Ecommerce Growth & User Acquisition

I’m Wilson Hung, Growth @ Kettle & Fire, previously Growth @ SumoMe, Process Engineer @ ExxonMobil.

I quit my job as a chemical engineer to apply a data-driven, and scientific approach to acquiring customers.

I write detailed essays on growth that have been featured in Forbes, ConversionXL, SumoMe, and shared by Andrew Chen, Guy Kawasaki, and 500Startups.

If you’d like growth advice, I help Ecomm companies on a selective basis. I can provide the most value if you’ve reached product market fit, and have a functional supply chain.

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Goal #2: 1000 Emails (Re-engaging Unverified Emails)

Takeaway: Sending re-engagement emails to unverified users is an effective method to obtain subscribers (20% conversion rate which resulted in 8 new users).

However, this method will be put on hold for two reasons: 1) I don’t have enough unverified emails to justify pursuing this channel, and 2) I will be automating this strategy with a Drip Campaign in the near future.


Experiment ID #3 – Activation (Email) – Following-Up on Unverified Emails

Overall Goal: 1000 subscribers

Timeframe: February 29, 2016

KR1 (90%): Weekly growth of 25% to my subscriber list (1000 subscribers by Feb 2016)

KR2 (50%): Weekly growth of 50% to my subscriber list (1000 subscribers by Jan 2016)

KR3 (10%): Weekly growth of 100% to my subscriber list (1000 subscribers by Dec 2016)


Objective: Determine the effectiveness of re-engaging unverified subscribers. 



Signing up for my newsletter requires a double opt-in process. Users must perform two steps: 1) input their email to my signup form, and then 2) click on the link in the confirmation email.

After a user provides their email, they’re redirected to the thank you page which provides further instruction to confirm their email…

Snip20151214_29Currently, 13% of my list (39 people) have not verified their email.


If successful, my email subscribers will increase by 20 people (or 50% of unverified people), because: 1) they’re already interested because they put in their email, and 2) won’t get them all because some may be fake emails.

Metric Before (guess) After (actual)
Unsubscribed Users 40 8
Conversion Rate 50% 20%

Experiment Design

  1. Write the email to send out to the unverified users
  2. Export the list from AWeber into a spreadsheet
    • Filter to send the email to only the users who have not signed up after ~2 days
  3. Copy/paste the filtered list and send the email
  4. Wait 24 hours and analyze the results
  5. Reach out to converted users to find out why they didn’t confirm sooner


Writing The Email

I did some Googling and found a pretty good template of a re-activation email, check it out here.

Using that resource as a basis, I will be sending out the below email.


Avoiding the Spam Folder

AWeber doesn’t allow me to send emails to these unverified emails. Therefore, I’m going to export the unverified emails into a spreadsheet and send them via gmail (bcc list).

After doing some googling, it seems like I need to avoid sending over 500 emails a day, otherwise I might trigger gmail’s spam protection. Check out the recommended readings below for the resources.

Analyze Results

Using the Rapportive gmail extension, I’m able to see who opens and reads my email. I can also keep track of which unverified users end up confirming their address. Below is a summary of the results…

  • Follow up emails sent: 40
  • # of invalid emails: 3 (7.5%)
  • # of emails verified: 8 (conversion rate: 20%)
  • # of emails still unverified: 32 (80%)
  • # of emails opened: 24 (60%)

Reach out to converted verified users

I sent emails to the people who verified their emails after my reminder to get some insight into why this happens.

For example…


Of the 4 responses I received, all of them were because they “missed it”. Fortunately, none of the confirmation emails went to the spam folder.


I was expecting a much higher conversion rate but only achieved a measly 20%. A big factor to this is that even though 60% of users opened my email, only 33% of them verified their email. I’m guessing the two likely reasons for this low conversion are: 1) they lost interest, or 2) the copy of my email could be improved.

Based on user feedback, the people who actually converted simply missed my initial confirmation email. This should be an easy fix by automating the re-engagement email after a time period has passed.

I’ll put this strategy on hold, mainly because the percentage of unverified emails is still quite low (8-12%) of my total email list. However, as that number grows, I’ll look into optimizing this channel via a drip campaign.

Follow-up Actions

Automate the re-engagement process by sending a timed email to all unverified emails ~2-3 days after they signed up. To do this, use a drip campaign such as from getDrip.com. Unfortunately, AWeber does not provide this capability yet, so I may have to switch.

Recommended Readings: