How to Use the 9-Word Email Strategy for Conversions

Lessons from a Unicorn Digital Marketing Assistant who actually does the work:

If you’re a marketing freelancer or experienced virtual assistant then you know the power of email marketing. In today’s online world, you also know attention spans are shorter than ever! Cutting through the noise and grabbing an audience’s attention can sometimes feel like an uphill battle. But what if I told you there’s a simple and effective email marketing strategy that can re-engage leads and boost conversions: It’s the 9-word email, and it’s a remarkably simple yet powerful way to breathe life into your email marketing campaigns.

When used effectively, I’ve seen the 9-word email revive dead leads, reengage email lists and boost conversion rates.

In case you don’t know me, I’m Emily Reagan, a freelance digital marketer and marketing assistant mentor with 17+ years in journalism, PR, and marketing. I’ve done it all and honed my craft in email marketing and copywriting that converts. Now I teach others how to do that work. I also host a tight-knit marketing membership, for experienced freelance marketing specialists who can deliver the goods. If that’s you, let me refer you inside our Digital Marketer’s Workgroup. We only open a few times a year, so apply here. We’ll help you attract high-quality clients, increase your rates, niche down and book out.

What is a 9-word email?

The concept, developed by real estate entrepreneur Dean Jackson, is exactly what it sounds like – it’s an email that’s just nine words. In practice, it’s a question plus the person’s name. It doesn’t have to be exactly nine words but it must be a concise email that gets straight to the point, engages the recipient and prompts a response. 

Here’s the basic structure:

Subject Line: <Include Recipient’s Name>
Body: <9-word Question>

Now, let’s apply that:

Subject Line: Hey Sarah
Body: Are you still interested in growing your Instagram followers?

See how that works? Simple, right?

I send a version of this email out to my subscribers who have not opened an email in 90 days before I remove them. It tends to gets lots of replies “YES!” which is good for email deliverability and marks them as active again.

Why the 9-Word Email is a Powerful Marketing Tool

The simplicity of this short and direct email shines in the crowded email landscape. It’s a total pattern disrupter that feels personal and requires such a small amount of time to read and respond. Here’s why it works:

  • It cuts through the clutter: In overflowing inboxes, a concise message stands out! People are way more likely to open and read a short email, which increases engagement.
  • It feels personal: By using the person’s name with a well-crafted question the message feels like it’s all about them and not just a marketing spiel. 
  • It prompts an immediate response: The limited word count is so direct that it creates a sense of urgency and encourages action. A quick question invites a quick response, making it easy for people to engage.

When to Use the 9-Word Email

Building and maintaining relationships is key to success in email communication. This email strategy can help to revive dead leads, engage new leads and move people down the pipeline. Use it in these scenarios:

  • Reengaging dead leads: If you have cold leads who haven’t interacted with your emails in the last 90 days or showed interest in an offer but never followed up, a 9-word email gently nudges them back into the conversation.
  • Following up after downloads or sign-ups: When someone downloads a lead magnet or signs up for a free trial, use a 9-word email to ensure they get the most out of your offering and engage with your content.
  • Engagement after a webinar: When your client hosts a webinar you can reach out with a 9-word email to see if attendees have any lingering questions or lead them down the marketing funnel.

How to Use the 9-word Email Strategy Effectively

The key to making the 9-word email work is to be strategic and thoughtful when applying it. Here are some tips and tricks to ensure success:

  • Personalize: Use the recipient’s first name in the subject line and keep it simple. Remove any extra promotional stuff in your email, even your footer. This makes it seem very personal.
  • Send to a segmented list: A 9-word email should not go to everyone on your list! Send it to leads who have engaged with you or a specific thing that you sell and haven’t bought. Your email needs to be tailored to that person’s specific needs, otherwise, they’ll come off as insincere and may lead to unsubscribes. 
  • Track and analyze: Monitor your open rates and click-through rates to see what resonates with your audience, and tag the no responses.
  • Respond appropriately: Don’t jump from a straight-to-the-point email to a long salesy email. Resist the urge to do additional promotional stuff. Simply follow up with a quick call-to-action and make it easy for that person to take the next step.
Using the 9-word email strategy

I asked a few of my online business peers to send me their 9-word emails so you can see more real-life examples.

Sara Vartanian, a launch copywriter and strategist, educator, and host of The Launch Playbook Podcast sends this inquiry:


Do you still need help with launching?


Quick check-in, Emily

If you’re still looking for help, click here to book a time to chat.

Talk soon?


She calls it her “last call, y’all email” and it always gets a response one way or the other.

Jessica Brooks, a UX launch and conversion copywriter sent this fun email on St. Paddy’s Day to promote a resource bundle:


these gifts 💸 TONIGHT


The Online Business Owner’s Pot of Gold ends TONIGHT.

What have you filled your pot with, Kerry?

The question was hyperlinked to a sign-up page for access to 80+ free resources. In one quick click recipients reached the gift at the end of the rainbow!

Sara C. Mayer, a consultant, philanthropist and host of the Bold Goal Crusher Podcast sends this well-crafted 9-word email:


I’m just curious……


Which best describes you?

She includes 5 buttons with these 5 different answers:

  • Entrepreneur with a thriving business
  • Entrepreneur working on building a thriving business
  • Side Hustler with a 9-5 and building a business on the side
  • Full-time employee of a business
  • Non-profit Founder or Employee

She makes it so easy for people to respond. To top it off, each button goes to a curated landing page for each group with content that specifically speaks to them and Sara tags them on the back end. The segment later gets targeted emails based on which group they are in. So smart!

