You’ve got email subscribers.
You’ve done all that work.
Now you can’t get anyone to buy anything.
People spend too much time trying to get people to sign up to their newsletter when they already have a bunch of email subscribers who already have an interest in the product they are offering.
One of the greatest assets that business owners have is the pool of unconverted leads that they already have, eager and waiting for more from you.
People on your list who didn’t convert in the first 90 days should be considered assets. This is the shift in thinking that business and marketing experts Nicholas Kusmich and Dean Jackson are advocating.
In this post, Dean will reveal his secret to engaging with potential customers and turning them from cold leads into hot leads—and from hot leads into loyal fans!
The Value of Unconverted Leads
People spend a lot of time, effort, and money on getting fresh leads and getting customers on the fast track to buy right now.
But that’s a pretty short-sighted view on building your business. It fails to take into account the long-term value of what you could be building: something that’s going to sustainably deliver new clients for your business.
Dean Jackson shares a study from a company that handles inquiries on an enterprise level. What they do is send out a “Did you buy” survey asking people if they have bought the product they originally inquired about. This is what they discovered:
- People who inquired about something will usually buy within 18 months after their inquiry—that’s more than half who actually buy. It doesn’t mean they buy from you, but it says that they will buy whatever it is that they inquired about with you.
- Of the people who did buy in that 18-month period, only 15% will do it in the first 90 days. So that means that 85% of the value of the 100 leads you generate today is 90 days or more away.
People are ready to pull the trigger at different times over the course of that 18 months, and Dean has used this knowledge as leverage in his marketing strategy.
“I believe that half of the people that are going to inquire today are going to buy whatever it is that they inquired about in the next two years.”
– Dean Jackson
What Is the Nine-Word Email?
Are you interested in reviving your dead leads?
I’m assuming you answered that question in your head—or at the very least, you paused before reading the next line. Maybe you answered it with a simple “yes,” or maybe it was “definitely, I want to get more sales.”
If you try to read it again without stopping to answer it or pausing to think, doesn’t it feel a little awkward?
That’s the magic of the Dean Jackson’s nine-word email.
The nine-word email is basically an email that doesn’t have anything on it except the nine-word (or less) question that you have designed to engage your potential client into a dialogue.
Here’s some examples:
- Are you still looking for a house in Georgetown?
- Are you still interested in learning jujitsu?
- Are you still interested in going to Israel?
- Are you still running a Facebook ad?
The premise of this question is that you know that at one point, this person wanted something that you are offering—maybe a product, maybe a book that helps them solve a problem, maybe something else you’ve created.
The important part is, there’s a little bit of history attached to it and that’s why it sounds personal—because it’s saying to the person: “I know you.”
Now, one major hump that you have to overcome in using this tactic is that nagging feeling that tells you to add more to your email.
“Are you still looking for a house in Georgetown? We have one available…”
You naturally want make that offer, to solve your customer’s problem right away.
But that’s not the focus of the nine-word email. All that we are looking to do is to get somebody to engage in a dialogue.
Dialogue is important is because someone who is willing to engage in a dialogue is on the path to being a five-star prospect. Everybody that we’ve ever done business with, who has given us the opportunity to work with them, has met these five requirements:
- They are willing to engage in a dialogue.
- They’re friendly and cooperative when we talk with them.
- They know what they want.
- They know when they want it.
- They would like us to help them.
All five of those have to be true. And if you have to have all five, why not start at the top?
Let’s just identify the people who want to engage in the dialogue rather than convince people to get engaged.
It’s a profound shift.
Three Steps to the Nine-Word Email
If there’s one thing that I’m guilty of, it’s deleting emails without reading them. If I get an email that looks like it’s gotten away from my email’s spam filter, it goes straight to trash.
You want to avoid that at all costs when you’re emailing potential customers or fans!
Here’s a summary of how to create and use the nine-word email to make sure it doesn’t go into the bin.
1. Pick a Neutral Subject Line
Yes, you heard me.
It’s not what we’re used to—but that’s why it’s powerful. It’s not a stunt to hype your product, it’s a little tap on the shoulder.
