6 Steps to Create Interactive Demos (Plus Stellar Customer Examples)
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
- Six steps with customer examples for building a successful interactive demo
What are interactive demos?
Interactive product demos provide prospects and customers with a hands-on walk-through experience of your product. They're typically made from no-code demo software and are used to improve conversions across the funnel, from the first touch in email outreach to website product demos and feature launches.
An interactive product demo lets customers and prospects understand relevant features and demonstrate how you solve their pain points.
6 steps to create an interactive demo
You can create interactive demos in-house or with software like Navattic. In most cases, using interactive demo software is preferable – in-house demos can take six months to a year to build with dedicated engineers.
No code interactive demo software allows your sales and marketing teams to build demos without needing an extensive engineering lift.
Below are the steps to create an interactive demo:
- Step 1: Choose your goal - nail down your marketing goal for the demo. For example is it to boost awareness, generate leads, or enable existing customers?
- Step 2: Decide on your audience - understand the exact persona and their use case for your product demo.
- Step 3: Pick your channels - will this go on your website, in email nurture campaigns, or be used as sales enablement?
- Step 4: Create a storyboard - plan out the features and "ah-ha moments" you want to show in your interactive demo.
- Step 5: Decide to gate vs ungate - this depends on your original goal. Do you want to gather new leads or educate more website visitors about your product?
- Step 6: Iterate on your demo - a few weeks after your demo has been launched use drop-off data and analytics to remove friction points and improve conversion rates.
Read on for an in-depth walkthrough of each step.
Step 1: Choose your goal
First, you need to nail down your marketing goal for the demo. It could be to boost awareness, generate leads, or enable existing customers who might be interested in new product lines.
Your objectives should inform your prospects’ next step and dictate your calls to action. Some common CTAs 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 its demo to encourage visitors to sign up for a free account
While CTAs typically come at the end of something, like an email or webpage, demos might have several CTAs, strategically placed throughout your demo.
Ramp, a corporate card provider and manager, does an excellent job of using multiple CTAs throughout their product tour – and even all at once.
Above, we see three CTA buttons:
- “Get Ramp - For Free”
- “Try More Tours”
- Continuous “Get Ramp - for Free” banner at the top
Following this best practice means that even prospects who don’t make it to the end of your demo still can take the action.
Step 2: Decide on your audience
Some features resonate strongly with certain customer profiles, while others fall flat. Sharing a story that resonates with a specific group is critical to creating a successful interactive software demo.
You can make a number of interactive demo versions customized to different accounts or ICPs. To give you some inspiration for who to target, consider these common segments:
- End User vs Admin: Are you selling directly to an end user or does it need 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 demo for each persona, you can clone and personalize them. The Navattic capture editor allows you to take existing captures and adjust elements, including text and appearance.
Or use the checklist feature to let the users choose their own adventure based on their use case or persona (more on checklists later).
Step 3: Pick your channels
When choosing which channel to start with, we recommend starting with your website. Website demos typically take the longest to build but are easy to clone and condense for other channels.
On average, our customers use around seven demos across all go-to-market channels, including:
Websites are by far the most common place for companies to highlight their interactive demo.
Some companies opt to embed their interactive demo on their homepage, while others link out to it via CTA or include it on product-specific pages.
Instead of static screenshots or gifs, Dooly’s interactive demo is front and center on their product pages.
Placing their demo just below the fold ensures that the leads who encounter it are already scrolling on the page, meaning they at least have some interest in the product.
Going through the demo at this point gives prospects a better understanding of all that Dooly offers and helps them visualize how the platform could streamline their pipeline.
Ramp takes a more subtle approach.
On their homepage, they have an “Explore Product” button in the upper right-hand corner that takes users directly to their interactive demo.
Rather than taking up a small space on the homepage, Ramp’s demo takes up the entire screen, making it feel more like the user is interacting with the real product – similar to a free trial.
It’s important to remember that websites are at the very top of your funnel. Therefore, creating a product demo for your website will likely be focused on maximum reach and low personalization.
Content marketing is another ideal spot to plug your product demo.
Klue, a competitive intelligence tool, takes this approach in their blog posts, particularly the ones focused on introducing new products or features.
In their blog, Introducing Triage Mode: Your Fast Track to Competitive Insights, Klue describes Triage Mode and then embeds a product demo to show how it works.
Adding a demo on a blog will also increase the amount of time a user spends on your content, sending positive signals to Google.
If your target audience is interested in your product, they’re visiting review sites like G2 and Capterra to learn more about what other people think of your product.
And screenshots, downloads, and videos only tell prospects so much.
So Zaaproved, a platform for corporate legal teams, cleverly invites users to take an interactive tour.
Strategically placing a bright orange “Product Tour” button next to the “Contact Zapproved” CTA encourages prospects to look at the interactive demo first.
That way, they come to any demo calls already having gone through the tour, saving your sales rep time from answering FAQs.
Adding interactive demos to outbound campaigns can be a great way to stand out. Rather than using lengthy text to explain your product, they can see it for themselves.
