One of your key assets in the lead-up to the launch should not be forgotten, this being your existing customers. Their greatest strength is that they already understand your product, this is why it requires extra care when persuading them about the value in upgrading. They’re also best placed to convert potential new customers. Let's discuss how you can excite them with pre-release emails, entice them to upgrade and then reward them for telling others about a product they love.
Before you start your launch campaign, you'll want to reasses your Customer Personas to see if their needs have changed. Customer personas allow you to place your ideal customers into clearly defined personalities - considering their pain points, perspective, routines etc. This is informed by talking to customers - asking them about their experience with the product, when they had a problem, why they decided to look into it, and how things went from there.
"Customer personas allow you to place your ideal customers into clearly defined personalities - considering their pain points, perspective, routines etc.”
They come in handy, especially when targeting an email audience, by allowing you to segment what message should go to which persona-categorized customer. For example, if you were targeting customers by pricing tier, with their favoured features or those who are more interested in a subscription plan. With these segments to hand, you’ll know exactly how best to market your product when sending emails. For a refresher on creating and refining personas check out our customer personas guide.
Sending pre-release emails chains
By sending your customers pre-release emails, you can build and maintain a level of hype before the launch. Informing and entertaining existing customers with product offers and exclusive content.
You need to work out an objective and message for each particular email. Is your objective to push a particular tier, have people sign up on a waitlist to upgrade or gain more buzz by holding a competition for people?
It's also particularly important to let your audience know how often they’ll receive emails, this stops them perceiving the emails as an annoyance but rather as added value in their inbox.
The sequence of emails you can send should have four main stages:
Teaser This is the email which is mysterious and aims to build anticipation. It can be as cryptic as you like, perhaps only offering a veiled picture and a mysterious release date.
Introduction The elevator pitch of what your product offered before and its forthcoming added value. Asserting why it's important to upgrade now.
Build-up Bringing the excitement and maintaining interest should be your main objectives at this stage. Long promised features that your audience has been dying for can be teased, leaving the potential for what this opens up for them. This is also the time to bring in some ticking clock offers, that your audience has to act fast on before the launch if they want to get themselves a killer deal.
The Finale This is when everything comes together and you can unveil the product in a visually stunning way. A call-to-action (CTA) drawing the reader in will be key. You’re now also able to expand on your key product features and their value proposition to the customer.
Evernote distills their product in the first paragraph “lose the paper and stop jumping between apps. Evernote has everything you need.”
They then demonstrate their key features in the second “super-sized uploads, amazing search, presentation tools, and lots of other great features designed to help you keep things together, in one place.”
Our one suggestion though would be that their call-to-action (CTA) lacks a real bite to convert a user to a premium tier. They could bring something more action orientated like “upgrade to premium?”, this connects with the user's thought process and lets them respond by clicking. This should of course be subject to A/B testing to gather concrete data, finding out what works best for your product.
"A call-to-action (CTA) drawing the reader in will be key"
What are best practice on Call-to-Actions (CTAs)?
But what are the best call-to-actions, the ones that will persuade people to click “buy now” at the end of the email? There is no one magic secret but certain things you should be doing.
Keep it action orientated, people want to visualize how the button will benefit them. Instead of “click here” go for “download (product name)”.
A sizeable CTA helps, but don’t go overboard and take up valuable space with it.
Go for no more than five words for a CTA, anymore and you’ll confuse your audience.
Keep the copy direct about what action will occur, once the CTA is clicked.
Testing placement is key, as this lets you know when customers want an action.
A good example is Realmac's monthly newsletter.
They start the email with a graphic outlining the release date for RapidWeaver 8, how much users have influenced the new features and they tease that more updates will be coming soon.
Also included in the newsletter is the sale on their other app Squash, they’ve kept the copy short and clear, added the relevant hyperlinks and even a ticking clock by ending with a deadline.
They’ve also incorporated the Mac App Store button into their CTA, letting their users know where they’ll be directed straight to.
They’ve kept the copy short and clear, added the relevant hyperlinks and even a ticking clock by ending with a deadline.
Fournova's' email publicizing their beta uses a few notable techniques to entice their users. This includes bolding important sections for added visibility.
