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WC 013: The Snotty Side of Re-Engagement

Phil Powis
Phil Powis
9 min read

Let’s talk about re-engagement campaigns. There’s nothing more polarizing when it comes to automated email sequences.

Here’s a reply I recently got in response to my latest attempt:

emails like this are well-intentioned by also ... kind of snotty. I’ve been swamped for a good bit, but I love your content, these things are pretty seasonal for me. However, now, you are kicking me off your list if I don’t reply (which of course, I’m replying to.) I used to do this too, then, it occurred to me that there isn’t any way in hell i’d talk to someone in person like this, and I tested it. By not cleaning my un-opens for over a year, my open rates remained exactly the same. That was a split test. Half cleaned, half not cleaned for a year. Zero difference

Now, before I proceed, let me start by saying that this reply is from someone I deeply respect, and appreciate having on my list. In fact, their willingness to call it like they see it is one of the things i appreciate most about the engagements I’ve had with them via social media and email. We’re not close, but it’s someone I’d like to get to know better.

So, choosing to share their reply isn’t any sort of knock on their line of thinking, as it’s quite sound, and valid from quite a few different angles.

Here’s a second reply I received earlier this week:

100% best newsletter in my inbox, and I follow some great email marketers ...

Ok, so I admit, I had to share this one in the mix because it made me not only blush, but also freeze up a bit about my ability to keep this party train going. It also made me damn proud.

So two very different responses that both have me questioning the place for re-engagement campaigns in 2022.

But there’s something that these two replies share in common, that has me lit up with synapses firing.

Do you see it?

In both cases, they’ve sparked a legit conversation.

And for me that’s what it’s all about.

You wouldn’t be reading this email today if not for a reader’s willingness to engage and share their thoughts, creating a ripple effect of collective mindshare.

At present, I’m personally committed to replying to each and every person who uses their precious and limited attention to send me a message.


Because I care about open rates and clicks far less these days than asking the question “did this week’s newsletter spawn a meaningful connection IRL that moves things out of passivity and into a space that allows for both me and my reader to grow?"

Thats the juice for me. The special sauce, if you will.

And therefore, to use an analogy, I care deeply about tending the garden, planting new seeds, pulling the weeds, and attempting to check in thoughtfully on the progress of those efforts so that something intentional can grow.

Our time is limited, and we need to be conscious of how we spend it, and who we spend it with.

I desire the type of email list that when I scan through it, I recognize more names than not.

I’m not saying this is “the way” for everyone.

It’s certainly not.

I generally don't believe in blanket prescriptions.

But it’s the way for me. And I’m going to honor that.

So here are a few intentions I have for being here with you:

1. I will show my respect for you and will never assume myself to be better than you, or to hold the “secret key” to your success.

2. I will offer you every opportunity to feel appreciated and heard as someone who is giving your attention in a time when we are all drowning in our inboxes, and are “swamped”.

3. I will ask you to be present with me and really consider the ideas I share, as well as reflect on if my newsletter on the whole is a support to your life and business.

4. If my newsletter is not valuable on the whole, I’d encourage you to unsubscribe (even if we know each other personally). Instead, add my email address to your contact list, or follow me on Twitter. Don't let our personal relationship hold you hostage from hitting the unsubscribe button. No FOMO. Give your attention to those things that really serve what’s needed for you to grow, and make you feel good.

5. If I feel I can help you in some way, I will tell you, unapologetically - whether directly, or via the newsletter.

6. I’ll seek out ways for us to take this conversation “into real life”, and would encourage you to do the same. If there’s something you want to know, ask it. If there’s something you like or dislike, let me know. If you have something you would like me to share, tell me about it. If you think we’d be well served by having a chat, let’s talk about that. If something I says triggers you, I’d love the opportunity to have a dialog about it.

7. I don’t presume to have earned your trust at any given juncture, so take the time you need to decide if this newsletter benefits you, and create space to really think about that. I’d encourage you to do the same for every email you receive. Maybe even make a regular practice of de-cluttering around all forms of attention-giving in your life.

Let’s stop treating email like it’s this anonymous “arms-length” mode of communication.

While there’s nothing inherently wrong with that approach, that’s not my intention for The Wizard’s Chest.

(side note: fun story about the first documented spam email of all time)

My vision is far more that of a co-created experience, facilitating growth-oriented connections, celebrating in our shared victories, the cultivation of ideas, and generally just spreading some good vibes.

