I was recently introduced to a “9 word email marketing tactic” that seemed “to good to be true”. I’m sharing this with you because I’ve done it myself and it lead to significant success in less than an hour. Here are the details.

I follow a B2B sales and marketing blogger named Tellman. Here is his site but all the best stuff is in his email newsletter and his weekly webinars. Brilliant guy and I highly recommend checking him out.

Recently he sent out an email blast that included this easy email marketing tactic that takes only minutes to implement. The email marketing tactic is described in detail in the this PDF. (btw – the email marketing tactic was designed by a guy named Dean Jackson, founder of ILoveMarketing.com. Had never heard of him but am researching him now).

Results of the email marketing tactic

Honestly, at first I thought it sounded like fluff, but then Tellman started reporting results from the community. There were a lot of positive results so I sent the idea to our sales team. Figured it was worth a shot. One person tested it out. She sent the email to 3 customers. Here are the results:

Customer 1 – Within the hour she got a response and closed a contract (no joke!)

Customer 2 – Within 2 hours she got confirmation that the 2nd customer needed additional products and they solidify a contract the following week.

Customer 3 – Within 3 hours she got confirmation that the 3rd customer will call next week to settle on some additional service hours.

That’s a 33% immediate conversion and 100% engagement.

Now that we’ve tested it with 3 customers we are expanding the tactic to as many as possible.

Implementing the tactic

The same strategy could work for you. It’s a very simple tactic to implement.

1. Create a list of every prospect that has been out of touch for 90+ days

2. Draft an email that is completely plain text, no graphics or pics.

3. Email should be sent from a person. Not an “info@ ” address.

4. Include a 9 word question and make it personalized:

  • Example – “Are you still interested in building a web app, Sam?”
  • Example – “Do you still need help with your Drupal project, Todd?”
  • Example – “Still need help with building your eCommerce Shopify site, Jennifer?”

5. Use a simple subject line like “Following up” or “How have you been?”

Obviously, make the subject line and the body relevant to the customer or all your customers.

That’s it. No more text. Email signature is optional, I guess.

I was hesitant to use it, but it worked out very well! Figured I’d share with you as well.

Why does this work?

After this successful campaign I started to think about why this works so well. There are a few reasons that seem obvious to me now.

Personalization – By sending the message and including the customers name (use the “FIRSTNAME” token in your email marketing platform if you go that route) you are “talking” directly to that one person. Your customer feels like you are only reaching out to them and that this message is not just another email marketing tactic.

Short and to the point – Don’t know how else to explain this. You are getting straight to the point. No fluff, no selling, no extras. Just a simple, “Hey, I was thinking of you” message to prompt a response. Obviously this works. I mean, how many personal emails do you send to friends/family that don’t get a response?

From a real person – by sending the email from a persons email address (rather than info@ or god forbid noreply@) you are doing several things.

  • You are picking up where you left off.
  • You are making the communication a little more personal.
  • Your also making them feel as if this is just for them.

An email coming from a real persons email address makes the customer feel like it’s a typical email. Not a marketing message.

Authentic – By keeping the email short and directly inquiring about previous conversations you are letting the customer know that you care about their specific challenge. Direct communication is more likely to elicit response than passive communication. You want to help them. You’re not filling their inbox with more “We are so great” messages and promotions. Instead, you’re saying, “Hey, I know you had a challenge before and if needed we can still solve it.” This will make the customer feel as if you sincerely want to solve their problem. (BTW- sincerely wanting to solve their problem should be natural to you. If you don’t sincerely care about your customer’s challenges and just want their money, you need to take a long look in the mirror.)

Relevant – Your 9 word email is relevant to what the customer actually needs/wants. You are sending a direct message to the person that relates to previous conversations. This isn’t (at least it doesn’t seem to be) a mass email going to thousands of people. Instead, the customer feels as if you are reaching out to them and them alone. People are less likely to ignore these kinds of engagements.

Follow up – The idea is to send this to someone that you’ve engaged with before, but haven’t spoken too in 3 months. This means that you have proof that the person is (or has been) interested in what you are selling. Keep in mind that customers take a long time to make buying decisions. Sometimes months, sometimes years. If you engage with someone in the beginning of their customer sales journey you might do a great job of introducing your product or service, answering their questions and helping think through strategy, but the timing may not be perfect for them to buy. Giving them some breathing room for a few weeks or months is a sign that you respect them as a person. By following up three months later you are letting them know that you still care, want to solve their business challenges and you are there for them. People will respond to that.


The more I think about this, the more I realize that this is a great example of why content marketing works so well. The idea is to be helpful, authentic and genuine. You’re not presenting yourself as a billboard, but rather a support system. By gently reaching out to customers and letting them know that you are thinking of them you are touching them on a personal level. This works because it’s a sign that you care.

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