They also employ other users feedback to persuade people to sign up for their next private beta. Including actual names and faces to legitimize their opinions.
It’s at this time your chosen social channels to target should be be utilized for the launch. Your strategy should be to showcase the latest features, to start by teasing them out then elaborating on what’s been updated.
One technique is to do this visually, through the power of gifs! The right gif could say more than whole thread of tweets can. It also is less hassle to open than a short video. By creating your own demos of certain features in visually-appealing way, your followers can see the impact it’ll have to their experience. These can be animated or created using a screen-recording app like Cloudapp.
Slack uses gifs to demonstrate their latest features, keeping the copy peppy and letting the image do most of the talking. You should also be prepared to answer user questions about said features and how it will affect them directly.
By creating your own demos of certain features in visually-appealing way, your followers can see the impact it’ll have to their experience.
Alongside your email campaign, Twitter is also the place to tease new announcements. Once you’ve decided on a release date, you can work back to find dates where a teaser could be released. Depending on the hunger of your followers for new knowledge, you can work to a longer period of giving cryptic clues or give more concrete details to keep people in the know.
Users were so hungry to see Framer X, that a tour was arranged to preview it to certain selected companies, doing Framer's work for them. Reactions from these previews were then collected by people not even working for Framer into a Twitter Moments collection.
It’s all about creating content that’s conversational and the people want to share. Your followers want to be informed but also entertained and see something their like-minded friends would love to see.
"Your followers want to be informed but also entertained."
Upgrading By Email
Using an email campaign to entice upgrades, you can get across a detailed but concise message over multiple emails. Our advice is to focus on features, those that they’ll gain with an upgrade, how everything’s improved and reminding them of previous upgrades and how much ground has been built from them.
There’s also the direction of being transparent about what they’ll lose if they don’t upgrade, but wording this is much more trickier. As trying to force someone to upgrade may leave them to wander over to your competition.
After that section they mention that they’re offering cross-platform (a big plus to a section of their audience!), they then transparently relate why they’re making a shift to an annual fee and the reasons behind that.
The link to buy is clearly-marked but is placed ¾ of the way down. The email first sells why you should love Tower before enticing you to make a purchase decision, whilst offering a discount code.
On top of that, they’re offering tangible merchandise like a t-shirt, to bring people further into the brand.
Upgrading Through In-app Interstitial
Another way of persuading people to upgrade is through in-app interstitials. They’re already inside the app, so isn’t it the perfect time to see if they’re ready to make use of your new version?
Your prompt can be as simple as “there’s a new version of (PRODUCT NAME) available, would you like to upgrade?” Though we think this is the perfect time to get creative. Was there a feature that was top of all of everyone’s wish-lists? Now’s the time to show off the value to them. The key is to make it as smooth as possible for them to upgrade, keeping everything on the same screen and with little effort on their part, is sure to help them convert.
Then they handily list the new features that they’ll be “impressed by” in bullet-points.
For those unsure of whether the upgrade is for them, Project Wizards give them a free 30 days trial. Which like Bjango's Marc Edwards mentioned about in our how to communicate your launch guide, he saw sales spike after the initial launch “when the trials ended”. So this can definitely aid in persuading unsure customers and giving sales a boost after the launch.
On the other-side involving free-upgrades, Findings have gone for a minimal design informing the user that they’re eligible for an upgrade. Though, the fact that it’s a free upgrade definitely influences their relaxed sell.
Customers can often altruistically refer new people to you, but how about we sweeten the deal for them by offering them a reward for doing so?
This could come in the form of a free month’s subscription or upgrading their plan, if they exceed a certain number of referrals. The people they’ve referred could also take part in the free month or be allowed special access to pro-features in their first month.
Extole is a platform you could measure your referrals through, if you prefer to lighten the work of tracking everything in-house.
Framer has its branding on-point when sending emails to people who’ve signed up to their referral waitlist. They allow users to jump up the waitlist depending on the amount of people that use their Framer X referral link. This social currency is key to Framer's appeal, people love to ascend higher up the waitlist and will happily be evangelical about a product they love.
Your Existing Customers
Now that you've seen some of the most effective ways of mobilizing your existing customers, you'll be better placed to draw them in to upgrade a product they already love.