January 9, 2018

💬 Are you going to test out the 9-word email? Tell us in the comment section!

The 9-word email hack has been a hot topic in marketing for the last couple of years, but it’s been gaining even more steam lately.

It has made an appearance on sites like Functional Funnels, I Love Marketing, LeadMachine, SEMGeeks, Medium.com, ActiveCampaign, and so many more.

So… what the heck is it and why should you care?

In essence, the 9-word email is some variation of the following question:

“Are you still interested in improving your [insert service here]?”

You can tweak the verb to whatever makes sense to you, but the idea is that the entire content of the email is one simple question.

And it’s designed to warrant a response.

And that’s the basic idea behind the 9-word email. You use it when you’re in desperate need of a response from someone. But why is this silly little email so effective?


Why is the 9-word email effective?

We’re used to crafting up elaborate emails with pretty graphics, interesting fonts, and perfectly written paragraphs.

But I stopped being so naive in my first year of college when I heard my professor tell this short story:

“I decided to go on a trip to Europe with some friends of mine, but it turns out I didn’t pack what I was supposed to. When we got there, my friend asked if I brought the camera. I stared at him blankly and told him no, and he proceeded to explain that he clearly outlined this in the email to the group. I laughed and said I only read the first and last line of emails anymore.

While this is just one person, we know from marketing research and screen analyzing that people…. don’t read that much of what you say.

People scan. They’ll generally read the first line of your email, and if it’s intriguing enough, they’ll keep going. But more often than not, they’ll start to scan, looking for shorter paragraphs to read and then perhaps anything that’s bolded.

And that’s about all you can expect from the people who even take the time to open your email in the first place.

But what about people who have lost interest in what you’re offering or those who are completely unresponsive?

They need extra prompting.

And sometimes, our first instinct is to write out this long, beautiful poem that outlines our heartache and loneliness from their unresponsive behavior.

Just kidding.

But honestly, we’re naturally inclined to do more than what’s necessary.

And that’s why this little 9-word email tactic is dominating the marketing space. It’s so stinking powerful.

Interested in more marketing advice for insurance agents? Read Marketing 101 for Independent Insurance Agents.

Who is the 9-word email for?

The 9-word email is for a client that you need a response from.

Generally, these are either dead leads or people who have shown interest but haven’t committed to anything yet.

For example, someone signed up for your email list, but they’re not clicking on any links, and they haven’t made an appointment to see you.

If you’re not online yet, perhaps it’s for someone who booked an appointment and never showed. Or someone who met with you, but never ended up purchasing any insurance.

Whatever your case might be, the 9-word email should be used when you want a reaction from your client.

How do I send the 9-word email?

Once you determine who to send the email to, you’re going to write their first name in the subject line.

For example: Subject line: Frank

The body of the email should consist of the client’s first name and our simple question, but feel free to modify it so that it matches your agenda.

  • “Are you still interested in getting Medicare help?”
  • “Are you still looking for health insurance?
  • “Are you still looking at getting insurance?”
  • “Are you still considering switching health plans?”

End the email with your first name.

And that’s it. Really.

Here’s an example of what that email would look like all said and done.

9-word email example

Don’t add anything else to the email. Don’t embellish it, don’t add an unnecessary introduction, no phone numbers, no website, no reply-to email, not elaborate signature, no emojis… nothing.

Part of the reason this simple email works like a charm is that it’s creating a sense of curiosity. And the more curious your prospect is, the more likely you’ll get a response.

And no, the 9 word part isn’t really that important. What’s important is that it’s a short question. So if your question ends up being 8 or 10 words, you’re still on the right track.

What do I do after I send the 9-word email?

After you send the 9-word email, you’re bound to get responses.

This email has shown to give higher response rates than any other email in marketing history, but don’t be bummed if they’re not all fantastic responses.

Your goal here is to get an answer. And there are only 3 possible answers you could get.

  1. Yes, I’m interested. Tell me more.
  2. No, I’m not interested.
  3. No response.

In any case, you’re finally able to take some action. Work towards closing that sale, find out what’s stopping people from being interested, and let clients go who aren’t responsive.

The whole key to this email is that opens up the chance at a conversation. If you can get that conversation going, you’re much more likely to get some sales from clients who were previously not ready.

I’ll never forget this stat, and you should remember it every time you deal with a new prospect:

“At any given time, only 3% of your market is actively buying. 56% are not ready, 40% are poised to begin.”

Sometimes, your prospects just need that extra push to begin.

If you do test out the 9-word email, be sure to come back and tell us about your success in the comment section!

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