Josh Pitzalis

Building a tool that makes it easy to write Twitter threads.

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Twitter Game 💩

I got told my tweets are pretty shit yesterday.

Less volume, more story. That was the message.

It came at the right time too, I have not been feeling my Twitter game for a while now. I’ve just had a bunch of evergreen tweets on rotation and I’ve kind of disconnected from the whole affair.

So what do you write about? What is Twitter game?

I suppose the way I think about Twitter is like the cuttings on the floor. If your work is a studio creation then Twitter lets people know how it all came together. A front-row seat to the sausage being made.

The worst part about this whole story is that before I got told how shit my Tweets are, I was asked how Chirr App is going.

Message heard.

Loud and clear 🙏

I have turned all my evergreen tweets off and will start putting some more energy into letting you know what I am actually doing.

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Which way is up?

Messaging is a really foundational part of growth work. We haven’t found our groove with this at Chirr App yet.

There are so many parts to this puzzle, I’m struggling to fit them all together.

At the top of the list, you have why people use our product. Their motivations for using Twitter at all. We can pin this down to ‘making a Twitter thread’ but that can’t be the right level of abstraction. I mean, why do people write Twitter threads? Ask ‘why’ too many times you just end up at spiritual happiness and world peace. Finding the right level of abstraction is key here, I’m listening for the thing that actually resonates with people.

Then there’s our value proposition. Motivation and value propositions are deeply linked, but they’re not the same thing. We need to give people a reason to buy from us. To make this a little more complicated, our core value proposition is free, so what are...

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A list of your own problems

How do you optimize an optimization effort?

You have 12 months to get a 20% increase in your conversion-to-paid numbers. How do you do it?

First stop, Google. You search for conversion optimization tactics, a list of the latest hacks, and you end up with a bunch of articles. Let’s say you manage to compile a list of 100 techniques to improve your conversion rate.

Okay, great.

Which one do you implement first?

You could try and implement them all at the same time but then everything would cancel each other out and you’d have no understanding of what worked and what didn’t.

The alternative is to test each technique in sequence. Let’s say you have enough traffic that you only have to run each test for a month. It will take you 8 years to work through all the tests.

The problem with growth hack listicles and articles about product development is that there’s no way to prioritize what...

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The Myth of Marketing Channels

Everyone talks about testing out all your marketing channels to see what works before investing heavily in one or two of them. I think this is complete bullshit, at least for small businesses, there are so few ways to grow that you have to do all of them.

Sure, if you’re a B2B operation that only sells 5-year contracts to Farmers then blindly investing in Instagram ads probably doesn’t make sense. But that hardly warrants saying.

For most businesses, you only have 5 major ways to grow your business:

  1. Paid search
  2. Search engine optimization
  3. Social ads
  4. Email marketing
  5. Content marketing

The idea here is that you can pick one or two, test them out, see what works, try a few others, and then double down on the ones that work for you.

This is just blatantly wrong because you have to do all 5. It all starts with some form of content marketing, whether your product is the content or you’re...

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How to run a good survey and get valuable insights about how people use your product

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Surveys are a powerful tool for building up a clear picture of your audience but they are often used in the wrong way. I want to show you how to avoid the common mistakes of running an in-product survey.

Have a clear idea of what you want to know going in

I often come across people that run surveys because they want to “know more about their users”. They just ask a bunch of different questions. Before you know it, you end up with a big, bloated survey. This is terrible because nobody is going to complete a survey that long, and if they do, you just end up with a lot of data that you don’t know what to do with.

If you have a clear idea of what you want to know then you should probably just be asking one question. Answering that question should allow you to do something specific. Don’t just have a question that you want to answer out of curiosity, ask a question that lets you achieve...

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Avoid wasting time testing inconsequential stuff when growing a product

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Artwork by Justine

Traditionally, marketing focuses on acquisition as the main growth lever. The problem is if you don’t activate new customers, they’re unlikely to retain long-term. In SaaS businesses especially, if you don’t retain customers then you’re really just replacing a customer each month. You might be able to do it effectively for a few months. But over time, it’s an unsustainable way to grow a business.

Begin with a north star

The best way to start thinking about this process is to begin with your core action, this is the thing people do that drives value for them. This is sometimes called a north star metric. The north star metric is one of the breakthroughs that came out of Facebook and now all the effective growth companies have latched onto the concept.

All that matters is that your north star metric reflects the value that is delivered to users. You’re trying to...

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Fakes, spies, stubs & mocks

I learned how to test code using Jest. Today I’m working on a codebase that doesn’t have Jest and I have to use Jasmine and Sinon instead.

The most confusing bit is going through the documentation and trying to understand what fakes, spies, stubs, and mocks are. In Jest, I just dealt with mocks. I thought everything was a mock.

I’ve learned that all of these things fall under the umbrella of test doubles. I think I’ve figured out what the difference between each type of test double is now…

Spies - Listen

So a spy is when you just listen to the implementation of a dependency. You run the original function, but you just want to test whether it was run, how many times it was run, and what parameters it was run with.

Mocks - Bypass

A mock is when you bypass a function altogether. If you have a dependency that’s coupled to your code that does important stuff but is unrelated to what...

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Email marketing laws

Good email practice boils down to setting clear expectations. If someone is on your list they should know exactly what they’re going to receive and why, who it’s coming from, and how often to expect it.

If you send someone an email, and they don’t know why they got it, they can hit the spam button. If they do Gmail, Outlook and Yahoo pay attention. They will listen to a user over a marketer any day of the week.

Legality and permissions aside, we’re talking about deliverability here. Just because you send an email does not mean that it will land in someone’s inbox. Deliverability is not the same as a bounce rate. If Gmail thinks your email is spam, they might just not deliver it. They don’t report back to you either, there’s no bounce back, they just don’t deliver it.

According to Jessica Best (I’ll link in her amazing course on Email Marketing at the end), in the US, what we see on...

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Landing page optimization

When I begin working on improving conversion for a landing page the starting point is always the value proposition.

A company called Marketing Experiments put together a heuristic for calculating the probability of conversion:

Conversion = 4 motivation + 3 value prop + 2 (incentive - friction) - 2 anxiety

The single biggest factor here is motivation. I can’t control why people want my product but you can understand it. Clearly understanding what brings someone to my products makes it easier to craft a value proposition that they can relate to. If I can craft an effective value proposition that speaks to people’s core motivation around my product then that’s more than half of the battle won.

If I were starting a restaurant I’d pick a hungry crowd over a fancy chef any day. I like to spend a disproportionate amount of time trying to figure out who my crowd is and what they are...

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Use feature descriptions to handle objections

I like to use my feature sections to handle common objections to using the product.

The idea is to communicate the core benefits of the product, explain the biggest problem our product solves, and address your main concerns and objections all in one go.

I aim for 3-5 features. The more expensive or unintuitive the product, the more objections I need to address.

A good feature description is made of three parts: a title, a description, and an image.

A title lets people decide if something is relevant

A title describing your feature or its value in 5 words or less

I’m just trying to describe what it is so that people can decide if it’s relevant to them.

I have a group features, benefits and objections that I want to focus on:

  • If you want to use the native twitter client to make threads you have to copy and pasteyou blog post into a notebook then count characters to figure out...

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