50 Creative Ideas Your Marketing Team Can Use to Improve SaaS Product Adoption & Awareness

It’s Day 2 of Product Awareness Month. Today’s post is all about accelerating your marketing teams productivity with some creative new SaaS product adoption ideas. — Unbounce co-founder Oli Gardner

You don’t need a big budget or a six-week-long strategic planning session to get started with product marketing. Sure, you’ll need to do this eventually, but it shouldn’t put on hold your product adoption and awareness tasks. Educating customers and prospects about the power and utility of what you’ve worked so hard to build is easier than you think, and today I’ll show you exactly how we think about SaaS product adoption and awareness at Unbounce.

Back in 2012 we launched The Landing Page Conversion Course (LPCC for short), and as part of the rollout, I sat down and rattled off 50 quick and easy things we could do to create awareness. It took me less than ten minutes. Three years later, I started doing the same thing for our blog, grabbed Cody and Dan, and headed to a local bar to continue the session. Between the three of us, we notched it up to sixty before our first pint was done.

Getting scrappy is a great way to mobilize your team. These impromptu brainstorms not only created over 50 ideas we could implement really quickly, but it uncovered some that would become part of a larger strategic vision. Also, one of our dogs is called Scrappy, and he’s very cute.

Last week I sat down and repeated this exercise for the new products at Unbounce: popups and sticky bars. Even though my focus was our own products (you can check them out via the 3 orange buttons in the nav ^^^), the majority of this list can be applied to any business, SaaS in particular.

You can create your own list like this too

I’d encourage you to repeat this exercise, starting by yourself, and then with some team members. Encourage them to come up with crazy and ridiculous ideas, as this will help expand your minds into ideas you’d typically consider off limits. After all, setting up a stall outside a conference (not your own), handing out bacon to tired hungover attendees as they arrive in the morning, might seem bizarre, but I guarantee you’ll be the favorite sponsor of the event.

Help us out by sharing your best ideas

With the collective wisdom of all of you reading this, we should easily be able to come up with 50 or 100 more ideas, so please drop them in the comments below and if they’re awesome I’ll add them to the master list with your name/company/product listed beside them.

Below are 50 ideas you can get started on today, broken into two parts, SaaS product adoption, and SaaS product awareness.

Follow our Product Awareness Month journey by clicking here to launch a popup with a subscribe form (it uses our on-click trigger feature). << ABPM – always be product marketing.


Part One: SaaS Product Adoption Tips

Click on the ideas to show the full description and instructions.

Take a first pass at it yourself, then run a brainstorm with a shared Google doc. Take a different approach from a conventional brainstorm (where you plaster a wall with sticky notes). Instead, have everyone bring their laptop to the session. Have the team verbalize their ideas, and then enter them into the shared doc. It’ll make the process much faster.

The primary technique for content marketing is to provide educational content that helps people become better at their job – in the hopes that they will eventually end up buying your product. This is great, except for when they don’t know what your product is or why they should care.

To enhance the impact of your content, try showcasing it directly in your content. This won’t apply to every business, but if you offer any kind of website tech you can try it. If you do it right, you can create an experience that is better than the content alone.

For example click here to see a sticky bar appear at the top of the page.

I just demoed our sticky bar product by asking for your participation.

The on-click trigger is one of many options available in Unbounce, including scroll down, scroll up, entrance, exit, and timed delay.

Brainstorm ways that you might be able to show your product in the context of your content.

If your software involves building something, a great way to help with onboarding and adoption is to drive first-time evaluators into a self-guided experience within a template. That way you can show them exactly how to use the product, inside the product! #inception

Here’s the “Builder Basics” template we created for this purpose. You can use it to get the full builder experience in less than 10 minutes or less, which is perfect for showcasing initial value and improving your Time to Value (TTV) metric.

This concept allows people to try your tool without needing to already have an idea they want to build and launch. You can also use it to specifically guide people to using the features you’ve identified as having the ability to create those all-important ah ha moments.

This is something we’ve wanted to do at Unbounce for years, and it finally became a reality in December. Essentially it’s a live session inside the Unbounce builder so people can get a hands-on experience without signing up.