But that’s not the only email use case for interactive demos.
Sales reps can send post-demo emails to recap what they discussed on the call. Adding a product demo to that follow-up can refresh prospects’ memory and further solidify that the product meets their requirements.
You can also add interactive demos to enhance your free trial onboarding email sequences. MonitorQA, a mobile inspection software, has an intricate back-end structure, so getting people to see MonitorQA’s value in a free trial is tough without guidance.
So the team embedded a product demo in their onboarding flow, guaranteeing that users see the most notable features of MonitorQA and experience an a-ha moment.
Since implementing an interactive product demo, the number of abandoned MonitorQA trial accounts decreased dramatically.
Customer and partner enablement
Interactive demos aren’t just for prospects – they can effectively train customers and partners.
Providing informative demos can reduce the load on customer support and improve the customer or partner’s onboarding experience.
Step 4: Create a storyboard template
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 demo 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
But before you start building your interactive demo, storyboard out what features you want to show and the text to go with it. Work with your team to get approval and feedback on the demo as well.
This can be a tough process, so we provides a storyboard template to all of our customers.
Some additional tips when storyboarding:
- Keep each demo flow to 8 - 15 steps
- Break features or use cases down it up into different “flows”
- Use a combination of modals and tooltips
- Create a theme to make your demo match your product branding
- Use a checklist to organize multiple flows and give users options
Compiling flows into a checklist enables your end users to select (and restart) different flows based on their needs and interests.
Citrix, an analytics platform, uses the checklist approach:
Users who don’t necessarily want to view Cirtix’s dashboarding features can jump straight to user experience or try to build a query.
Step 5: Decide to gate vs ungate
Your decision should depend on your original goal. Did you want to gather new leads or simply inform website visitors about your product?
If your goal is lead generation-based - it makes sense to gate your interactive demo. These demos should be longer, with multiple sections structured in checklist form to make it valuable enough for someone to give their email address away.
Continue providing value by following up with prospects that provide their email. Send them additional information that can be helpful for the use case they’re trying to solve for.
The benefit of gating is that you can also send leads directly to your CRM and measure their demo engagement.
That said, if your goal is to generate awareness, you may want to ungate. This is especially true if your interactive demo leads to another CTA or is used in emails, product pages, or blog posts.
For example Dooly’s ungated example is similar to how other sites leverage gifs or screenshots on their product pages.
You can also have some gated demos and other ungated demos depending on the channel.
Step 6: Iterate based on demo data
Once your demo has been set live on your website or used in your sales cycle for a few weeks, it's time to check your analytics and make adjustments.
During our customer interview series Sydney Lawson from Athennian shared how they use analytics "to tweak their pages and tours to make sure that people are finishing the entire tour."
She also recommends checking these dropoffs on a regular cadence:
"We check on drop-off rates monthly. The great thing about Navattic is that we can easily make updates. Drop-off helps us identify if users don't care about a feature and make quick tweaks to the tour."
There are many factors that could affect demo performance, like:
Taking a hard look at your existing demos can reveal what’s working and what’s not so you can boost engagement and conversion.
Use native dropoff reporting to see where people are getting stuck. Go through that demo yourself to diagnose the problem. Maybe it needs to be shortened, or certain steps are confusing your prospects.
You could also use Analytics Dashboard to see which demos have the highest and lowest engagement and conversion rates.
To level-set, see benchmarks in our State of the Interactive Product Demo.
Interactive product demo examples
To give you some inspiration, we’ve pulled several examples of how companies are using interactive demos on their websites.
Drift, an AI-powered conversational platform that integrates chat, email, and video, and powers personalized experiences at scale throughout the customer journey.
The Drift Product tour is used as a secondary CTA on their main landing page
Gorgias, an all-in-one customer support helpdesk for ecommerce businesses, incorporates interactive demos in multiple areas of its website.
The Gorgias Product tour has its own spot in the top navigation bar.
Expanding this section reveals Gorgias’s product features and asks users to Take a Tour.
Clicking on the CTA button takes users to a full-page interactive demo highlighting the advantages of Gorgia’s centralized support ticketing system, 360-degree customer views, and automation capabilities.
Panther, a modern security information and event management system, manages to ease prospects into its product’s complex functionality with multiple interactive demos on their site.
Panther also encourages prospective customers to use their interactive demo by adding “Product Tour” as an option under the Product header of their nav bar.
Clicking this option takes users to a landing page that explains what an SIEM like Panther is for and “Launch Product Tour” shows users how the platform can help them ingest data, add more log sources, and more.
Demandbase, an ABM and sales intelligence tool, uses the Products section of its navigation bar to guide users to multiple interactive demos.
Users can choose to explore the “Smarter Go-To-Market Platform” or take other Self-Guided Product Tours.
In their self-guided product tour center, Demandbase has built customized interactive demos that show users how each part of the platform works — from data integrity to sales intelligence, to orchestration.
If you’d like to see how other B2B SaaS companies are leveraging interactive demos, check out our Customer Showcase.
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