Part Spreadsheet and Part Databases, a product which is at the forefront of the no-code movement, helping non-developers build apps on top of an excel like layer.
That is Airtable. And it is kind of a big deal.
Just how much?
Over 30,000 companies including Slack, Netflix, Time, Medium, Buzzfeed use Airtable to get work done.
When you serve such a diverse group of customers, you obviously know a thing or two about how to build a good product and release awesome features.
So we decided to study how Airtable does product update announcements and boy did we find some interesting takeaways for you.
5 Secrets we Learnt from Airtable’s Product Update Announcements
1. Live Demo of their Features
Product Update Announcements are a great way to communicate to users about the latest changes made to the product.
As the users do not have any idea on how these features work or even how to get started with them, most companies add relevant images or GIFs to the announcement which helps users get the context.
Airtable takes this practise to a whole different level by giving an actual demonstration of how these features work.
More than merely describing the features, having the new features speak for themselves gives a complete new perspective for the users, who will now be more thrilled to try them out.
We are impressed.
2. Distinct Branding
Let’s start from the minute you land on their product updates page.
We know of companies that sneak in product announcements as part of their marketing blog.
Airtable on the other hand, decided to take product announcements and make it front and centre of their blog. A whole new category - prominently positioned on their cheekily branded blog: “For the Record”.
Each feature announcement gets a “card” like layout with bright images in colors that pop out.
The entire page portrays Airtable as the dashing brand that all the cool kids want to be a part of. A distinct and vibrant movement.
3. The ‘tell a tale’ Approach
Remember that one teacher in your junior high, who made a mundane subject really interesting with stories?
Now imagine that same teacher was transformed into a team collaboration tool.
That is Airtable for you.
Airtable keeps their feature announcements engaging by turning them into interesting narratives that build up to their new feature.
Here’s how they start off one of their newest features that involve Barcodes:
Rather than jumping straight into product or the feature abruptly, they begin their posts with a story and then tie it up with their product.
And? It works.
“After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.” - - Philip Pullman
I mean, how often does a man get to hear about the history of Barcodes in a Product Update Announcement? [ If you read it in Andy Dufrene’s voice, you are awesome)
4. Call-to-Action that nudges Visitors to Sign-up
Like many other SaaS companies, Airtable too showcases its latest features right in its blog. That means, a good number of page visitors who may not be using their product.
Airtable gently nudges these visitors to try out their product by placing relevant Call-to-action in their post.
5. Using Testimonials for Announcing New Features
A new feature from a product that you regularly use is always a moment of truth. Are you the type of person who dives it with enthusiasm and tries out every shiny new thing. Or are you the kind of person who prefers stability over change.
If you are the latter Airtable gets you. After all, us humans are not particularly fond of changes. How does Airtable convince you to part with your time and check out the latest improvement.
With testimonials. Yes. Testimonials for a new feature. You heard it right.
Just take a look at the post where they talk about Airtable blocks:
When you have someone from the Netflix team batting for a new feature, it must be pretty good.
Airtable is one of the most rapidly growing products leading the no code moment and they make use of every new feature announcement to drive home their personality. Not a dull, boring moment here. This is a vibrant, colorful company that is constantly looking for ways to leave a memorable experience.
Make use of these techniques in your feature announcements and tell us if they worked!