You’ve been working for weeks, months even, on a new feature release. It’s something your customers have been asking for and it’s going to set you apart from the competition. To put it frankly—you’re buzzing about it. With the software product launch day on the horizon, it’s time to talk to your PMMs and Marketing team about how to announce it. Email blasts, in-app notifications, and social campaigns are a given—but what about a PR campaign?
The answer is a definite yes, it is absolutely worth running a PR campaign whenever new features are added to your software. The variable here is what kind of campaign is worth running for the number of new functions. A PR campaign will help you achieve improvements in both of the following areas:
- Relations with your customer base by showing that you’re actively listening to their feedback and catering to their pain points
- Retention and churn reduction by adding new features that don’t exist in your competitors’ programs and help users achieve their goals more effectively.
Feature marketing actually exists as its own separate term and serves both for converting prospects and giving your current customers a good reason to stay. Moreover, whenever you add new features, you’re basically getting tons of new content ideas for your blog, which is awesome.
What Are You Striving to Achieve with Your New Features?
Before starting with your PR campaign, you and the whole team need to have complete clarity on the purpose of this software launch. Are you looking to improve on already present functionality and heighten the quality of life of your existing users? Or are you looking to expand your horizons with features to solve completely new problems for other audiences? This will affect your PR campaign directly as different end goals require completely different approaches.
Another thing that you need to keep in mind when planning your PR campaign is the reason why you added those features in the first place. What goals do they help users achieve? Which pain points are they designed for? It’s valuable here to review the product roadmap and understand the user feedback you collected that brought you to create said new feature.
If your update consists of a simple redesign and a few bug fixes—in-app messages for your users as well a couple of social posts will probably be sufficient. But if it’s worth throwing the confetti out for, then a PR campaign could be on the cards.
Promoting Your New Software Features
The term PR campaign is pretty vague and can mean any number of things—ranging from a simple email to your users with your update’s release notes to blowing the budget and purchasing advertising space on huge billboards.
For every business, a PR campaign is going to look completely different. So, let’s discuss some ways of good ways of letting people know about your updates.
Build a Landing Page
SaaS businesses have figured out that it’s worth developing a separate landing page for each one of your features. This allows you to present each feature in great detail and all its glory without overwhelming your users with walls of text that might even be unrelated to your new update.
A landing page is a great opportunity to formulate your value proposition, display exactly how your features are different from those of your competitors, and show how your users will benefit from it, all in a neat, organized interface dedicated solely to this task.
Email is probably the first promotion tool that comes to anyone’s mind. Conveniently, it is also the simplest to employ, and quite versatile. It is an easy way to reach potential new customers and spread information about your new features amongst your customer base.
It is also a good idea to have separate emails for different tier users. Perhaps, offer the freebie guys a test drive of the full thing for a little while?
In-app messages are quite similar to emails and are very simple to employ as well, but offer a much more engaging way of communicating with your users.
This is because of the fact that they are using your software while reading your message, which means they are not thinking about something completely different, or casually checking their email.
So, they are much more likely to actually care about what you have to say, which is exactly what you need.
Everybody likes to scroll their Facebook feed from time to time. So, it makes perfect sense to promote your new features where people are almost certain to look every day.
Besides the obvious promotion opportunities, social media is also the perfect place for collaborating with micro-influencers to give your PR campaign that little bit of extra “oomph” and help generate more buzz around your software product launch.
Additionally, social media platforms are awesome for drawing attention to your blog posts.
Adding new features means more topics to write content for your blog, right? So, why not take advantage of this opportunity. It is great both for educating existing users about your new features, as well as showing them off to potential new users.
You can go in-depth into how your new features work, how to use them, and exactly which kinds of situations they would be helpful in.
Oh, and did I mention they are awesome for attracting more organic traffic to your resource? More traffic means more sales, more sales means more awesome!
Webinars and Training Courses
Speaking of educating, organizing a big old webinar and teaching your users about your new, awesome features (almost) in person is a perfect opportunity to engage with them much more effectively than with other tactics.
You could even collaborate with some other SaaS companies and join your webinar/training course efforts to reach a much wider audience than you would on your own.
Ideally, running webinars is the job of customer support and product teams, but if you’re a smaller company, you could absolutely do it yourself, if it fits your schedule. It would also be a great opportunity for your users to get to know you a bit better and think of you as a friend rather than just a company name.
Training courses are also a great education tool if your new features require some technical knowledge to use properly.
Free trials are awesome. Everybody loves them. They let people who are unsure if your software is what they’re looking for to try it out first-hand, and they give you a chance to present your tool in all its glory.
So, giving out limited free trial passes is an awesome PR and marketing move. If your tool offers different subscription tiers, and your new feature is for the higher ones, offering existing lower-tier users a free-of-charge test run is an amazing hook for upscaling.
Paid social campaigns and free trials are a match made in heaven: social has a much wider reach than good old emails and is perfect for nudging indecisive potential customers into trying your software out.
This is a much more personal approach that’s not too dissimilar from running webinars and learning courses. Ask any customer happiness manager and they’ll tell you that it’s a great opportunity to educate, retain, show care, and interest your clients in your new features.
Design Your PR Campaign According to Your Goals
A lot of work goes into developing a new feature. Market research, countless bug fixes, website edits, user reviews, and suggestions. A lot of time gets spent on the actual coding process. And, of course, you want your work to pay off in the end.
The trick to developing a successful PR campaign for a new feature is not overdoing it. Like I mentioned previously, if the said feature is a simple expansion of an already existing one, it wouldn’t really make sense to start handing out hundreds of free trials or developing a whole educational course showing it off. At the same time, if you’re trying to win over a whole new audience that has never used your software before, the same tactics would be perfect for the job.
Feature marketing is still a relatively new concept, and for all businesses that are considering whether it should be part of their strategy, I will repeat myself: it is absolutely worth it. It helps increase the overall value of your software product, engage with existing customers more, as well as attract new ones. It’s a win-win if you don’t overdo it!
About the Author
Vlad Orlov – managing brand partnerships at Respona (used to get Visme to 3M monthly traffic), he is a passionate writer and link builder. Having started writing articles at the age of 13, their once past-time hobby developed into a central piece of their professional life.