5 Keys to Building Interactive Product Demos That Convert

Neil Mclean
January 03, 2022

Recently, software companies have been adopting interactive product demos as part of a shift toward product-led growth.

It’s not hard to understand why. Interactive product demonstrations allow prospects and customers alike to experience a product hands-on, without needing extensive integrations or set up.

In this blog article, we’ll cover:

  • What interactive product demos are and how they differ from other options
  • Five tips for building a successful interactive demo

What are interactive demos?

Interactive product demos provide prospective customers with a hands-on walk-through experience of the product during the sales and marketing process.

They meet the customer’s desire to experience the product first-hand, while also allowing you to create a guided tour that showcases relevant features and demonstrate how you solve customer’s pain points.

Of course, there are other options for getting your product in front of customers, including video demos and free trials.

But interactive product demos have benefits that make them stand out:

  • Easy to set up: No code options make creating a product demo simple—and eliminate the risk of prospects encountering bugs
  • Quick to make: Bypass lengthy production of live demos or product videos
  • Customizable: Create the perfect demo targeted at specific verticals or target customers
  • Broad application: While interactive product demos are typically thought of as part of the sales and marketing process, the ability to easily create new templates means you can also use them for onboarding or highlighting new features to existing customers.

An interactive product tour gives customers the information they need and the confidence to make a purchase.

5 keys to creating interactive product demos

While creating interactive software demos is easy, it’s still important to carefully plan your product demo to ensure success.

Step one is to find the right software to help you build your demo. An interactive demo builder is helpful because it allows your sales and marketing teams to build demos without needing an extensive engineering lift.

Here are some other key considerations for building the best product demo:

1. What is your desired action for the visitor of your demo?

Every product demo should aim to inspire prospects to take “the next step” in your marketing and sales sequence. In order to craft a compelling demo, you need to understand what that call-to-action is.

Some common calls to action include:

  • Request a demo: Real estate software company Ocusell walks visitors through a demo of their software before prompting them to request a full demo
  • Start trial: Data connector company Fivetran prompts visitors to sign up for a 14-day free trial—a CTA they include at multiple points throughout the demo
  • Sign up for free account: Security testing software ShiftLeft operates a freemium model, and uses their demo to encourage visitors to sign up for a free account

Typically, we think of CTAs as happening at the end of a demo.

But it can also be more effective to include CTAs at multiple points throughout your tour, as both Fivetran and ShiftLeft do.

Or you can run a CTA banner throughout your demo, as corporate card and manager Ramp does. Following this best practice means that even prospects who don’t make it to the end of your demo still have the ability to take the action.

2. Where would you like to distribute your demo?

For your product demo to convert, it’s important to think through how you will be using the demo. This will help you to shape the content more effectively.

A product demo can be used by multiple teams for varying functions, including by sales, marketing, and customer success, throughout the customer lifecycle.

In fact, product tours can be used at every stage of the sales funnel, in a variety of ways.

Top of funnel

At the top of the funnel, your goal is to increase awareness of your product. Your marketing team will use your product demo to create excitement about your product.

If you are creating a product tour for the top of your funnel, you will be creating content focused on maximum reach and low personalization.

Campaigns for the top of your funnel might include:

  • Outbound email marketing: Use a product tour to engage cold prospects and stand out from the crowd and offer an immediate chance to get hands-on experience of the product.

  • Google Ads: At Navattic, we include “see Navattic for yourself” as a sitelink on our ads. We’ve seen a 10-12% click-through rate on these ads, compared to the industry average of 1.9%.

Navattic sitelinks

Other top-of-funnel approaches include social media ads (e.g. LinkedIn, Facebook), and using a product tour as the call-to-action in your content marketing.

Middle of funnel

Once a prospect has moved to mid-funnel, they’re aware of your product and interested. The goal now is to convert.

At this stage, your marketing team will likely want to use a product tour that is intended for a moderate sized audience and therefore contain moderate personalization.

In the middle of the funnel, you may create product tours for the following:

  • Retargeting campaigns: Connect with warm prospects (e.g. visitors who have returned to your page multiple times) by sharing a more personalized product tour with them. For example, you might share a product tour that is explicitly targeted at their industry vertical.

  • Embedding directly on a webpage: This gives interested visitors a chance to get excited about how your product can solve their problems, and help qualify your leads (shortening the sales cycle). Citrix uses an interactive demo to highlight the key features of their Analytics for Performance product. At the end of the tour, users are prompted to “speak to an expert.”

Citrix Product Tour

  • Social media posts. Engage with prospects who are already following your social media presence and encourage them to learn more about your product. Front used this social media post to reiterate the key benefits of their product and encourage users to try out their demo.

