111 – Should we use the magic email?

111 – Should we use the magic email?

In this episode:

Discussion – Should we use the magic email?

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In this discussion episode with David and I, we discuss an idea called “The Magic Email”. It’s a really simple email that you can send to get something… anything back from a client who has gone AWOL.

Simply, the email is designed to be deployed with the minimum of effort from you, but in return you’ll get clarity if the email is replied to as well as if the email is not replied to!

The email goes like this:
“Since I have not heard from you on this, I have to assume your priorities have changed”. That’s it! No, really… that – is – it!

I’m sure that some expert in semiotics would be able to pull this apart in a very clever way, and tell you of all the subtle conflicts and influences that this email creates in the recipient. Well, I’m not an expert in semiotics and so I’m just going to tell you that the idea is to jolt your client into replying. You’re pushing them to get back to you by appealing to their better nature; the nature that feels bad about not replying sooner, the nature that wants to ensure that you understand that they’ve just been a little busy to get back to you.

You are subtlety implying that you’re going to cut off ties with them if they don’t respond, but let’s be clear… if you read that email back, you’re actually saying nothing of the sort.

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If they reply then you now have reconnected with them and are back in business, and if they don’t reply, well then you’re clear that they were never going to reply and you can move on without the need to look over your shoulder, wondering if ‘that’ client deserves another email in a few weeks time. Your time. Time that you’re not really wanting to waste!

It’s genius!

Get a reply – great. Don’t get a reply – great. That’s two ‘greats’ from one email!

I wonder though if the modern way of communicating has got us to the point where transactional emails are optional. In the olden days when people wrote letters on paper and put a stamp on them and went to the post office, you’d feel a certain moral obligation to reply to that. You were holding the fruits of someones time in your hand and you knew that this had taken time. That knowledge lead you to pick up your own paper and do the decent thing.

Now though, we all use email and it’s trivially easy to do. I have a post office in my pocket, and so do you. I can create the letter of yesteryear in a few seconds. We all know this and so the communication seems cheaper somehow. Yes, I know that it still had to be written, but we all know that our inboxes are filled with non-human emails, we know that even robots can do email. So we pay it less respect and have almost zero excitement when looking at our inbox.

With all that said, I wonder then if email / tweets and all the other myriad ways that we have to communicate now have lead us to a place where we see ‘not replying’ as the norm. Unless something is truly worth it to us, we hit delete or just ignore it because we know that it’s not a proper, paper letter after all.

I don’t know. Perhaps I’m going too far, because the people who deploy the magic email swear by it. They get replies, which certainly means that it’s doing its job. So long as we understand that not receiving a reply is not a bullet proof admission by the client that they no longer want to work with you, more of a lack of a nod in your direction. If you can work with that, then this thing is great and worth trying for sure.

I think that you should adapt this, season it to taste, make it your own and try out the magic email. Let us know in the comments or over on the WP Builds Facebook group how it worked out!

Nathan Wrigley

Nathan Wrigley

Nathan writes posts and creates audio about WordPress on WP Builds and WP Tavern. He can also be found in the WP Builds Facebook group, and on Mastodon at wpbuilds.social.

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