here at Intercom. This will space your messages out nicely.
New users who’ve just signed up might not care too much about your new feature; everything is new to them. So you might want to exclude these guys. And more importantly, there’s far more important things to talk to your users about in the first few days than pushing your new feature. Your filter here would be something like ‘Signed up more than 30 days ago’.
The right way, at the right time in the right place
Before making your announcement, you’ll need to decide where and when it makes sense for your customers to get your message.
When do in-app feature announcements make sense? The best time to promote a new feature is when someone is inside your product and in a position to use it. You need to think about where it makes most sense to announce your new feature to active customers. For example, if you’ve just released a new sync reports feature, a good place to tell your customers about it would be on the reports page. Here’s how you can target a specific page URL in Intercom.
When do email feature announcements make sense? New features are only new once. If you have a time-sensitive announcement to make and you want to reach both active and inactive customers right now, you should send an email announcement. Email’s advantage over in-app messages is that it delivers to people outside your app and can drive them back to using it. Promoting your new feature to inactive users is a great way to re-engage users. To increase your email’s chance of getting opened, set your delivery window to send during the days and times that get the best engagement.
Set a stop date
Remember, your feature won’t be new forever. That’s why it’s important to set a stop date for your announcement in your ‘Goal, Display & Expiry’ settings.
The right message
Crafting the right message for your feature is tricky. It needs to intrigue people enough to take action, and yet, educate users so they understand the exact job your feature does.
Show customers what they can do
No one cares about how much hard work you did or how long it took to build your new feature. They care about how it will enable them to do their job better. So avoid saying things like, “We’ve spent the last month restructuring how our export functionality works”. Instead, focus your message on what your users can now achieve. If you say something like, “Exporting reports is now automated which will save you heaps of time. Here’s how…” you’ll really grab your customers’ attention.
Add an image or video
People are visual learners. So add a screenshot or a short video to help your customers quickly understand the job they can now do with your feature.
You can add a button that links to your video like this:
Or you can embed your video in your message by clicking on the ‘+’ icon on the left-hand side of the message composer. Here’s how that will appear to your customers:
Your customers have short attention spans. So prioritize. What are the most important details you need to communicate? What’s the shortest, neatest way to explain why it’s good and why your users need it? Sometimes your new feature allows your customers to do many jobs. But don’t be tempted to communicate all of these benefits straight away. Instead, focus on the most important job. They’ll learn the rest in time.
Building an emotional connection with your users will encourage action. If you’re beta announcing your feature to a few select customers, let them know they’re amongst the chosen few. It will make them feel special and they’ll be more likely to try your feature.
Before you even create your announcement, you can send an event or user attribute to Intercom that will help you track the action you want people to take. For example, if you’re announcing your new calendar feature, your Event might be something like ‘Calendar Updated’. Once you set this as your goal, you can see how many message recipients used the feature, and who these users are.
If you want to really optimize your announcements, you should A/B test your messages.