Product Update Emails: How to Maximize Engagement

Product managers invest a lot of time interviewing customers to come up with new features and developers might spend weeks building them. Despite all of these efforts, companies spend far less time and money marketing new features to their users. Too often, the result is a feature that fall flat, or worse, frustrate parts of your user base.

Product update emails are one of the most effective ways to promote new features. By segmenting your audience, personalizing the message and delivering it at the right time, you can catch users at the moment they’re thinking about a specific workflow and effectively demonstrate how they can benefit from a newly released feature.  

Let’s take a look at why email remains king for marketers, steps to create engaging emails, how to target specific users at the right time and automation strategies.

Product update emails are one of the most effective ways to promote new features—here’s how to write emails that maximize engagement! Share on X

Why Email Remains the King

Email marketing may seem antiquated in the world of social media, but statistics clearly show that email remains the king of marketing. More than 90% of people have email accounts and most of them check email before social media or news in the morning, according to Optin Monster. Engagement rates are also significantly higher for email versus social media.

Product Update Emails

Email vs. Social Media Engagement – Source: OptinMonster

In addition to better levels of engagement, marketing automation tools have made it easy to deliver the right messages to the right people at the right time. You can segment email lists based on everything from the type of user to their recent interactions with your application. These abilities make it possible to fine-tune messaging for maximum effectiveness.

How to Write Compelling Copy

More than half (54%) of all email is classified as spam, according to Statista, and it’s easier than ever for people to block you from their inbox. If you blast the same generic feature announcement to your entire list, you will probably see a fair amount of attrition from unsubscribes and perhaps even some spam complaints that can jeopardize deliverability.

The best way to avoid getting labeled as a spammer is sending personalized emails that provide real value to the subscriber. Of course, you should also make it easy for subscribers to opt-out of specific types of emails, such as feature announcements, if they don’t want them. It’s better to be straightforward than to hide an unsubscribe link in the fine print.

You can personalize feature announcement emails in a few steps:

  1. Define your target audience. Most companies have several different types of users that have different needs. For instance, an accounting software solution might present the same feature differently to a bookkeeper than it would to a business owner since their workflow will be affected in very different ways. You may also divide users by their interest in a feature or their level of engagement with the application.
  2. Define your goals. Are you trying to get users to use the new feature? Are you trying to get customers to upgrade to access the new feature? Are you helping users navigate a major change to a popular workflow to simply avoid frustration? Each of these goals has different requirements that translate to very different messages.
  3. Write the content. The most effective emails communicate what the feature is, why the specific customer should be interested, how to use it and where to learn more. Rather than a wall of text, you may also want to consider animated GIFs or videos to show the feature or screenshots to highlight where to find a feature.

It may be tempting to include something about the amount of effort it took to develop the feature or how it’s a milestone for your company, but in reality, most customers don’t care about the origins of a feature. The focus should be on how the feature helps them save time, become more efficient or otherwise improve their lives.

Leveraging Market Automation

Marketing automation tools have made it easy to segment an audience and send emails at the most opportune times. For example, the aforementioned accounting application might segment users into bookkeepers and business owners and send product update emails a few minutes after a user has signed into the application since it’s more likely to be top of mind.


Popular marketing automation tools include:

Of course, these powerful tools introduce endless possibilities, so it’s important to focus on creating a limited set of segments. A good starting point is three different segments that have marketing personas and tailored product update emails sent to them. Depending on the success and requirements, you can then expand to include more segments.

Automating the Process

Marketing automation tools have opened the door to new possibilities, but it comes at the cost of added complexity. For example, product managers may need to communicate what features impact what user segments with the marketing team that’s responsible for writing and sending feature announcement emails and other collateral.

Product Update Emails

Customize Release Notes with ARN – Source: Amoeboids

Automated Release Notes for Jira can help manage complexity through automation and integration. Using rules, triggers and templates, product managers can configure automatic release notes from Jira issues to keep marketing teams informed about upcoming releases. You can also use Jira attributes to indicate target users for different features.

In addition to communicating with marketing teams, Automated Release Notes for Jira can be configured to share updates with customers via in-app widgets or public release pages. It’s also possible to deliver updates in a variety of formats, from JSON to CSV. Try it free!

The Bottom Line

Product managers and developers spend a lot of time developing new features, but it’s equally important to think about how to share them with users. Product update emails are one of the most effective ways to communicate benefits in a targeted way to users, encouraging them to use features and informing them about new workflows.

Marketing automation and process automation tools are critical to realizing these benefits by enabling complex behaviors without all of the legwork.

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