Picasso said talent borrows, genius steals. So I’ll come right out and say I can’t really take any credit for the technique I’m about to share with you.
I’ve shamelessly stolen the concept from real estate marketer and entrepreneur Dean Jackson, and I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether that makes me a genius or a brazen thief.
What you’ll find here is a breakdown of how you can use Dean’s nine-word email to reactivate and close leads for Invisalign, implants or whatever else happens to be your bag – even if you’ve never sent a marketing email in your life.
I had the pleasure of joining one of Dean’s workshops a while back and learned loads about this technique and other marketing hacks. If you want to explore the nine-word email further, I’d suggest checking out some of Dean’s videos.
Why I Love the 9-Word Email
- You don’t have to be Shakespeare to use the formula
- You don’t need to know any fancy marketing concepts
- You don’t even have to think about writing a catchy subject line or call-to-action
- If writing nine words sounds like a lot of work, you can use fewer. Six or seven is fine
- It’s a money press that’s made £100k+ and counting for my practices (and I can barely string a sentence together)
The Value of Unconverted Leads
Before kicking off with the how-to, I want to say a few words about a subject I find myself banging on about far too often: The value of old unconverted leads.
The fact is, most decisions about significant purchases aren’t made right there and then on the spot. Buyers are often savvier – and slower – than we think. They’ll often spend months scoping out options and getting to know the pros and cons of competing providers.
Dean Jackson shares a study that shows around 85% of big-item buyers wait 18 months before pulling the trigger.
What does this mean for dental practices?
Well, there’s a good chance the patient who contacted you three – or even six – months ago hasn’t gone ahead with implant treatment yet.
And up to 85% of the ‘cold leads’ in your database are really warm leads in disguise.
As we’ll see in a moment, the goal of the nine-word email isn’t turning these into an outright sale but starting a conversation. It’s about making sure you’re there holding hands when the patient is ready to commit.
What is the 9-Word Email: Your Subject Line
Let’s start where your prospect would, with an unopened email that’s just landed in your inbox.
Here we’d usually craft an intriguing email subject – or hook – to catch the recipient’s attention and ignite a burning desire to find out what’s inside.
In our case, we’re just going to use the recipient’s first name, like so:
Don’t be tempted to add a surname or other message here. That single word is doing some serious multitasking, working hard to create intrigue and familiarity while also hinting that whatever’s about to unfold will be brief.
In a single fell swoop, we’ve just dodged one of email marketing’s toughest challenges – the subject line.
And because we’re not writing War and Peace here, you can leave the preview field completely blank.
The Body Text
From here, things stay just as simple with a question made of no more than nine words that address your patient’s pain point while acknowledging where they are on their buying journey.
Let’s say they contacted you about dental implants only to ghost you like a bad Tinder date soon after.
Here’s your email:
And that’s it. With those seven words, you’re acknowledging both the patient’s needs (dental implants) and where they are on their journey (the ‘interested’ phase).
If we’d caught the patient while they were exploring options, we might rephrase the question like this:
Are you still considering dental implants?
Here’s a few examples that have worked for me. Note that not all of these add up to nine – you can often get your point across with even fewer words.
- Are you still thinking about teeth straightening?
- Are you still looking for a dental bridge?
- Did you manage to get your teeth whitened?
Rules of Engagement
I know, I know. This technique almost seems too simple. And sending something so short and sweet feels almost audacious. But it works.
That said, there are a couple of golden rules of engagement you should follow.
Rule #1 – Reply to Every Single Email
Yep. Every. Single. One. Even if responders aren’t interested or have already made a purchase elsewhere. You’ll get plenty of these – think of each as a chance to hone your list by getting rid of deadwood. Your follow-ups should be non-pushy, short and simple – just like the original email. Try to frame your response as a question that keeps the conversation flowing.
Yes, I’m still interested.
Great news Pete! When is a good time to call to answer any questions you have?
Yes, do you offer finance?
Yes, most patients take advantage of our affordable payments plans from as little as £22.33 per week. Would you like me to look into finance options for your treatment?
Why do you ask?
I was looking through my inbox and I remembered reaching out to you. Have we done everything we can to help you?
I wanted treatment by someone more handsome, so I got implants from another clinic.
Great to hear you got sorted, I’ll make sure you don’t receive any more info about implants.
My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.
Hi Inigo, feel free to contact us if you change your mind. Sorry to hear about your father.
Rule #2 – Treat Everyone Like a Five-Star Prospect
The nine-word email has the habit of eliciting all kinds of responses – from cryptic one-worders to heartfelt essays and pleas for help, right through to why-are-you-even-emailing-me-bro?
Treat each response like a five-star prospect – even if it’s a clear ‘no’. Going a little out of your way to help and be empathetic could put you on top of the list for future treatment.
Rule #3 – Keep it Brief
Notice that responses are a little longer than our original nine-word email – but not by much.
Email ping-pong is time-consuming, so it’s best to get straight to the point and keep your responses brief. Respect your patient’s time, and don’t be tempted to send tons of information for them to absorb at once.
Rule #4 – It’s a Conversation
Avoid formal language and write as though you are having coffee with the patient. Asking questions is the best way to keep the conversation flowing.
Rule #5 – Be Specific
Answer your patient’s specific needs – don’t talk in general terms. If your patient contacted you about a missing tooth, talk about tooth replacement with a bridge or implant – don’t just call it treatment.
My Nine-Word Challenge
I know most of you will file this blog under Things to Try…Maybe…and forget all about it.
Less than 1% will roll up their sleeves and reactivate old leads with the nine-word email.
So here’s my challenge:
Dig out your oldest and coldest data and start a conversation TODAY. You can kick the campaign off in under five minutes and might just be surprised at the result.
PS: If you want more info on what happens after you send your nine-word email, my £100K Protocol has plenty of advice, guidance and examples of how you can manage conversations.
PPS: If you enjoyed finding out about the nine-word email, subscribe to my newsletter for more insights, resources and thoughts on practice growth.