With an interactive sandbox experience like this, the only barrier to entry is the complexity of the product or the clarity of how you communicate its use. And because we’ll be linking to ours from tens of different campaigns and contexts, we’re using entrance popups to speak directly to the message and source that led people to the demo, as well as introduce how the demo works.

You can check out the try-before-you-buy demo here.

Entry popups are a brilliant way of scaling this idea as we can use referrer or URL or cookie targeting to show the right message to the right people.

We gave some of the top brands that use Unbounce beta access to the popups release, which was a great way to source a high-profile testimonial, like this one from Campaign Monitor.

Not everyone likes to consume content the same way. To combat this, on our demo page we offer three lengths of video: 2 mins, 10 mins, 30 mins, and live 1-on-1 sessions.

A delightful and unexpected postcard can be a lovely touch, and if people have signed up for your product or products, you’ll most likely have their mailing address. It’s important to remember that your product marketing should be focused on your customers as much as those who are prospects. Your goal here for a single product is getting dormant accounts to adopt the product. For multiple products your goal is awareness and adoption or ones that people haven’t used yet.

Something else we’ve learned is that, beyond email onboarding, those handy product tours in app can be a great way of guiding someone through new additions to a SaaS product (or otherwise). You can try out something like Appcues to add a guided tour when you go from one product to two to ensure 1) people notice something’s new, and 2) they can discover its features in a quick, interactive way.

Largely we’ve talked about awareness in this post, but product marketing needs to go beyond this, too. It’s all about who can successfully use your product, fulfilling its initial promise of value. As legendary onboarding expert Samuel Hulick advises, you need to determine all the ah-ha moments leading up to where customers find value. I.e. in a journey, what exact tasks do people need to complete before they’ll see even the smallest amount of value you advertised?

As an example, for Unbounce popups and sticky bars, we identified that for evaluators to be successful in their trial using these, they must a) build b) publish c) add the line of javascript to their site d) collect 10+ conversions. (Ten or more helps us ensure they aren’t 1-2 from simply testing the product themselves).

It’s key once you outline your product’s ah ha moments that whatever they are, they’re trackable from inside your product. This ensures you can truly measure adoption and understand where people get stuck.

Taking Sam’s advice above, when we identified our ah-ha moments to product adoption, we started tracking them, made our dashboards, and then began creating educational content designed to help people over tricky steps. You can do the same for your products, too. Either via emails, or something like a skip ahead guide for product setup, similar to the one we made:

The resource above was delivered to those who started a trial within their onboarding emails. They could skip through the progress bar of ah-ha moments or must-do tasks to see value quickly.

Part Two: SaaS Product Awareness Tips

Click on the ideas to show the full description and instructions.

Get everyone on the marketing and customer success/support team to write one letter per day for 30 days. Cap the time at 15 minutes per letter. If possible take a look at how they use your product: “I loved your landing page for the blah blah” etc. (check with your boss or legal as to whether it’s okay to mention their work – in my experience as long as you’re not making it public it’s very cool).

Here’s the product marketing kicker: don’t sell or mention the product in the letter – keep it personal and thankful – but follow your signature with a fun and made up job title that mentions the new product or feature.

For example: Oli Gardner, Chief Unbounce Sticky-Bar-with-Geo-Targeting Champion

I just mentioned the new product, and one of its features. In a delightful manner.

Bonus points if you create some content (like a custom landing page) that ranks for the keywords in that job title (and has your face on it).

Side benefit bonus: your coworkers get to rewrite their own job title every day for a month.

Ask your entire company to change their email signature to promote your new products. This can gain some exposure to different segments of potential customers. For example, your developers run in different circles than marketing, so their email conversations might connect with a different functional buyer persona. This also has the benefit of mobilizing the whole company with the same message, which is beneficial in its own right. Here’s an example email that our events manager sent to the company to help increase awareness for an event we were hosting at Hubspot’s INBOUND conference.

(Click for full-size image)

We like to have fun with our Out Of Office email autoresponders at Unbounce. Something funny or different can be a delightful way to respond to your customers and prospects when there might be a delay in responding. From a product marketing perspective, you can use this opportunity to talk about your new products or features. Try emailing me at oli@unbounce.com to see my current OOO autoresponder.

