In an ideal world, creating a solid product would be enough to drive sales, convert customers and push your business forward. But in the real world, a great product isn't enough.
Unless potential users understand what your product does, how it can make their life simpler, and the nitty-gritty of its usage, they will not buy it.
Enter product education - an ongoing process of communicating the values and benefits of your product that extends far beyond just creating user manuals.
This article will tell you all you need to know about educating your customers about your product, from benefits and key elements to challenges and implementation tools.
What is product education?
Product education is the practice of educating users about your product’s uses and ensuring that they understand your product’s benefits to help them achieve their goals and overcome challenges.
It aims to educate and train existing customers about engaging with your business products and services to leverage their benefits and boost customer experience.
An effective product education strategy helps bridge the gap between product marketing and customer satisfaction in different ways — which we discuss further in the article.
Before getting into the elements of a product education process and tools to educate your customers about your products, let’s see how they can benefit your end users.
What is the importance of product education?
Well-managed and efficient product education benefits both businesses and users.
Ninety percent of organizations working on customer product education see positive RoI on their initiatives. Here are some top benefits of focusing on product education:
Increases customer satisfaction
When customers understand how to use your products to achieve what they want—it significantly improves customer satisfaction. Thanks to effective product education, their satisfaction level soars when they don’t encounter consistent issues while using your products and services.
Boosts customer engagement
The more value your products offer your customers, the more they enjoy and engage with your brand. This improved engagement results in customer retention and positive word-of-mouth—boosting conversion rates and organic traffic to your website.
Improves customer retention
Satisfied customers are less likely to hunt for alternatives when your products meet all their needs and requirements—resulting in less customer churn. Even a five percent growth in customer retention can increase your organisation’s revenue by 25-95 percent.
Results in revenue growth
Increased customer retention and adoption ultimately result in increased profits and revenue. Besides, it also reduces customer support costs by training customers about using your products effectively using good product education as support teams have less number of queries and support tickets to deal with.
Product education challenges that can impact the customer learning experience
While product education has many benefits, it's not a piece of cake. There are some things you need to consider while creating a product education strategy, and if not done correctly, it can do more harm than good, especially for your brand image.
Let's look at some product education challenges:
Pivoting between multiple platforms
Initially, brochures and product kits were the go-to product education tools; however, given the number of content channels today, you can leverage multiple platforms, from videos to live webinars, to spread awareness around your product and educate potential and existing users.
However, the drawback here is that distributing user manuals and product training material across these platforms increases content silos, making it challenging to find the right content at the right time. Hence, ensuring your customers can access the right content at the right time is essential.
Ignoring customers' expectations
Creating generic product education material is one of the biggest mistakes organisations make. Vague content that doesn't address what the customer needs to hear or the issues they might face in understanding or using the product fails the entire purpose of educating your customers.
So, it's important to conduct customer research, understand potential roadblocks in learning, and cater to their needs and questions in the right way through a relevant mode of communication that'll be accessible and understandable for them.
Irrelevant product education experiences
Modern customers expect hyper-personalized product and service experiences, from choosing the features they want to leverage to how much they wish to pay for your services. This is why many businesses post information in blogs, how-to documentation, and video tutorials.
However, this information overload can impede your customer experience. For instance, a new customer won’t be interested in knowing your product’s premium features immediately. Instead, they would want to get familiar with the basic features first and get used to the product before they think further. At this point, introducing them to the right content is essential to provide a great customer experience and ensure your product education efforts serve the right purpose.
Essential elements of an effective product education strategy
You can't just create user guides and manuals in the name of product education and call it a day. It's important to leverage all elements to build a solid product education strategy that aligns with your users' needs. Let's look at some of these:
If you develop and sell SaaS, in-app guidance should be a non-negotiable in your customer support journey.
In-app guidance facilitates user onboarding to SaaS applications—providing a better user experience and driving end-user engagement, application usage, and adoption rates. It’s the best replacement for traditional phone conversations, in-person customer product training sessions, and email communications and offers quick and timely in-application assistance.
A few in-app tools you can try are modals, tooltips, driven actions, and slideouts.
Eighty-one percent of customers prefer to handle their queries themselves before reaching out to a customer representative because spending time on calls is highly time-consuming. This way, they can find immediate answers to their problems. Hence, ensuring your customers can quickly access help and product information is crucial to ensure high customer satisfaction.
Personalzsation is the key when creating product education material to offer the right content to people in specialist roles and industries. Not all your users have similar needs or doubts. Thus it's important to zero down on your target audience and personalise your material for the best results.
You can create different product education paths to streamline product experience for users. A good example is asking them whether they need the product for themselves or the entire team.
Specialized user onboarding software (Scribe)
While it may be tempting to develop tools that offer the features mentioned above — the entire process is time-consuming and comes with high production and development costs.
Hence, the best solution is dedicated user-onboarding software that automatically generates step-by-step processes and builds onboarding guides to improve customer experience.
Scribe lets you create easy and fast processes for personal and work use to boost user experience. We’ll learn more about the tool in the later sections.
When to develop product education: understanding the customer journey
Product education takes place at every point of the customer journey. Although this may sound tedious, once you realise where your users lie and how aware they are of your product, it will become easier for you to curate the material and target them.
Here are the different customer journey stages:
The first stage is awareness, when customers first become aware of your products before using them.
At this stage, your business’s marketing strategy should play a key role in educating the customers about your product’s features, benefits, and value proposition. It’s essential to market your products in such a way that help meet the target audience’s expectations and triggers them to try them themselves.
The second stage is the sales or conversion stage, where you can convert interested users into new and returning customers.
