On-Going Marketing of Tech Products
I've recently stumbled across and old friend - high-tech instructional writing. I've been writing a user manual for an addition to an online software platform. As I've been putting this together, I have started to wonder why marketing isn't more involved in the creation of user manuals. I don't mean that marketing should take over and write every chapter like an advertisement. But the user manual can be a powerful marketing tool when properly constructed.
Luckily the client I'm doing this project for sees the marketing potential of a good user manual and a follow-up user cookbook for their system. They realize that when customers understand and use their new features they will be further delighted with the product and more likely to recommend it to a freind.
The user manual is a tool to help drive viral marketing. It needs to be written in a way that entices the user to try labor-saving tools and employ money-generating processes.
Of course a user manual needs to be easily accessible and accurate and properly redundant, but that doesn't mean it needs to bore the reader. the user manual is a time to empower the user and provide them with a vision of all they can do now that they have this software or that widget.
Instructional writers also need to understand that people learn best when they are emotionally involved in what they are learning. Nothing taps our emotional core like stories. Step by step instructions are vital, but helping the user retain them by telling a pre- or post-story about how somebody succeeded, is equally important. In fact, some people can't learn without the context of a story. you can give them information all day long, but none of it sticks until it's put in the context of a story.
Unleash the poer of user manuals in your business. Give knowledge. Give value.