Kim Kiel, a sales copy strategist, copywriter & copy coach and host of the ill communication podcast got results using these emails:




Hi Sarah

I’m getting together with some business owners in a couple of weeks for a guided workshop where we’ll write the 5 core sales emails you need to sell your offer.

I’m hosting it at the end of the month so you’ll get those 5 emails written and ready-to-send in time for any Q4 promo or flash sale (like Black Friday/Cyber Monday).

Would you be interested?

She gets straight to the point: here’s what I’m doing; would you be interested?

Here’s another gem of hers:




Hey Kim!

Next Monday I’m getting together with a group of business owners to share the top copywriting and marketing best practices you need to seen and heard in 2024.

There’ll also be time for live Q&A and copy coaching.

I hope you can come!


The last sentence is a hyperlink to the meeting making it easy for people to participate. Kim’s 9-word emails show how crafting approachable messaging that resonates with her ideal customers has helped her to build trust and drive sales.

Krissy Chin, a business automation specialist and Kajabi specialist, sends this email out




Hi Emily

Do you still need help building (or improving) your website for business?

Reply back and let us know!

Ok, longer than 9 words, but you get the drift! It gets subscribers to make a decision either way with a clear call to action to reply to this email.

⚡️Related Podcast Alert: The 5 C’s of Copywriting with Kim Kiel

In this episode featuring Kim Kiel we cover the 5 C’s of copywriting to help you step up your game and confidence when it comes to writing conversion copy.

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | iHeartRadioAmazon | Website

The Takeaway:

Sometimes less is truly more. If you want to stand out in this crowded online world then doing something different – and simple – can grab people’s attention. Be strategic and focus on helping the recipient with their specific problem and you’ll see higher rates of engagement and conversion. The 9-word email can truly transform the way you connect with client email lists and help you deliver results.

Further Reading:

>> What Every Virtual Assistant Should Know About Copywriting 

>> Recommended Copywriting Books for Digital Marketing Assistants

>> How to Find Jobs as a Digital Marketing Virtual Assistant

>> How To Effortlessly Master Your Client’s Voice In Their Copy

>> Pricing and the Value of Creativity as a Freelancer

Take Your Email Marketing and Copywriting Services to the Next Level

If you’re an experienced freelance marketing assistant, specialist or manager join our Digital Marketer’s Workgroup and connect with a community of like-minded freelancers, access valuable resources, and grow your independent contractor business. This is a tight-knit, exclusive referral community of freelancer marketers who are helping each other grow their freelance businesses to premium levels. We only open a few times a year, so apply here.

Get Started Working from Home with Email Marketing Services

If you’re completely new to marketing services, the best place to start is by learning the basics of email marketing and how to help your clients. I cover all of this inside my Unicorn Digital Marketing Assistant School

  • Module 2 covers Email Marketing, including sequences, tags, and segmenting so you can step inside a client’s business and take on their weekly email newsletters. If you know nothing or haven’t done this for a client before, this training will get you up to speed and put you far above any admin assistant.
  • Module 3 covers basic marketing funnels that have email marketing automations. This will allow you to offer services in building client’s lead magnet funnels, email automations and beyond.

If you need to develop your email marketing knowledge and learn how to do it confidently for clients, enroll today in the self-study version of the Unicorn Digital Marketing Assistant School.

-Emily, Digital Marketing Consultant and Implementer

Emily Reagan is a mom of four, milspouse, freelance digital marketer and Virtual Assistant coach who has helped 400 go-getters, including military spouses, stay-at-home moms, and professional women learn in-demand skills and find flexible remote work as digital marketing assistants and specialists. She’s shared 2,000+ job leads with her freelance marketers & VA community.

Ask her any questions over on Insta @emilyreaganpr

“I help smart women learn the in-demand digital marketing strategies and profitable tech skills to get hired as a unicorn digital marketing assistant.“

3 ways we can work together:

Unicorn Digital Marketing Assistant School with Emily Reagan

1. Do you need to acquire digital marketing implementation skills and build your workflows so you can solidly put yourself out there for work? Check out the Unicorn Digital Marketing Assistant School. (It only opens once a year so jump on the waitlist now!… I also share job leads with my students so it’s a gateway for anyone who wants to build a freelance business that gives them flexibility and meaningful work). You can also choose to go through the self-study program now. Enroll here.

2. Already doing the work and have clients? But need more clients and a better referral network? Apply for our Digital Marketer’s Workgroup. This is a tight-knit community of freelancers like you, supporting each other. Plus I’ve shared 2000+ job opportunities with this community.

3. Need to hire a Unicorn Digital Marketing Assistant? Submit your job opportunity here. I’ll share with my workgroups totally free.

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Yes, you really can work online.

Feeling overwhelmed and not sure how you can work from home and build your own online digital marketing business? Take a deep breath – you can do this. Start here with my list of 10 popular tasks that online businesses need help with the most!

These are the tasks that new clients are constantly asking for help with, and skills that they really need to find in a virtual assistant. Get access to this free download right now. Then make sure your own VA toolkit is up-to-date and relevant, and decide where you might need to invest in new growth and development for your biz.

⚡️Related Podcast Playlist: Copywriting Series

Listen to my Unicorns Unite Podcast where I interview copywriters and hone into their stories, best advice, and copywriting tricks that have made them successful.

Copywriting Series

Copywriting Series · Playlist · 7 songs · 1 likes

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | iHeartRadioAmazon

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Emily Reagan is a jill-of-all trades when it comes to digital marketing and techie skills. She’s worked as a behind-the-scenes digital marketing implementor and strategist for a decade for online biz owner clients.

She’s a mom of four, Air Force wife, and founder of the Unicorn Digital Marketing Assistant School, where she teaches smart women the in-demand, highly-coveted digital marketing skills to get flexible, online work.

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