How to Launch a New Feature: A Step-by-Step Guide

Get noticed with the right feature release strategy.

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Jonathan Anderson
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It’s an age-old question: If a feature is released in the forest, does it make a sound?

OK, we don’t really know what the forest is in the analogy either, but you get where we’re going with this. A feature release is only as good as the success of its adoption, and getting users to see and use new features is easier said than done.

It turns out that only 21% of iOS users install app updates within a week of release. Yet, product updates are a critical means of retaining users. Releasing useful new features to your users shows them that you’re paying attention to their needs, and helping them get to value faster. The net effect for your business is reduced churn.

But it’s not just a matter of releasing a feature into the wild and hoping for the best. A good feature is going to need an equally good launch strategy to get it noticed and, ultimately, adopted.

Determine the What & Who

In today’s world, feature releases are no longer limited to periodic dev cycles. Continuous shipping is great for responding to customer demand quickly, but it creates a challenge as well: With so many new features released so often, which are worthy of announcement?

Alerting your users to every little improvement will only create fatigue. No one likes signing into a product and getting bombarded with “what we just shipped” announcements. So, it’s important to consider which features are the most useful to your customers and prioritize them. Monthly announcements will get you far more attention than weekly ones.

Moreover, not every feature will be valuable to every customer. Segment your users and tailor your feature announcements to them. You may not need to alert enterprise users to the same features as you would SMBs, for example, so don’t!

Choose Your Channels

Just as important as the what and who of your feature announcements is deciding on the where. Using multiple channels will gain you more traction, and each channel has its unique benefits.

In-App

At Candu, we’re partial to this one for obvious reasons. Updating your UI with in-product announcement bars, feature explainers, release notes, and video tutorials lets you meet your customers where they are — in your app — so you can get your new release the most attention possible. Candu’s no-code templates blend seamlessly with your UI so that your feature announcements look like hard-coded parts of your app.

Email

Want to reach inactive users to bring them back into the fold? Email is your best bet. Depending on how important the release is, create a full drip campaign, or send out a one-off announcement. And be sure to include a mention of your new feature in your regular email newsletter. Take a look at Really Good Emails for some really good examples.

Blog Post

Lengthier and more detailed than an email announcement, a blog post lets you share customer stories, best practices, and use cases for your new feature to exhibit its full value. A feature release blog post also serves as a permanent asset that you can link to from your social media channels, share on your homepage, and disseminate through email.

Landing Page

Creating a landing page for an important new release gives you space to communicate what you need to about your latest feature, and it helps build suspense with new users pre-launch. When users want to know more, this is where you’ll direct them — from your emails, social media channels, blog posts, and more. Be sure to make this page evergreen so it can provide value to prospective customers down the road.  Unbounce and Ceros are both great no-code tools for designing custom landing pages.

Press Release

For only the most important of feature launches, alert the press. Keep your press release short and sweet to cater to busy journalists, and follow up with targeted pitches. With the right PR, you may just see your product’s name in ink, successfully getting the word out to the masses.

Make Improvements

Before your official feature launch, consider inviting some of your most loyal users to beta test the product to get ratings and social proof. A beta gives you one last chance to fine-tune before sending your baby out into the world.

Once it’s out there, the real work begins. Make sure you have an easy way to collect feedback from your customers and to support them in-app in order to iterate on your latest feature. Of course, Candu can help you with all of this thanks to a few more handy no-code templates. ;)

Want to learn more about supporting your feature launch with in-app assets? Get in touch with us

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