I have already asked this question on stackoverflow and was sent over here. I've read Discovering new features but I thought that I should ask anyway.
We have released a beta version of our software, and as we talked to people who started using it, we have found that features (which we thought were essential) were not known and not used by the users.
To be more specific, it is a desktop application that has three main functions: query the data, feed the data to external programs, and generate reports. In addition to that, it is possible to save queries and commands for later reuse. It seems that the users are not aware of the "feed data to external programs" function or don't know how to use it, even though it occupies a considerable part of the main application screen. The "save and reuse queries" function is not that obvious (although there are buttons on the main screen that trigger it)
What are the possible ways to inform the application users about the features of the application? I personally find the "Tip of the day" popups extremely annoying and disable them quickly. Are there better ways?