Once you’ve put in the hard work of building a great feature, the next step is making sure your customers know about it. Many customers are unaware of the vast majority of software features that companies offer. Instead, they tend to focus on the three features promised on your primary landing page.
This ignorance shouldn’t dissuade you from trying to educate your customers. On the contrary, the fact that your customer doesn’t know about existing features means that you have the opportunity to show them that they’re eligible to receive a new benefit from a product they’re already paying for – it can be like Christmas in July. Educating your customers is a win-win, with higher customer engagement and greater value for the customers.
To help with this endeavor, we’ve compiled a list of the seven tactics you should try that require very little up-front investment and have a track record of delivering great returns. These tactics fall into two groups: broadcast and interactive.
When educating customers the most straight-forward techniques are borrowed from traditional media. These techniques focus on reaching out to a large audience with the expectation that some of them will learn about things they never knew existed.
Email continues to be one of the most reliable methods for educating customers. It allows you to reach out to a large audience, while allowing you to communicate personally on a first name basis with each recipient.
To use email to educate your audience, the first tactic you should try is an email sequence focusing on your lesser-known features. By creating an email sequence that has 5 to 7 emails, with each one focused on a single underused feature, you can teach a large volume of information in an efficient and unobtrusive way.
As we covered previously, SMS is another incredibly reliable channel for educating customers. By reaching out to individuals on their phones, you can educate them while also maintaining a personable and conversational tone.
Using SMS can seem like a big investment, but it’s very simple to get started. Start by reaching out with a very lightweight message asking if your customers would be interested in learning about some of the power user features you offer. It’s okay if not every person agrees – but it is important to have them opt-in. Once you have this opt-in, you can then proceed to send them periodic messages every week or so about specific features. Each of these messages should link to landing pages or documentation that more thoroughly teaches on the underappreciated features.
Social Media Posting
One area that many people ignore when educating customers is social media. While many companies use social media to communicate their major features, savvy companies know that it’s equally important to share the word about niche features.
These postings should be brief and the information won’t be for everyone. Despite this, some of these posts will reach the exact right person, who will then become more engaged with your product. This far outweighs the downside of having a few people scroll past your posts.
Contrary to educating via broadcast techniques is creating educational campaigns that are based on interacting with customers. All of these tactics focus on building off of the momentum of previous customer actions and then having your company step in at the perfect time to ensure thorough education.
Landing pages can be incredibly powerful tools for SaaS companies to help in educating customers. When a customer reaches a landing page, it’s an incredibly strong indication that they’re highly interested in what you’re selling. You should be able to take this interest and guide them to an educational environment where they can learn about the nuances of your product.
To do this, take your existing landing page and carve out a section where you can promote educational content on lesser-known features. Then, program your page to rotate through these features. Once you do this, you’ll not only be educating your customers, but learning what kind of messaging attracts your customers. This information will come in handy as you expand your educational initiatives in the future.
Promoting from Major Features
Your customers are spending most of their time using your product in the major features and selling-points. Now that you’re aware of this, it becomes clear that you can use this attention and channel it towards your lesser-known features.
It’s as simple as creating a map of your features and then drawing the right connections. For example, if one of your key features allows customers to quickly send branded invoices, you may want to use that attention and drive it towards a lesser-known feature where customers can setup A/B tests for the copy that accompanies invoices. These connections can make it incredibly simple for you to guide customers to education.
One of the best-kept secrets when trying to educate customers is that if most customers don’t know a feature exists, then they won’t know if you relaunch it. It’s amazing what adding the word “launch” can do to user engagement numbers.
Take a look at your lesser-known features and determine how you can make modest improvements. Then, once you make these small changes, you can send out a message to the existing users that the feature has been updated, you can contact your entire user base by explaining that there’s a new-and-updated feature ready for them to use, and you can communicate with the public and explain that your product has just gotten even better.
Regular Customer Interviews
If you’re a company that is centered on making sure your customers are getting the most out of your product, then there’s a very good chance that you have regular interviews with them. If that’s the case, these check-ins can be invaluable when spreading the word about existing features.
During the course of these conversations, make sure that you find out what their big goals are. Once you know this, you can begin to match their goals to existing features you provide, and then guide the conversation in that direction. Once your customer is aware that a feature exists that can answer their needs, there’s a very high chance that they’ll take the initiative to investigate for themselves.
The Wrap Up
No single tactic or technique will educate all of your users on every single one of your features. That’s why it’s so important to try many things, experiment on the messaging and emphasis, and see what your customers respond to. Once you start to see what customers prefer and you have the infrastructure in place to educate your customers, you’ll be able to go beyond a small handful of campaigns and make education a central part of what you do.