When prospects can't try your software product hands-on, an interactive demo is the next best thing. An interactive demo allows viewers to explore your product on their own terms through an engaging visual experience. With the right interactive elements and flow, you can create a demo that informs, delights, and converts.
What is an Interactive Product Demo?
An interactive product demo is a visual walkthrough of your software that allows prospects to explore features and functionality on their own. It incorporates interactive elements like buttons, sliders and drop downs that enable self-guided exploration. Interactive demos are typically created using dedicated interactive demo software.
Why Interactive Demos Are So Effective
Interactive product demos are extremely effective for several reasons:
They allow prospects to explore at their own pace and focus on what interests them. Rather than following a linear video or slideshow, viewers can navigate the demo freely and spend more time on relevant features. This self-guided experience feels customized to their needs and priorities.
They feel like an interactive product experience, not a sales pitch. An engaging, explorable demo gives viewers a sense of using your actual software, not just watching a promotional video. This helps build trust in your product and company.
They show exactly how your product works. An interactive demo brings your product to life by demonstrating key features and user flows in an interactive format. Viewers get a transparent look at your software in action, with the opportunity to explore different use cases and possibilities.
For all these reasons, interactive demos are extremely compelling and help generate high-quality leads. They showcase your product in a way that inspires action and drives conversions.
Choose Your Goals and Audience
The first step in creating an effective interactive demo is determining your goals and target audience. Ask yourself:
What is the goal of your demo? Is it to educate viewers about your product, generate leads, or drive sales? The goal will shape how interactive and sales-focused you make the demo.
Who is your target audience? Identify the needs, technical skills, and role of your ideal viewers. Tailor the content and interactive elements in your demo to best resonate with your target audience. For example, a demo for technical product users would differ from one for executive decision-makers.
With your goals and audience defined, you can craft an interactive demo experience optimized to achieve key outcomes and engage your target viewers. All the other steps will build upon the foundation of understanding why you're creating the demo and who will be using it.
Pick the Right Interactive Demo Tool
The interactive demo software you choose will significantly impact how easy or difficult it is to build your demo. Compare options based on:
Ease of use: Some tools require coding skills, while others use a simple drag and drop interface. Choose a platform with an interface you can navigate confidently.
Customization: Look for a tool that offers options to fully brand the demo, change themes, and add your own interactive elements as needed. More customization flexibility results in a polished, professional demo.
Analytics: The ability to track viewer engagement, see which parts of the demo are most popular, and capture lead information is extremely useful. Choose a tool with robust analytics and lead forms.
Pricing: Interactive demo software ranges from free open-source tools to enterprise-level solutions. Compare pricing models to find an option that fits your budget. Some offer free trials so you can experience the tool before committing.
Create a Storyboard and Flow
Once you've selected your interactive demo tool, it's time to map out the content and user flow for your demo. Start by creating a storyboard that outlines:
The key features and functionality you want to highlight: Focus on what makes your product unique and the main benefits to users. Keep the scope limited to avoid an overwhelming demo experience.
The optimal path(s) through the demo: Map out how viewers should navigate between features for the best experience. Consider single path vs. multi-path options. Provide clear calls-to-action to guide viewers through the flow(s).
Any custom interactive elements you want to include: Determine where buttons, hotspots, sliders, or other interactive elements would enhance the experience. But don't overdo it—too many interactive components can distract from the overall flow and message.
A storyboard helps ensure your demo has a clear focus and optimized path for viewers. It's a blueprint to build the demo from while allowing for flexibility as you start capturing screens and adding interactive elements. Refer back to your defined goals and audience needs to make storyboarding decisions that will achieve the key outcomes you want from your interactive demo.
With your storyboard in hand, you're ready to start building out your interactive demo using the software tool you chose. Follow your storyboard as a guide while also letting creativity flow—some of the best ideas may come to you spontaneously during the creation process! The key is to craft a demo experience that is focused yet explorable, guided yet open, tailored yet flexible enough to appeal to a range of viewers.
Decide Whether to Gate Your Demo
An important decision to make is whether you want to gate access to your interactive demo or make it freely available to anyone. There are pros and cons to each option:
Gated demo: Viewers must fill out a form to access the demo. Pros: You capture lead information and can follow up with viewers. Cons: Fewer people may access the demo due to the extra step.