Front Social Post

Bottom of funnel

The bottom of the funnel is the “decision” stage of the sales process. This is when your team aims to close the sale and onboard a new customer. This is the time for a highly personalized but low reach approach.

Strategies at this stage might include:

  • Creating an internal demo: Equip your sales/account executives with the ability to build custom, internal demos for warm leads.

  • Developing a post-demo leave behind: Rather than sending the recording of your demo call or a one-pager, follow-up with a customized product demo. Enable your champion to easily share your product with decision makers.

As we noted above, product demos don’t need to be limited to your sales pipeline.

You can also nurture existing clients using your product tours. Your customer success team can create engaging interactive onboarding demos and share new product features through hands-on tours with existing users.

Here at Navattic, we use our own product tour to walk new users through a sampling of our features, like capture collection, flows and checklists.

Whatever distribution channel you’re using, being clear on the use case for your demo can help you get your content right.

3. What persona do you want to target?

Showcasing the right demo for the right persona is critical.

Some features resonate strongly with certain persona groups, while others fall flat. Sharing a story that resonates with a targeted user-group is critical to creating a successful interactive software demo.

Here are some common segments:

  • End User vs Admin: Are you selling directly to an end user or is your SaaS platform intended to be configured and managed by a set of power users or admins? Admins will want to see how they can configure your product to make it relevant for their general user groups, while end users are more likely to be interested in use cases specific to their role/need.

  • Verticalized Demos: Identify which vertical your interactive demo is targeting. Is it more impactful to show a different dashboard/story to customers in the finance space versus those in manufacturing?

  • Department/Function: Many platforms have groups across the organization that get value from SaaS platforms, yet their use cases are quite disparate.

Instead of creating new tours for each persona, our capture editor allows you to take existing captures and adjust elements including text and appearance.

4. What are the features that best showcase your product?

When planning the click path for your interactive product demo, think through the 2-4 “ah-ha moments” that are unique to your platform and offering.

Try to incorporate these high value moments into the tour to illustrate how your product stands out from the competition.

How do you know what your “a-ha moments” are?

Product Led defines “a-ha moments” as the moment when a user:

  • Understands exactly how the product will help them
  • Experiences the core value of the product
  • Achieves something quickly that would have taken them hours in their old workflow

If you’re not certain what your “a-ha moments” are, Product Led suggests taking the following steps:

  • Talk to your users, including both power users and those who have dropped your platform
  • Look for patterns (e.g. value metrics, customer behaviour, friction points)
  • Shortlist and test potential behaviors

Here are some examples of how “ah-ha” moments can be integrated into your software product demo:

  • One of Ocusell’s core benefits is its seamless integration with MLS, making it easy for realtors to build listings that are compliant with regulations. Other “a-ha moments” included in the Ocusell tour is the marketplace (where realtors can find available photographers/ contractors etc) and the auto-generated custom property site, available for every listing.

Ocusell Product Tour

  • The “a-ha moment” for Pitney Bowes’ SendPro Online is the length of the demo itself. Pitney Bowes already promises discounts of up to 76% on shipping with UPS—but the demo shows users how easy it is to access these savings. Over just four screens the user can find the cheapest rate available and be ready to print their shipping label.

Pitney Bowes Product Tour

5. What length shows users the power of your platform while keeping their attention span in mind?

Prospects looking to explore a product tour hosted on your website want to see the value of your solution, immediately. Excess detail, screen navigation, and context can slow down your time to value.

A great demo keeps prospects engaged throughout and builds their excitement about your platform’s capabilities.

The key is to hold your users’ attention long enough that they reach your CTA and make your demo convincing enough that prospects are excited to book a custom demo/ download your free trial etc.

One way to hold your prospects’ attention is to use checklists. Checklists allow you to guide users through multiple flows which they can access from a single list.

By compiling these different flows into a single checklist, you enable prospects to choose (and restart) different flows based on their interest—meaning they won’t get stuck in sections of the tour that are less relevant to them.

Citrix has a great example of checklists in action:

Citrix Checklist

The checklist allows users to move independently through the tour, while also letting users know what percentage of the tour they have already completed. It’s also possible to easily go back and look again at areas that are of the most interest.

There can be lots to think about when it comes to creating the best product demos.

While it may feel overwhelming, with the right tool it doesn’t have to be complex. And because interactive product demos are less time consuming and expensive to create than other product-led options (such as videos or live demos), if you find your product tour isn’t working in the way you want, it’s easy to pivot and adjust your tour.

See an interactive demo of your product.Request a free demo build from our team.