Try running a 5-second test using UsabilityHub.com to see what percentage of people can determine what your product(s) is in five seconds. Not only will you get a sense of how many can figure it out quickly, but you’ll get insights about how people might be misinterpreting your value prop. To turn this experiment into a product marketing effort, you can recruit free test participants via social media or an email list, effectively getting your product’s UVP in front of people.

If you look at the top of this page and scroll, you’ll see how the navigation bar sticks to the top (and gets slimmer to maximize the viewport). Our web developer made this. You can use a sticky bar to do something similar.

If you click here, you’ll see a sticky bar with the same content appear,

and because it was created in the Unbounce builder, a developer would never have been needed.

Note: I made it appear at the bottom because if it appeared at the top you wouldn’t really see it appear because it would be covering the header (and it looks the same).

Add a link to your Twitter bio that leads to a product landing page. Double down by asking your employees/coworkers to change their Twitter header image for a period of time. You can’t add links in the main body of the bio, but you can add one below.

With a “Did you know that we have this product/feature?” to gauge awareness and create it at the same time. Have Yes/No/Tell me more options, with a link out to a landing page or product page if they say “Tell me more” or “No”. The product marketing gold in this one is that if they say “No”, you’ve made them aware of the product by simple virtue of asking the question. BOOM.

Offer early access to your product (or a free account) to influencers in your industry. If they get value from using it, ask for some social sharing love, and ask them for a testimonial you can use as social proof on upcoming campaigns and your website. We recently released an amazing Landing Page Analyzer and asked Rand Fishkin if he’d try it out and provide a testimonial. Here’s what he sent back to me:

Brilliant.

As I mentioned above, we called our new products by an umbrella term “Convertables”, including in the Unbounce app sidebar. We’ve now removed that and replaced with “Popups & Sticky Bars”. Sometimes you gotta get out of your own way, and call a spade a flippin’ spade.

Note that this was a fairly simple interface change, but there is still a massive amount of code that our engineering team had built based on the previous hierarchy. That will remain for now as we run these experiments, but it was a substantial barrier in getting buy-in to make these changes.

Overall, if you’re not being 100% clear about the context of use in the naming of your products, don’t stick with a name because you came up with it, be prepared to pivot for the sake of both awareness and adoption.

Here are a few to get you going:

  1. Product Marketing 101 by Uberflip
  2. The Product Marketing Podcast by Josh Duncan
  3. Former Apple Sr. Director of Product Marketing Michael Gartenberg
  4. How we do Product Marketing at Trello with Jessica Webb
  5. Product Marketing is the New Content Marketing by Unbounce

    Reach out to your favourite podcasts to get on them as a guest. It helps if you have an influencer on your team. Typically, most interviewers will give you at least a small window to give your product a shout out.

    Position yourself as an expert (I’d say thought leader but that term is kinda gross), by hosting or giving big-time participation to a Twitter chat session. If one exists related to what you do, join in, and offer to co-host or just help out. If there isn’t one, just f#**** make one. Start something. It’s not that hard. If it fails, so what?! Try things. Try things all the time. You’ll become a better marketer if you try.

    You heard me. Get a plane flying over your city writing a romantic red script-style message in the sky. This tip comes courtesy of my wife Nicole, cos she’s hilarious.

    Another gem from Nicole. Clarity is the most important part of your product’s value proposition, and as you will find out if you follow my advice with a 5-second test, not everyone gets it. I can’t imagine a more fun way to get your team describing what you do. Have them all mime it, then make a video and share it with the world. I guarantee a great time, and you’ll probably also have a team more aligned on your value prop – and perhaps some ideas for a better headline.

    Wistia does a great job of this (after all they are a professional video hosting company with amazing viewer analytics, HD video delivery, and marketing tools to help understand your visitors.) << See how I did some product marketing for them there? At many conferences, you’ll see some fun and useful videos in every break where they share video production tips and some light hearted comic relief.

    This is something we tried at CTA Conf in 2017 and it was awesome. In the “Product” tent, we had a bunch of workstations set up with gamified tasks which exposed the best product features. Two of the best were:

    Drag & Drop Match

    For this challenge, we had two screens: one showing a completed landing page and the other where the Unbounce app was open and you had to replicate the completed page from jumbled components. You had to match the two pages by dragging elements, changing widths, colors and page sections.

