I wasn’t always a good teacher. I very rarely took lessons to learn how to do things so I didn’t always know how to explain things to people who were just learning. Here are some of the lines I’ve used when…
- Teaching someone to snowboard: “Fight the fall!”
- Teaching someone to rock climb: “Every hold wants to be held a certain way… find it!”
- Teaching someone to use an Apple device: “If you think it should do it, it probably does. Just play around a bit!”
So, yeah, not always super helpful. But in my head, it all makes sense and is generally how I go about learning to do something myself. I’ve learned, over time, that it’s fine for me to start with that simple statement in my head as long as I can translate it so other people can understand what we’re after. I’m getting better at that.
When we created Wisyl we set down a few guideposts to keep things on track. Ideas or concepts we could look at when we needed to prioritize features, or didn’t know if something fit with the product. One of the most important ones is: Create the product that people expect (in an Apple sense)
Yeah, yeah, “be like Apple” is a little tired but let’s be honest, when you get on an Apple device it almost always does everything you think it’s supposed to do. And when it surprises you, you wonder why you didn’t think of it yourself.
Wisyl is a communication tool. It’s better than other communication tools because it lets subscribers choose where they want their messages but, it’s a communication tool so it needs to do the things people expect it to do. This is not easy. I mean, from my seat it’s easy, but from our product manager and developer’s perspective, not easy.
This is the category of updates we’re reporting on this month. Updates that make it possible to create a product that people expect. Not super exciting, but super important.
Ok, this isn’t refactoring, but refactoring reminded me of defragging. I used to watch my disc defrag for way longer than I’d like to admit.
As the application grows and we bring on more features, more channels, and more users, it became apparent that if we didn’t get our database in order, we were going to have problems sooner than later. So… we got the database in order. Nothing more to report here but this step made it possible to create features such as…
Wisyl has always been able to tell you how many subscribers you sent a message to and how many times that message got a click. This was the bare minimum needed in a communication tool (not even that, but hey, we’re in early days here!). We knew that if we wanted to be a product that people expected we needed to be better.
Reporting by subscriber
We’ve always had reporting by message, and reporting by channel. We’ve been able to give you total messages sent, opens (where possible), and clicks. Now we’re able to give you useful reporting information by subscriber. It seems pretty basic, and that’s the point. You expect a communication application to be able to do these things. And now we do.
Showing opens, clicks, and warnings by subscriber, by communication channel is useful for any number of reasons. Here’s an example from a recent message…
Fred calls and says, “Hey Jeremy, I didn’t know you were doing that really cool thing that was going to make me a bunch of money, and now I’m mad at you!”
Jeremy takes a moment to look at the reporting for the message he sent about that really cool thing and yep, there it is.
“Oh, wow Fred. I’m bummed you missed that. But it looks like you got an email and a text, and clicked on the text… Is there a better way to get a hold of you? If so maybe you should add another channel to your preferences… Did you know we just enabled Telegram?”
“Oh, yeah, I remember that now. I guess I can’t be mad at you anymore. Telegram? Really? That’s my favorite!”
This feature also gives a message publisher peace of mind by showing them that their message is getting through, or not. Knowing that a message is not getting through is as important as knowing it did. How can you clean up your list, or address problems unless you know there is one?
The return of the Magic Link
When we first put code together for Wisyl we had what we called a “magic link”. It was a link that could be sent or placed anywhere your subscribers might be. It was an easy way to invite people to tell you how they wanted to be communicated with. But as with a few other things early on… we did it wrong. What we thought was going to make things easy actually made things harder, so we scrapped it and focused on streamlining the onboarding process to take as much friction out as possible. We knew we’d come back to the magic link eventually because, when done correctly, it’s a really flexible and effective way to bring in new subscribers. So, now we have it back! This helps open Wisyl up to a large group of publishers that need to build their subscriber base and makes it easier for B2B business customers to onboard new clients.
So, I just wrote a huge paragraph about how awesome this all is, (and then I deleted it) but here’s the thing… These features are what people expect. To sum it up… we now do a few more things that you’d expect from a communication tool. This is a good thing. And we’re not done yet!
Oh, and one last thing…
(Don’t you love it how in every TV or movie crime drama, the lead detective asks all these really important questions, and then, just as the murderer is thinking they’ve answered everything and they’re going to get away with it, with her hand on the door, she turns around and says, “Just one last thing…” and then she catches him in the lie that puts him away for life!)
We've got Telegram
Now, along with email, text, Twitter DM, Discord, Slack, and WhatApp, subscribers can choose Telegram to receive your posts. Telegram is an important communication application with 500 million monthly active users. While you may or may not be a Telegram user, there’s a good chance your subscribers are.
The Wisyl team is bringing on new features and new channels to the platform as quickly as we can. We are working to create a communication tool that gets your messages read by delivering that message to the perfect place at the perfect time; where and when the reader has told you they want it.
If you aren’t already, I invite you to subscribe to Wisyl Updates and see how it all works from the subscriber side. And, of course, if you are fed up with communication tools that force your subscribers to get your message in the wrong place, Wisyl is for you!