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It’s an important day for your product.  

The moment your team has eagerly been waiting for, has finally arrived.

After weeks of brainstorming and burning the midnight oil, you have developed an epic new feature that your users are absolutely going to love!

Now there’s just one job to do.

To make the announcement and get your user group buzzing.

Sure, a gala unveiling would definitely get them to take notice.

Unfortunately, rolling out a new feature for a SaaS product is not exactly viewed as a ground-breaking event; and definitely not done on a grand stage in front of a live audience.

Instead, you take to email to announce the latest product features.

Correct?

The question is, are you paying attention to your product update emails?

Because, if you are guilty of sending generic, bland product update emails that your readers couldn’t care less about, then it is time to change that.

If done right, product update emails can be so much more than just a medium to share the latest updates; they can redefine the way you engage with your existing users and present a golden opportunity to increase your user base!

In this post, we discuss how you can use product update emails to different users and drive them to engage better with your product.

But before we get to those details, let’s take a look at why product update emails are important.

Why are Product Update Emails Important?

Having spent so much time developing some amazing features, you are obviously psyched for the latest version of your product and can’t wait for your users to be impressed.

Now you need to get your users to share the same excitement, nudging the making them want to check out your new features.  

This is where a compelling product update email helps them understand how they can benefit from these new changes.

Three reasons why Product Update Emails are Important

1. Drives Engagement

For any new user signing up, there will be an elaborate on-boarding strategy in place that helps them understand how your product works and how they can use it to achieve their goals.

Your product update emails can complement your on-boarding campaign and act as a guide for the users to familiarize themselves with your product.

A relevant product update email that teaches your customers to get the most of your product, drives their engagement.

2. Helps you with up-selling

If your product caters to different user groups with different plans, then your product update email is a good platform to make your customers upgrade from their existing plans.

A compelling product update email that highlights how a new feature will help them derive more value out of your product can drive your users to take the leap.

3. Gets non-customers to sign up

Your product update emails is not only for announcing about new features to your existing customers. It is also a great chance to get potential customers to sign up for your product.

How so?

There will be a group of prospects that you would have reached out in the past, who would have gone cold - the ones who showed some sort of an interest in your product by signing up for a free trial, attending a demo etc. only to decide against signing up.

Sending an email about the latest updates in your product is a chance to bring back those non-customers and get them to sign up.

Now that you know the importance of product update emails, let’s see how you can create compelling product update emails for different audience.

How to Create Awesome  Product Update Emails

The first step in creating effective product update email campaigns is identifying what you want to get out of those emails:

        1. Do you want to just inform about the new features to the existing customers?

        2. Do you want to announce a premium feature that requires your customers to upgrade to a new plan?

        3. Do you want to get non-customers to sign up for your product?

Once you have defined your objective, you send the product update emails accordingly.

Communicating New Features to Existing Users

A majority of product update emails that you send will likely fall in this category: where you communicate the existing users about new features that you have added.

They may not be big changes that require to upgrade plans but are still important enough to announce to the users.

The objective of such product update emails is simple: to get the users to engage more with your product.

a) Focus on how the new update will benefit them

The first rule of product update emails, or for that matter, any email is talking in the language of the readers.

Do not make the message too technical or fill it with jargons - because your users are more keen about how you can help them rather than learn about how a particular feature was developed.

Unless of course, you are selling to The Big Bang Theory gang.

The focus of your mail should be on how exactly the users are going to benefit from your product.

This product update email sent by Groove is a great example of product update email that nails the “Talk Benefit to Me” approach.

The entire message revolves around how the new integration feature will improve the user experience, making their jobs easier.

Notice how the email ends with a neat Call-to- Action for those who want to learn more about how these new features work.

b) Show the users that you value their opinion

When you first launch your product in the market, it is definitely not its final version - once users try it, they will have their opinions, suggestions and of course, requests for specific features.

That is what product updates are for!

If a good number of users feel that your app can improve in a certain aspect and have actually taken the time to let you know that, it means that they really value your product and want to see it get better - you have to reciprocate the same, by valuing user opinions.

