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Effective Product Demos for the Smart Product Manager

by Shoa Tavassoli
Published on March 15, 2010

The live demo is the most ideal demo format. Unfortunately, not all early-stage clients have 30 minutes to an hour to listen to your sales leader share the glory that is your winning product. Additionally, comScore's Digital Media report reveals that reviewing online media continues to be the first step in the purchase process, so it is more important than ever to present buyers with an online product demo. Online demos present their own challenges, of course. Oftentimes it's hard to tell whether the person viewing the demo is an expert or a novice, deeply interested or just passing by, newly informed about your product or still confused. Creating a demo that appeals to all of these buyers, informs all visitors, and compels them to choose your product is why effective product managers make the big bucks.

In How to Create Marketing Demos That Sell Products there are two approaches to demos: product-centric and conceptual. Product-centric demos focus on the product, show different views of the product, and demonstrate how the product works. Conceptual demos lean towards the abstract side, appealing to emotions. Which demo approach you take depends on the product: if people are unfamiliar with the product and how it looks or works, you will need to show them through a product-centric demo. If people know what you are selling, but want to know what sets your product apart, a conceptual demo rife with client testimonials, ROI charts, and other appeals may be more appropriate.

If you are not sure whether the visitor is familiar with your product, ask them in the demo. Having the demo interact with your visitor by asking questions and showing relevant answers helps ensure you are not wasting your prospective buyer's time. It also improves your brand image by demonstrating that you care about their customer experience.

Most product managers do not have Flash developer teams at their disposal to create an interactive demo that is capable of asking questions and responding to user input. Luckily interactive media technology available today makes it easy to create interactive demos using modest means. Whether using photos of the product, video, screen captures, graphs, or slideshow presentations, it is now easier than ever to create an interactive demo. Interactive media platform providers allow users to upload media, add buttons, links and forms, and post the entire interactive presentation on their website.

Companies leveraging the interactive video demo are seeing results. One company saw over 200% increase in conversion rates from buyers who used an interactive demo to learn more about a product.

Not all product demos are created equal. Here are some important things to keep in mind when planning and creating an interactive product demo:

  • The demo should be easy-to-access. Users rarely download plugins or jump through hoops to learn about a product. Any additional hurdles to learning about a product will decrease conversion and negatively affect brand image.
  • Make the online demo short. Most users will not spend 10 minutes in one spot. Be sure to keep the demo under four minutes and let interested viewers know where they can go for more information.
  • Collect information on user clicks. Interactive demos are a great resource for learning about how site visitors research products. By collecting aggregate data on what features and benefits visitors are clicking on, it becomes easier to target your future marketing efforts.
  • Include multiple points of interactivity.In addition to providing feedback on user interests, interactivity keeps viewers engaged with the product, which improves your brand image.
  • Place a call-to-action in the demo.Online demos increase buyer motivation. Companies that place calls-to-action, such as "Register," "Contact" or "Buy" in the online demos typically see 30% improvements in conversion, often more.
  • Allow people to share the demo.In most B2B sales, several people are involved in the buying decision. Make it easy for a product champion to increase interest by providing share capabilities in the demo.

There are also experts in creating interactive product demonstrations that can provide guidance on how to optimize your product demo. Whether designing a product overview, product tutorial, customer testimonials, or any other approach to sharing product information, it may be helpful to receive input on how to demonstrate a product in a way that appeals to the different market segments.

An effective product demonstration builds buyer intent, improves brand image, and inspires browsers to buy. To learn more about how to create an effective product demo, contact me at info@hravatar.com. Or to see our very own product demo in action, visit our homepage at imo.hravatar.com.

Shoa Tavassoli is the VP of Product Management for HR Avatar (www.hravatar.com), a provider of an advanced interactive video platform featuring a unique intelligent-branching technology that marketers use to create videos that interact with viewers to uncover needs and deliver a targeted message in a true one-to-one marketing experience. She can be reached anytime at shoa@hravatar.com.

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