How to announce Product Updates (emails and in-app announcement)

Don’t you think it’s always exciting to announce new product updates?  

After all, there is a lot of effort put into these updates and everyone loves to get some appreciation for their hard work.

Yet, there are three magic questions that need to be answered before announcing a product update. 

And the first of those questions is: “Why does the user need to know about this product update?” 

Because you can be sure that this will be the question the users will be asking themselves. 

After finding a good answer to this question, you will need to ask how a user should see a product update, and it matters as much as why they should.

As for the last step, you should crown the whole process by asking how the user will be guided to benefit from the new product update.

I will touch upon the key points of a product update announcement using emails and in-app messaging, and I will try to do so by giving hints from a user’s perspective as well.

What exactly is a product update?

A product update is a change made to fix a problem or satisfy a need or reveal a new feature. It is an essential part of a sustainable SaaS company. Product updates are strong indicators that you are listening to your customers’ feedback and working on providing them the best user experience that they need. 

In this regard, product updates and product release announcements are highly important because they are your inviting hands to your customers. By these invitations, you do not only create awareness for users to know about your updates but also help them learn how to make use of them.

It is right at this point where you define yourself as a distinguished SaaS company that speaks to its customers in the most satisfying and efficient way.

what is product update

Let’s put a powerful emphasis on this:

There is a fine line between annoying users with a bombardment of announcements and satisfying them by announcing updates in the right way and at the right time.

No matter through which medium you announce a product update, there are some crucial things to follow:

  • Refrain from interrupting users with announcements while they are using your product. This means, don’t prevent them with an irrelevant notification that will do them no good while they are using the product.
  • Take care of not overwhelming users with a lot of announcements. Give them what they need.
  • Try to explain the update in a few words and as clear as possible.
  • Make sure that the announcement is time-sensitive and made in the most relevant point.
  • Guide your users through the new product update. 

When you don’t follow these steps and share even the most irrelevant update to the users by interrupting them with pop-ups, they will begin to ignore and skip even the most important announcements. I want to emphasize that the problem is not with pop-ups but instead with whether these pop-ups interrupt the user or not.

Instead,

When you follow these steps, your users will know that the upcoming announcements are easy to understand and relevant to them. 

And when you crown these product announcements with an interactive guide to your update, the users will be as enthusiastic about a product update as you are.

Research by Salesforce suggests that 80% of customers believe that the experiences provided by companies are equally important to them as its products and services.

“Nobody cares about the thing you’ve designed unless you can get them past the beginning.”

Julie Zhuo Product Design VP at Facebook

You want them to care, don’t you? 

The answer is yes because you want to increase your product adoption rate.

And can it be done?

Yes, it can be done as long as you are enthusiastic about guiding your users through the new updates.
This is where I dive into explaining the two most efficient mediums to use when announcing a new product update, namely emails and in-app messaging.

How to announce product updates in-app

Let’s begin with distinguishing in-app messaging from push notifications because push notifications cannot be sent at just the right moment as in-app messages, and they can be easily ignored. 

Imagine you are driving and receiving a push notification about a new product update. 

It’s not like receiving the update right when you use it, right?

As I suggested earlier in the article, you should not interrupt users with pop-ups for in-app messaging. Instead of pop-ups that interrupt you should have a button that highlights when a new product update is released. Since your users know that you announce updates that are valuable to them, they will be eager to know about the new announcement.

Here is an example from Slack:

product update examples slack 1

As you can see, Slack has its simple “?” button to announce updates because Slack knows that their users would like to know about those valuable updates that will make their work much more efficient.

product update examples slack 2

Upon clicking on “?”, you are directed to the help center. There, you will see that if they have a new update, there is a little red dot under the gift icon. They don’t interrupt you but instead, they give you a little notice about the update. 

product update examples slack 3

When you click on the gift icon, Slack presents you with the most recent updates, which makes it easier for you to follow those updates that you may have missed. Looking at what’s new in Slack, users are presented with brief information and a guide that helps them learn how to adopt the new update. You can click on “learn more” and get to learn how to make use of the new product update.

What is also good here is that you can also deselect the option “Notify me about updates”.

And here is Slack explaining how you can make use of the new update step by step:

product update examples slack 4
product update examples slack 5

I deliberately choose an example from Slack because this is the closest to the ideal. However, you can always make it easier for users to adopt the new update. 

This is where UserGuiding comes in. Thanks to its easy-to-use tool, UserGuiding turns into your human touch by helping you create an interactive guide that makes the process of adopting the new update an easy and enjoyable process for the users. 

Here is a video of an interactive guide created with UserGuiding:

How to write a product update email

Although email updated users are not as easy to call to action as in-app updated users, it is still very important to know how to write a product update email. By following some key points, you can both inform and encourage users about the new product updates.

Here are these key points:

1- Make sure these emails are well designed and the updates are bundled up in accordance with their categories. 

2- Present brief and clear information about the product update.

3- Guide your users through the email.

4- Personalize the emails so that the user feels they are personally being cared about and are encouraged to learn about the new update. 

5- Find the best time to send these emails so that they are not swallowed up by other email traffic.

As in in-app messaging, you should respect your users’ valuable time and try to present them with an informative and guiding email that will help them learn about the product in the most efficient way.

Please remember that in an age in which people are constantly spammed with the most unnecessary emails, our job is to assure them that we are sending these emails for their own good instead of aggressively promoting our own products.

Here is a good example of a product update email from ClickUp:

product update examples clickup 1

When you first open the email, you are welcomed with short footage that shows you how you can make use of the new product update. This is specifically good because it directly helps users know what the new update is, and visualize the process of learning how to use it.

product update examples clickup 2

You can see that after presenting the user a visual, they go on to explain the new updates in a few words and as clearly as possible because they don’t want to steal their users’ valuable time in anyways. They simply want to make it easier for their users. 

And if you want to discover more about the update, you can click on “learn more”.

product update examples clickup 3

As you click on “learn more”, you are presented with a video guide that walks you through the whole process. It does not only teach you how to use the new product update but it also accompanies you through the journey; and this way they build a connection with you.

You didn’t think that this was all right? Because they go even one step further and give you ideas about what to use the new product update for. 

Isn’t it great? This is what shows your customers that you truly care about them and you are willing to make it better and easier for them. 

Conclusion 

Throughout the whole article, I wanted to emphasize, from a user’s perspective, that you should do what you do in order to make things easier and more efficient for the user. 

Well, isn’t why you come up with these updates? If the answer is yes, then coming up with these product updates is not enough to make it easier for the users, you should also make it easier for them to understand and learn how to benefit from these updates. 

And as a friendly suggestion:

If you want to know whether in-app messaging or emailing is a better option to announce product updates, well, it’s an easy decision:

You should use both!

Frequently Asked Questions


How do you write a product release note?

You should group relevant information together and explain them with plain language and short sentences.


How can you communicate product updates? 

You can do it in various ways but the two most efficient ways are in-app messaging and emailing.

announce product update

Serhat Erdem

Serhat is the Creative Content Writer of UserGuiding, a code-free product walkthrough software that 2000+ companies trust in their user onboarding.

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