If you are rolling out a feature that your users have been long asking for, show them that you are listening to them, by crafting your message around that.

Here is an example of a product update email from BuzzSumo that clearly shows that they are paying attention to requests from the user community.

Tip:  End your emails with a Call-to-Action that drives the users to engage with your product right after they finish reading the mail.  

Driving Existing Users to Upgrade from their Current Plan

A product update is typically fixing of bugs and the addition of new features.

While bug fixes is about mending the cracks in the current version, new features are all about improving the product.

While some features might be minor improvements, certain “premium features” will improve the product in leaps and bounds and therefore require them to upgrade from their current plans.

When announcing these premium features in your product update emails, the objective is not merely informing the users but persuading them to consider an upgrade.

How should this product email look like?

A Product update email for premium features is about making the users see enough value in your newest features to consider an upgrade.

Being a premium feature it would have probably involved a lot of work from your team and it would be tempting to list out all the struggle that you went through to develop the feature and try to convince the users why it is worth an upgrade.  

But for the customers, it is still an email trying to convince them to spend more on your product. So the best way to approach it is, not emphasizing on that detail and let the features do the talking.

How do you do that?

Take the email as an opportunity to tell users how you are adding new functionalities to your product that will redefine the way they engage with it, helping them accomplish much more than with the current version.

Get the users excited about using these new features before breaking the news that it would require them to upgrade.

If they really see the value in the new features and can see themselves using them, the ‘upgrading’ does not come off as a surprise but as the next logical step.

Here is an example of Drift sending out such deft product update emails for their premium feature:

The email gets the users interested right away, by breaking the good news of rolling out the new feature that the users have been asking for.

Then it goes on to explain how exactly the new integration will improve the product.

You can observe how it does not bring up about upgrading until towards the end of the mail.

Though the email is almost perfect, personally I’d add a Call-to-Action to nudge the users to upgrade their account.

Like this email from Zapier.

Tip: You can even use the product update email to give the users a free-run of your premium features before deciding to upgrade.

Persuading Non-Customers to Sign-up

The third category of product update emails is, reaching out to prospects who might have shown an interest in the past but didn’t sign up for your product.

Maybe they were looking for a  particular feature that you didn’t have back then, but have now.

Maybe the timing was not right.

Whatever be the reason, you don’t want to miss out on even the smallest window to make them your customers.

An effective way to do this is, by maintaining a database of those prospects who went cold and use your feature announcements to check-in on them.

How should this product email look like?

Since you are reaching out to people who showed an interest in the past, referencing that in your product update email will make them easily identify your brand and relate to the message.

Example:

Hey {first name},

A lot has changed with {your product} since the last time we had a chat!

We have been working on some really cool features that you’ll love!  

{Relevant Image describing the features}

{Call-to-Action}

Regards,

The idea of the template is to hook the readers right away by referring to a previous interaction.

Canva, a popular graphic-design tool website does a great job of using product update emails to get non-customers to engage with the product:

The email in itself is a simple yet attractive copy, a trademark of Canva, sharing its latest updates of new layouts.

Then the email ends with an attractive CTA - different types of design, clicking on which will directly take the readers to the respective pages.

Things to consider before sending out a Product Update Email

1.Can you add a Relevant Visual?

“A picture is worth a 1000 words.”

This couldn’t be more true for product update emails. With the ideal length of an email somewhere between 50-125 words, it is not always possible to trim your copy down to that.

A compelling visual not only catches the attention of the readers but also helps you demonstrate the new features with ease.

By looking at the visual, the readers can easily connect the dots with what you have been talking about.

2. Is it absolutely necessary to send out an email for that update?

For a SaaS product, fixing bugs and constantly improvising are two things fundamental to keep the wheel running; sharing the news with your users is great, as it gives them confidence that they made a good choice.

However, sending incessant emails every time you make a small change is irrelevant and plain annoying.

Save the emails for only big changes that are relevant to your users.

Note: If you have made a number of minor changes, send out a periodical email mentioning all the changes that you have made in a certain period.

Conclusion

By paying attention to product update emails, you can redefine how you engage with your customers.

Follow these suggestions to make the most out of your emails.

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