    Lock Box

    There was a locked box with sweet sweet swag inside, and to get the combination, you had to trigger a popup or sticky bar using all of the available triggering settings: click, entrance, exit, scroll down, scroll up, and timed delay. Each one had a number on it that made up the combination for the lock.

    So good.

    We also had some quiz questions that people could answer to get more tokens. It’s a wonderful way of marketing your products while also giving people some cool swag to remind them of you often. Your swag does need to be legit, otherwise people won’t really care enough to participate.

    This is really simple and obvious, yet hardly anyone does it. Take the content you write for your blog and repurpose it in as many other formats and places as possible. For Medium write a more personal and transparent version, for LinkedIn create a shorter version and link back to the main article. Stick some slides containing visual highlights on Slideshare.

    Have you talking to the camera and/or showing the coolest features of the product – and tailor them for specific search terms. For instance, we have a feature called Dynamic Text Replacement, that allows you to pass keywords from your AdWords campaigns to your landing page, increasing the relevance and often your Quality Score too. So for that we’d want to create a video called “How to use Dynamic Text Replacement to increase AdWords Quality Score”, and another called “How to use Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) to increase AdWords Quality Score”, as that’s an industry term for the same thing. And always have a CTA at the end of the video, driving people to a landing page.

    If you have any email drip campaigns running, add a p.s. at the bottom of each email with a mention of your new product. As always, send it to a dedicated landing page if you can.

    Update your Twitter profile header image, and include a text bit.ly link (or similar). This will let you track its impact. You can see mine here.

    If you have any content or tools that are in Google Sheets you can add a Google Analytics event pixel to know how many times it’s opened and which tabs are being viewed. This could help you understand what’s drawing people’s attention.

    Here’s how to do it. Choose (and protect) a cell somewhere in your sheet(s), and paste this code into it:

    =image(googleanalytics(“UA-xxxxxxxx-1″,”Doc Name”,”Sheet Name”))

    Obviously replace the xxxxxxxx with your GA account ID, and the doc and sheet names.

    When customers are on our free plan, there is a small “Built with Unbounce” strip at the bottom of the page. Link this to your best product demo.

    Here’s what mine looks like currently. It talks directly about Product Awareness Month, and this now appears at the end of the 300 blog posts I’ve written!

    If you put on events (meetups or a conference), bring out your inner child and write & sketch cute product references on the sidewalks around the event location. Pro tip: the curb beside a crosswalk traffic light is the best spot as people have to stand and wait. It really works, after all, the “Look Right” paint that we’re all use to seeing was created because British wartime prime minister Sir Winston Churchill was visiting New York City and got smoked by a cab because he was looking the wrong way (cars drive on the left in the UK).

    If you segment your customer list by those who have adopted your product, a simple thank you card is a lovely surprise. Make sure you include a link to a landing page to ask them for feedback or a testimonial. You should always be sourcing fresh commentary to add to your marketing collateral. A bonus for this approach could be that you might get some love on social media which helps spread the word through your customer’s networks.

    On mother’s day record videos of your coworkers’ moms describing what your product does. Gold, Jerry, gold. Dads for father’s day. A robot text-to-speech audio generator for cyber Monday. Spread that golden poop on social.

    Look at Google Analytics for your top 20 highest traffic blog posts, then comb through them for opportunities to add a contextual explicit ask of the reader. Such as: “You can create a blah blah, like that blah blah in the photo, by using blah blah, click here to see it in action.” Pro tip: try to put this in the first two paragraphs, as older blog posts, even with high traffic, can often be bounce traps where people run at the slightest hint of a bygone expiry date.

    Following on from the last one, if you show an old date, many people will leave. Remove it, and some people spend their time wondering when it was published. It’s a constant dilemma for marketing teams.

    No harm in experimentation though, so throw in a single line of CSS to set the ID or class of the meta info (date etc.) to hidden. {.blogMetaEtc: display:none !important;} will most likely work.

