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How Hack Chinese Scaled Their Customer Messaging with Userlist

Jane Portman
Jane Portman
How Hack Chinese Scaled Their Customer Messaging with Userlist

Meet Daniel Nalesnik, the founder of Hack Chinese. It's a web application that helps native English speakers study Mandarin efficiently, and makes proven learning algorithms accessible to everyone.

In this case study you'll hear how Daniel scaled their customer messaging as they changed to a B2C model, and how built-in templates helped them quickly set up their campaigns in Userlist.

The problem: high abandonment rate from the funnel

  • Needed messaging that scaled with their B2C business
  • Needed to effectively onboard new customers
  • High abandonment rates on free trial to paying customers

In 2019, Daniel decided that Hack Chinese needed to change to a B2C model. He immediately started new marketing campaigns to drive consumers to their website.

"We switched gears and started advertising to individuals and consumers. We had a lot of people coming to the site through various marketing efforts, ads, and referrals, but they were not coming back and engaging with us."

Daniel realized that they needed a better way to engage and interact with users to increase conversions.

"I could see the data that if users keep coming back to the website and the app, they are more likely to purchase our solution. From my research, I knew onboarding users was significant; they needed to be impressed and use the site within the first three hours, three days, and seven days."

During their research into the onboarding experience, Daniel learned that an email onboarding campaign was needed to convert trials to paying customers.

"You need email; you need to be in front users' top of mind quite a bit. Email is a fantastic way to do it. You need to be reminding them that you exist, and so I needed to drip a sequence of emails to users."
Daniel needed a program to help him automate a series of emails to engage users from the moment they sign up to conversion. This ultimately led them to Userlist.

The solution: behavior-based email automation

  • User onboarding that scales with the business
  • Enjoyed the quick integration and setup
  • Reasonable pricing
  • Built-in campaign templates

Daniel knew they needed to reach the inbox to stay top of mind and increase overall paying customers from the trial experience. They started with manually sending system emails and quickly hit a few snags.

"At the start, I was using Ruby on Rails, which did create emails, but they were crudely designed. Plus, the system also was tough to work with, and it was difficult to make changes."

Daniel did some research and engaged with a few user groups online to find a better solution.

"I found Userlist, and it was like, write these two lines of code, and then you have this beautiful graphical interface."

From the first interaction with Userlist, Daniel saw how easy it was to get set up and start sending email sequences right away.

"The initial price was great, but a huge thing for me was I was not just looking to solve a problem with an answer that I already had. I wanted good, templated answers, and Userlist had that, so when I opened up the program for the first time, it was like, 'Here's six sequences that we think that you should turn on, with template content and all the triggers ready to go'."

By using Userlist, Daniel was able to hit the ground running with their first set of email campaigns. All they needed to do was connect their product to Userlist, and they were able to immediately send emails based on the user behavior.

The results: a simple solution with big outcome

Userlist provided a platform that made it easy to configure and start sending behavior-based emails.

"It only took me a few hours to find Userlist, sign up, and create a good email sequence that I could launch immediately."

Daniel was able to implement pre-built templates right away, and saved a lot of time trying to figure out the best copy to send, the right frequency, and the types of campaigns.

"I think a lot of other solutions try to be simple, but the fact that Userlist just gives you these industry best-practice templates is amazing and saves time setting up. For me, this issue of creating the emails and messages was solved and the headache was totally gone… Six months later, and I'm still using these initial templates."

Today, Daniel is using email campaigns from Userlist to onboard users and help them get more value out of Hack Chinese — by sharing best practices, and relevant tips and tricks. As new users learn more about Hack Chinese, they're more likely to convert into paying customers.

"Everybody who tries Hack Chinese is getting the drip sequence from Userlist. So, the goal is obviously to get them to convert. They get an email every other day for ten days, and these are based on the templates that Userlist had provided. These are tips on how to use the app, and best practices, and that type of thing. So, the goal is obviously to get them to convert via coming back to the site in the first week or so that they sign up."

With Userlist in place, Daniel can now focus on other marketing tasks, as Userlist automatically engages and converts trials to paying customers.

"Getting Userlist up and running was the best bang for my buck because it took almost no effort and had a big impact. It was probably a two or three percent increase after implementing Userlist. A few percentage points might not sound like a huge deal. But if you're building a SaaS business, you understand that's huge."

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