5 steps to storyboard your product demo

Create compelling product demos that get people excited

Pierre Touzeau

The way you present your prototype can make or break your next launch.

When we started working on Claap and after the initial phase of user research and problem definition, we had a precise idea of the product we wanted to build.

We knew that it would take us at least 6 months to get to this first “minimum lovable product”. But we wanted to get feedback from potential users on the workflow and features they loved the most. So we decided to build a product prototype and a demo so people could discover the product.

The result was outstanding. This video helped us get 3000+ people excited about a product we didn’t have yet and was key to raise our $3M pre-seed round. Plus we had a first market validation that Claap would actually be useful for people.

So I wanted to share 5 things we did that helped us build it.

1. Pick one use case that resonates best with your value prop

To demo the product, we picked an example that leads to many meetings, with loads of back-and-forths. Robin and I came from product and marketing so we chose one we had experienced: a website revamp. We added the “bloody” in the title to make it sound even more painful 💉🩸

We didn’t know our target audience yet so it was important to speak to a large audience. This use case speaks to a variety of people from designers to product, customer success, or sales. It was a great pick that resonated with a large audience.

2. Set the scene so people feel the pain as much as you do

The goal of a demo is to show how your product gets people from one state — “hell” — to a brighter one: "the promised land". To reinforce this feeling, it is important to describe the initial state.

In our case, we described this state in 2 steps:

  • First step: introduce the story “The Bloody Website Revamp” and why it's a nightmare. It’s important to introduce an unresolved issue that creates tension between the way we’d like it to be (shipping a new website should be easy as it’s not technically complex) and the way it is (too much time spent in endless meetings to align too many people)
  • Second step: we describe the scene by introducing the characters in the room. Alix the designer. Rosita the developer. Tom the product manager. And Martha the marketing manager. The goal here is that people identify themselves with one of the characters. Or at least that they recognize some familiar faces. This scene is a starting point to introduce how those characters achieve the same mission — build a new website — but with much less effort than today.

3. Write the journey

To reach the promised land, each character has a role to play. They have different goals they need to achieve and some obstacles to overcome.

Write the goals each persona needs to reach to structure your demo.

In our case, it gives the following structure:

  • Part 1: Alix the product designer wants to share her work and collect feedback quickly
  • Part 2: Martha the marketing manager wants to make sure she can give feedback on the design and copy
  • Part 3: Tom the product manager wants to align everyone, get to decisions and execute on deadlines

4. Highlight the killer feature for each persona

To make your story compelling, the different characters need to face some obstacles. Those obstacles represent opportunities to showcase the killer features of your product.

In our case, we wanted to highlight the following obstacles and key features

Alix, product designer

  • Obstacle 1: it’s hard to provide enough context async ⇒ Feature 1: share a quick video recording of your screen
  • Obstacle 2: it’s hard to get feedback from people. They watch your video but don’t answer. ⇒ Feature 2: highlight when and where you expect feedback from people

Martha, marketing manager

  • Obstacle 1: videos are long & unstructured ⇒ Feature 1: comments & sections make it easy to quickly scan the video
  • Obstacle 2: it’s usually hard to share precise feedback async ⇒ Feature 2: comment on any specific zone of the video as if you were pointing at it with your fingers

Tom, product manager

  • Obstacle 1: it’s hard to make people read the material when not in the same room ⇒ Feature 1: check if key stakeholders have watched the video and send reminders otherwise
  • Obstacle 2: it’s hard to discuss feedback & make decisions ⇒ Feature 2: align with your teammates in threads and turn feedback into decisions

5. Wrap up

Ok now that you’ve reached the end of the story, it’s time to wrap up. You need to reach that promised land and draw conclusions.

In our case, we’re doing that in 2 steps:

  1. We show how each character has reached their goal. Like Alix with quick feedback and decisions without meetings.
  2. We show a before-after recap to show the change of state, from "hell" to the "promised land".

Voilà!

Even today, we build a demo 3 times a year to imagine what Claap could look like in a year. We then share it with our users to get feedback.

Here’s the one we released a couple of weeks ago 👇

Feel free to leave your feedback! Hope you'll like it 😊