Posts Tagged ‘re-engaging customers’

7 Ways to Better Educate Customers About Your Lesser-Known Features

Monday, September 21st, 2015

7-ways-to-better-educate

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.

educating-your-cutomer-is-a-winwin

Get the bonus content: Your Guide to Finding Out if a Feature Is Worth Maintaining

Broadcast:

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 Sequence

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.

SMS Outreach

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.

 

SMS-outreach

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.

Interactive:

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 Page

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.

Relaunches

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.

Get the bonus content: Your Guide to Finding Out if a Feature Is Worth Maintaining

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.

Steps to an Email Sequence That Will Re-engage Your Current Customers

Monday, September 7th, 2015

Steps-to-an-Email-Sequence

The first step is getting customers to walk in your door. The second step is getting them to stick around. Since they were interested enough in your services to create an account, this step might seem easy. Unfortunately, as business owners around the world know firsthand, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

In fact, losing customers after they’ve already created an account can be more common than successfully signing up new customers. There are an infinite number of reasons ranging from a lack of relevance to what they’re working on, to a high cost, to general forgetfulness about what they’ve signed up for.

effective-email-sequence

Regardless of the reason, there are a few surefire ways to get them to re-engage and get excited about being your customer. If you follow our steps to create a re-engagement email sequence, it won’t solve all of your business problems – but it will alleviate a lot of the pressure you’re under. Why? Because an effective email sequence is the difference between “we have engaged customers” and “we used to have customers.”

Here’s what you need to know:

Step #1: Segment Your Audience

segment-your-audience

As we mentioned above, there are endless reasons that people might become disengaged. Tied to every reason is a call to action perfectly suited for that customer. For example, if someone left because of the high cost, the most effective email sequence to re-engage them will be focused on the tangible value that you provide for them. This connection between why customers leave and what will get them to return is true for nearly all customers.

To use this strategy, however, you need to segment your audience. To do this, begin compiling a list of the reasons people cancel their accounts. Once you have an extensive list, begin to look for commonalities and similar problems. This won’t be a perfect segmentation, but it will give you a starting point that you can use to start meaningful conversations with your customers.

Step #2: Get them to open up one single email.

Once you have a list of four-to-five segments, you reach your first hurdle: get them to open one email. While you may be tempted to start by planning out a grand strategy with seven targeted emails each paired with a corresponding blog post, this is a mistake. Instead, you need to take them from a world where they don’t care about you to a world where you’ve enticed them to open an email you send. It may seem like a small step, but when customers are sitting idle you need to warm them up before you start applying pressure.

This step requires a lot of hands on experimentation, covering everything from subject line variations, to figuring out the right timing, to changing who the sender. For each change, keep in mind that the email should be specifically targeting a very small segment of your disengaged audience. It may be a big investment of time, but each change has the potential to impact the open rate by a few percentage points – which adds up very quickly.

Get the bonus content: 5 Tips to Great Subject Lines That Grab People’s Attention

Step #3: Opt-In To Education

Once they’ve opened that first email, you need to immediately move to pitching them with a series of emails. While you may technically have the right to send them emails without them opting in again, the additional level of opting-in provides a few strong benefits.

First, when a customer opts-in to an email sequence, they are far more likely to open future emails from the same sender. It might seem unlikely, but there is extensive research to back this up. Second, the additional opt-in helps you to optimize your first email and better target your disengaged customers. Third, it helps your customers begin to feel meaningfully re-engaged with your company.

Each of these three benefits may seem small, but when you’re dealing with a long list of customers that have lost interest in you, you need to take an incremental approach. This means that whether it’s testing a subject line or getting them to opt-in to a secondary email sequence, the single digit percentage points carry real weight. These are all small steps, but they add up.

Step #4: Teach them

Now that you’ve hooked your customers with a first email and convinced them to opt-in, you need to reel them in with useful content. Many companies make the mistake of trying to send a series of emails that all heavily feature their own products. While it might get a few people to reactivate their accounts, it’s more likely to get them to hit the unsubscribe button.

Instead of hitting your disengaged customers over the head with promotional emails, use the opportunity to teach them about why they need you. Based on your understanding of the target segment, send emails that bring to mind their core business needs. Then, as you help them improve their businesses, you foster an association between your customers and the utility your brand provides. It’s important to note that this needs to be material they aren’t able to find elsewhere, otherwise it’s going to mentally register as useless spam.

Step #5: Turn that lesson into a promotion for using your product

Once they’ve begun to associate your brand with real utility, the process of re-engaging them with your product becomes much simpler. At this point, they’ve already opted-in to your communications, they’ve taken part in an educational series of emails, and they know that you’re ready and willing to help them. This leads to the end of your email sequence, where you take the built-up goodwill and transform the topic of conversation into one about how much they need to use your product.

This is the most delicate part of the email sequence and much like the first email it will require experimentation. Come up with dozens of potential calls-to-action and test each against each other to find the most compelling.

The End Result

At the end, you’ll have accomplished three big things. First, your customers will be more engaged with your company. Second, your customers will have learned something about what they need. Third, they will associate their need to solve a problem with your business (which solves that problem!).

Combined, these accomplishments mean you’ll have customers that are not only re-engaged but excited about using your product.

Get the bonus content: 5 Tips to Great Subject Lines That Grab People’s Attention