    Replace .blogMetaEtc with the actual class or ID. Then after a week/month (depending on traffic levels), look in GA to see if the bounce rate or time on page is different.

    Note that both of those metrics can be a bit shady if it’s the only page they visit on your site, as GA can only produce a real number if you visit more than one page. But you might spot something. If you DO find that people spend more time on the “no date” version, you can focus on getting more product mentions on those posts.

    Mind blown, amiright?! Might seem basic, but how often does your team Tweet about new products or product features, or customer case studies etc.

    Probably very rarely.

    So just ask them! But don’t waste people’s time with a long-winded and generic, “Can you Tweet this?” email.

    That shit drives me bonkers, it’s total amateur hour.

    Send them a three-line email that says, “Hey team, it would really help if you could give our new product launch/feature some love on social.

    Here’s a Click-to-Tweet ready to go, and here’s one for LinkedIn.” etc. etc. for the social channels that matter for you.

    Include a p.s. “p.s. I would like to bug you to help like this once per month, so expect emails with that frequency. Thank you!” << letting them know it’s a regular thing will A) make you do it regularly, which you should be, and B) stop you from having to grovel every time you send an email like that.You can even have a consistent “Product Marketing Tweet Request #23” in the subject line. Super clear, super simple, super respectful of people’s time.

    Grab 20 people from your office and go do a dance outside the local art gallery. Choose some awesome 80s music and wear company t-shirts underneath a plain white/white/green one. Rip ‘em off and dance like tomorrow is a great day for signups.

    Captions can really increase the number of times your video is watched as many people can’t or don’t want to turn up the volume. Facebook’s Power Editor can automatically caption your videos. Give it a try, and if it’s not an accurate enough translation you can still do it manually.

    If you didn’t get a chance to read the first post in Product Awareness Month, you might not know that the blog design you’re looking at was a very rapid overhaul for this category only. It took one of our developers a days work to set up a different WordPress template that is way more product focused.

    Start by doing a Google image search for your brand, company, products, founders, and see what shows up. I guarantee you’ll see a bunch of old logos and old product screenshots, not to mention some old hair (on the founders) 😀 Find those images and update them.

    Wistia has shown that the default image on your videos is critical to optimizing for more plays. If your product marketing involves videos, then you need people to press play or what’s the point? This post has some great ideas.

    This doesn’t have to be your core product. It can be anything that you’re releasing. We launched the Landing Page Analyzer there and managed to get to the #2 spot for the day, earning us a place in the PH newsletter.

    Similar to how some ecommerce stores have a small notification appear when “Ashley from Minnesota just bought the Hawaiian Luau Shirt in Blue”, you too can share feedback from your customers and funnel this positive feedback directly onto your site via sticky bars designed to look like small push-style notifications.

    In SaaS, for example, you can use a Hotjar poll to collect 2-month onboarding feedback, and then use sticky bars to funnel a the positive feedback onto your site using the on-scroll trigger. This can help address purchase anxiety by helping current prospects see who’s already starting trials and providing terrific feedback about their onboarding experience.

    If you’ve got proper app security, it’s likely that your customers are automatically logged out after a given period, and will often see the login screen. This is a perfect opportunity to showcase your new products or even old ones that need a bit of love. This was a big learning for us, as we were only starting to use a portion of it (but look at all that space!!).

    In Unbounce, one of the buttons you push most often is to “create”. People are very used to hitting this button, making it the perfect place to add an interstitial notification.

    An interstitial is just a fancy way of saying a gateway experience that you pass through.

    Something along the lines of “Did you know that you can also create website popups and sticky bars with Unbounce?” We haven’t done this yet, but the idea came from the product team during a brainstorm.

    Personally, I think it’s genius.

    If you have a login link on your website (don’t we all?), check Google Analytics to see how many people are clicking on it. It’s very common behaviour for people to come to your homepage every time they want to log in, which in and of itself is critical info as you should be filtering it from your website traffic.

    Like the in-app “Create” button, this is a brilliant way to present an interstitial popup to tell returning customers about your latest and greatest, with a simple button to continue on their way.


    Phewf! That was a lot of tips. I hope they help you get more people seeing and using your products. Let’s open this puppy up!

    — Cheers

    Oli Gardner

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