Ungated demo: Open access, no form required. Pros: Reaches more viewers and expands brand visibility. Cons: You get little or no lead information from viewers.
The best approach depends on your goals and offer. If lead generation is a top priority, gating your demo is probably your best option. If educating viewers and increasing traffic are main goals, an ungated demo may be better.
You could also consider a hybrid approach where part of your demo is ungated but full access to the interactive experience requires a form fill. For example, allow open access to an intro section highlighting key features and benefits, then gate the actual interactive product walkthrough. This captures leads from the most engaged viewers while also increasing initial visibility.
Whatever option you choose, be sure to make the lead capture form as minimal and non-invasive as possible. Keep the number of fields low and avoid anything that seems overly salesy. The goal is to provide value with your interactive demo and build goodwill, then unobtrusively collect lead information from interested viewers. An optimal balance of reach and lead generation is key.
Capture Your Screen and Add Interactive Elements
Now comes the fun part—building your interactive demo! Follow these steps:
Record full replica of your product walkthrough: Use a browser extension to capture video of yourself navigating through your product. Keep the recording around 2 to 3 minutes in length. Explain each feature and how it benefits users.
Place interactive elements on strategic parts of the video: Add buttons, hotspots, sliders, and dropdowns on key features or calls-to-action you want to highlight. Keep interactive components clean and minimal. Too many can overwhelm viewers.
Include annotations and callouts: Use text, arrows, and highlights to draw attention to and explain important parts of the screen. Callouts provide context to help viewers understand what they're seeing.
Test the interactive elements: Ensure all interactive components are working properly and linked to the correct parts of the video or additional info. Get feedback from others to identify any issues with the user experience.
Review and finalize: Watch your interactive demo from start to finish to check for any needed changes. Make final tweaks to the content, interactive elements, or annotations before launching your demo.
With an engaging story, strategic interactive elements, and helpful callouts, you'll create an interactive demo experience that educates and delights your viewers. Be sure to keep refining and improving your demo over time based on viewer feedback and engagement. An interactive demo is never "done"—it's an ongoing process of optimizing the experience and adapting to changes with your product.
Review Analytics and Optimize
The key to an effective interactive demo is continuous optimization. Review the analytics provided by your interactive demo tool to see:
Viewer engagement: See which parts of your demo viewers are exploring and how long they're engaging with the experience. Look for any areas with low engagement and make improvements to those sections.
Lead conversion: If your demo is gated, check your lead conversion rate. A low conversion rate means viewers are not completing the lead form. You may need to streamline the form or provide more value before asking for lead information.
Traffic sources: See which promotional channels are driving the most traffic to your demo. Shift your efforts to the sources providing the best results. Look for any new channels you can tap into to expand your reach.
Make changes to your interactive demo based on the insights you gain from analytics. Some options for optimizing and improving your demo include:
Revising or re-recording parts of the video to be more engaging. Adding or modifying interactive elements and callouts. Improving the lead capture form and process. Updating screenshots and demo content to match any changes made to your product. Strengthening the calls-to-action to encourage viewers to take the next step.
An interactive demo is a living asset that needs to be continuously optimized and updated. Viewer behavior and feedback, product changes, and shifts in the market can all influence how well your demo is performing. Make it a habit to check in on your demo's analytics at least once a month and make any needed optimizations to ensure maximum impact.
With regular optimization and promotion, your interactive product demo can be a powerful tool for educating prospects, generating high-quality leads, and driving new customer acquisition. Follow the steps in this guide to create an interactive demo experience that delights viewers and delivers real business results. Showcasing your product in an engaging, interactive way builds trust and inspires action.
In conclusion, an interactive product demo is one of the most compelling ways to showcase what your software can do for customers. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can build an interactive demo experience that achieves your key goals, whether educating viewers, capturing leads, or driving sales.
Start by determining your audience and objectives, choose an interactive demo tool, create a storyboard, decide whether to gate access, build your demo, promote it, and continuously optimize based on analytics. With an engaging and well-crafted interactive demo, you'll be able to provide prospects with an interactive experience of your product's value and capture the interest of more high-quality leads. Your interactive demo can become a vital part of your lead generation and sales strategy, so take the time to do it right. Turn prospects into customers with the power of interactive demo experiences.