Offering free trial packages of your services or applications is essential at this stage for users to try specific features and understand their use and benefits while also making them aware of premium features they don’t have access to yet. A great tool to educate them at this stage is a product walkthrough that visually engages them and stirs further interest in your product.
Once the conversion happens, it's important to onboard them the right way to ensure they have all the information they need to start using your tool correctly and reap the benefits from day one.
Your onboarding product education should avoid information and overload and focus on conveying the core product features through a tool like customer training guides, so they can gain some initial understanding, and get a nudge to explore other features independently.
Once customers get acquainted with your product features and functionality, you can push them to engage more with your product and explore more advanced features. At this point, retaining them with excellent in-product design and communications, along with a tool like contextualised tooltips (more on this later), should be a focal point so they continue using your product even after it's resolved their primary purpose.
Who are the product educators?
While effective product education isn’t just the responsibility of a single team but the entire company, different teams may take the lead and involvement depending on the customer’s journey.
Here are some business teams that can act as product educators in the product education journey.
- Marketing team: The marketing team is involved in the first stage of raising awareness—responsible for developing advertising and campaigns to educate prospective customers of your product’s value.
- Sales team: The sales team boosts customer retention to drive recurring revenue post-sale by introducing customers to new features based on their needs and feedback.
- Product team: The product team is involved at every stage of your customer and product education journey—from developing product education to strategising the go-to-market (GTM) vision to attract prospects and convert them into customers.
- Customer success team: This team is more involved in the customer onboarding and expansion stages to ensure new customers get the right product education and upsell more services—preventing product churn.
Now that we’ve seen the importance, challenges, key elements, and educators of product education, let’s get into the different tools you can use for product education.
Effective tools to spread product education
You can leverage several efficient product education techniques to educate customers about your products. Here are a few examples.
Interactive product walkthrough videos
An interactive product walkthrough is the best form of product education for users and GenZ customers who love video content.
According to research, 96 percent of customers have watched an explainer video to learn about a brand’s product or service. And 72 percent of customers prefer learning about a product or service with the help of videos.
Thus, leveraging video for product education will help you engage your customers and educate them in an interactive manner. Using the Scribe screen capture tool, you can record your screen to instantly create a written step-by-step guide, leading users through your web-based processes and applications.
Here's a Scribe in action.
These interactive walkthroughs make it easier for users to get an insight into your product’s key features and interact with them to achieve their goals and derive value.
Incorporating gamification, progressive disclosure, and audio guidance within your product design and education are great ways to boost product awareness and customer engagement.
Gamification in product education helps cultivate learning, increase community participation, and increase interest—motivating them to achieve specific objectives or solve problems through product features.
Here are a few more benefits of gamification in product learning:
- Makes customer onboarding and product engagement more fun and engaging.
- Speeds up the product’s time-to-value, allowing customers to achieve learning goals through gamified learning paths.
- Improves and adds more value to the learning experience by giving customers constructive and role-centric real-time feedback and making upskilling more valuable.
- Makes new product updates or releases more fun and promotes lifelong product engagement.
Thus, gamification helps improve the way customers consume product education.
Tooltips are powerful product education tools that attract customers’ attention and inform them about new or updated product features.
Most of your customers won’t discover or explore new features on their own because of being habitual in using the same features every time to do their work. That’s why it’s essential to use tooltips to lead your users and encourage them to try relevant features to make their tasks easier.
Here’s an example of how Airtable uses contextual tooltips to avoid overloading users with a lot of data and information during their initial onboarding process.
You can use tooltips for onboarding, new feature announcements, or to boost product engagement.
While well-written content can communicate product value to customers, an engaging 20-30 minute webinar can be even more effective in educating and retaining them. Interestingly, 15 percent of webinar attendees are likely to purchase the product or service, and two to five percent of attendees are likely to make the purchase right after attending the webinar.
Add an interactive Q&A to a generic product education webinar, and you can allow customers to gain more value from your products.
This is also an excellent way to understand your user needs better and build strong and meaningful connections that help boost retention.
Drift is a great example of a brand leveraging the power of webinars to establish thought leadership.
They conduct regular webinars to educate new and existing customers about their products, the latest trends, and the best B2B SaaS practices.
How to measure product education success?
Measuring your product education’s success is essential to improve its effectiveness. It also gives you crucial data and insights to analyse the customer’s learning pathway and make proper modifications to offer better training and education.
The lack of continuous evaluation and KPIs can reduce the overall effectiveness of your product education. We don't want that, so here are some key metrics to measure your product education’s success and ensure it reaps the desired business results:
- User Engagement: The more value and benefits your products offer your customers, the more it boosts customer satisfaction and engagement rates— resulting in a higher retention rate.
- Feature usage: The fact that users not only use your core features but also engage with and explore other advanced features is a sign of effective product education.
- Retention: Satisfied and well-educated customers rarely look elsewhere or move to your competitors when they can quickly achieve their goals with your products.
- Low churn: Product churn happens when customers stop using your products because they find them less valuable to satisfy their expectations. Setting the right expectations early in the customer journey and catering to their needs helps ensure lower product churn.
- Customer lifetime value: One key product education success metric is higher Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) and lower Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) to drive business growth and profits in the long run.
Focusing on product education can pay dividends for your customer conversion and retention for years to come. Not just this, it can also act as a differentiator when potential users compare alternatives before converting into a customer, allowing you to stand out. So, use this article to create a product education strategy, open new doors for driving customers, and grow your business further.
Whether you want to onboard new hires, train customers and teammates, or create process documentation, use Scribe and its excellent features to streamline product education for your business. Get started for free!