Here’s a couple of tips from Dean:
- Use the name of the person in the subject line. Putting someone’s name in the subject line is magical. If we see something like that, it’s proven that our pupils dilate…we get a squirt of dopamine and we’re naturally drawn to that.
- Use your personal email skills. Look at the subject line of the last personal email that you got and see what kinds of phrases are used. How did the writer talk to you? I bet it’s different from most business emails you get. Examples are phrases like “Here you go,” “Two things…” or “Catching up.”
2. Choose Your Nine Words
Your email doesn’t have to be clever. It’s just very factual.
In most cases, it will just be somewhere along the lines of “Are you still interested in…”
If you are selling a yacht and you have leads that you haven’t heard from for about 90 days, a good question to ask is “Are you still looking for a yacht?”
Again, your goal is just to get them to reply and engage in a dialogue.
But you also have to know where you’re going. You have to think like a chess master—think two or three steps ahead to where this interaction is going to end up.
Do not assume that your lead will respond to a second email just because they responded to the first one. If someone responds to your nine-word email, you have to be ready to follow up with something that helps them—that adds value to their life.
You have to say something that will engage with what they want, what they’re looking for. Do they know what they want? Are they friendly and cooperative?
After the second and third interaction, you’ll get them to express what they want—they’ll start giving you information that tells you what they want and how you can help them.
One of the biggest questions that Dean said he gets about marketing is about this process of interacting with possible clients. People want to know: How are you automating these dialogues?
The answer is: You don’t automate it. You actually engage with people.
Success in business—any business—is about building relationships. And while you can automate your very first email in the sequence, after that, you have to pay attention and be authentic. You have to build that relationship.
What if you’re so busy you can’t respond to every email personally?
You can still create real, authentic dialogues with people…you’ll just need to enlist the help of a personal assistant or VA.
Dean says he extends the definition of automation to: If I’m not doing it, it’s automated.
If I know exactly what I want to say to someone, then I can ask another person to reply to these emails using my words. That’s human automation.
3. Add Your Super Signature
Sometimes, you’ll get people who respond, but then go to radio silence. You need to have a long-term trail to engage these customers.
Be prepared to reach out at least weekly, so that when they are ready to take the next action, they’ll know you can immediately engage them in a dialogue again, helping them on their path of being a five-star prospect and, eventually, a happy customer.
In his emails, Dean adds what he calls a “super signature.” It’s an opportunity to motivate and educate people, to share your content. End your signature with the words: “Here are three or four ways that I can help you with…”
Now, this is not the P.S. line. The P.S. line is where you place promo materials because it’s current and timely.
Your super signature offers go under that line.
Here’s an example of what you can add at the end of your signature if you’re in a real estate business:
- Join us for daily tour of homes at 10 a.m. or 1 p.m.: click here.
- Join us for a homebuyer workshop every first and third Thursdays of the month: click here.
- Get a free home loan report: click here.
- Find out who got the lowest down payment and the lowest cost this week: click here.
If you’re an author of a book on gardening, you might include offers like:
- Find out how to keep your houseplants happy and healthy: click here.
- Join me for a live webinar on how to get your seedlings started right: click here.
- Discover how to grow a great succulent garden: download the free ebook now!
There’s something magical about taking this conversational approach. Nobody wants to leave anyone hanging.
Imagine if you run into someone at Starbucks and they ask you, “Nick, how are you doing?” You might be surprised by the unexpected encounter, but it would feel very unnatural not to respond. It’s that discomfort, that palpable feeling that I’m expecting a reply and I’m looking right at you.
Try these steps. They’re an easy way to grow your business and take your marketing to the next level!
Note: The strategies and tactics on how to generate leads and increase conversion found in this article are from Dean Jackson. All credits go to Dean Jackson.
Want to learn more about social media and email marketing? Read on!
- Facebook Ads for Email List Building
- How To Build Your Email List Using YouTube
- How to Write an Outreach Email (plus a bonus email template)
Kate Sullivan is an editor with experience in every aspect of the publishing industry, from editorial to marketing to cover and interior design.
In her career, Kate has edited millions of words and helped dozens of bestselling, award-winning authors grow their careers and do what they love!