A bit lofty?


But thats the standard I’m holding.

Sending Love.

Here's What I Want to Share This Week:

  1. Last call on our ETE "Friends and Family" mini-launch: Engineering the Enrollment. Giving non-marketing-sociopaths (and fellow mayors of awkward-ville) the tools, frameworks and strategies to lead powerful enrollment conversations that feel good AND convert.

    Not the last time we'll be sharing ETE, but today marks the end of this pricing, with a pretty solid bonus package of offerings.
2. We officially wrapped AI 2.0 on Tuesday. What a fun ride, with such a diverse, powerful group of students. We'll be back in July, in the meantime, I'm taking a needed vacation. A big virtual hug of gratitude to those of you who took the leap and showed up fully these past 12 weeks. You stories inspire me. The wisdom you bring helps me grow in my own teaching capacities.
3. Ry and I are guest speakers at this years Evergreen Summit, hosted by Jack Born and Deadline Funnel. This is sort of a big deal for me, as I generally prefer to keep things low key, and haven't historically done a lot of appearances like this. But I'm leaning in, and I think the message is a needed one for the current climate of online business for coaches, course creators, and consultants. Specifically, we'll be sharing about how our Automated Intimacy model helps boost sales, and two powerful playbooks to support webinar attendance show-up rates, and follow-up. The summit is a completely virtual event featuring over 30 A-list marketing experts who will be sharing their proven strategies for building, optimizing and scaling evergreen funnel systems. Super honored to be on the ticket alongside some really smart people:

Who We are Celebrating This Week: Brad Stewart, Au.D.

Brad is a powerhouse.

We connected a few years back when I was still running my private practice success accelerator.

He is a Doctor of Audiology, and at the time was running a successful private practice outside of Dallas.

Brad was also seeing the opportunity that Facebook and automated conversion ecosystems had created to expand marketshare, so we did some great work together tuning his practice systems up.

Since then, Brad has gone on to not only sell his practice, but launch a sales SaaS business, his own automation services for private practice owners, and now is offering business consulting through his new venture, 1Life Consulting.

Beyond his business success, I appreciate Brad's conscious approach to his own sales and marketing endeavors. Just yesterday, we were chatting about his commitment to selling with integrity and evolving beyond the use of the typical tactics used by so many in the spirit of "making the sale".

Congrats Brad on all the epic wins, life transitions, and this new chapter you are embarking on in helping other practice owners to scale their own efforts.

Connect with Brad on LinkedIn

This Week's Curiosities :

Newsletter OS (Link)

A thoughtful, beautiful system for organizing your weekly newsletter, built on Notion. I've been using this as an organizer for my writing, and link curation for the past few weeks. Newsletter OS has supported both efficiency, and a sense of calm in the process.

I can't recommend this template enough, whether you are just getting started with a newsletter, or have been at it for some time.

Beyond the organizational templates, Janel offers a bunch of extra resources that will help you maximize your efforts.

Summari (Link)

A very interesting AI use-case for content-research. Simply supply the tool a link and it will create a cliff-notes style summary.

This is a great way to get to the main idea quickly, when researching a new topic. Summari also has a great plugin for Twitter to quickly summarize shared links by the people you follow.

Free while in beta.

Google Maps Driving Simulator (Link)

This share is pure-play for a rainy day. It's sort of Microsoft Flight Simulator for driving. Plug in a starting address and cruise!

Bonus points if you can guess where I'm driving in this snapshot.

People are the new platforms (Link)

An interesting take on who we are online, and how Web3 may serve to break our dependence on Web2 platforms (like Facebook, etc) who have essentially turned us into attention share-croppers over the past decade.

There's also discussion around emergent opportunity to control your social record, your contributions, content, and how you build and interact with communities.

Not the lightest read, but you might find some interesting food for thought. (Link)

A disciplined way for dealing with email.

I originally came across this a handful of years ago, but it resurfaced somehow this past week, and it still felt current. encourages you to keep all your email replies brief, in service to shortening your reply time, and reducing inbox clutter for others.

I'm curious, have you ever considered a practice like this?

I'm also curious as to the origin story of this site, so if anyone knows, please enlighten me :)

Memorable Quote:

"There’s a power in every moment—a chance for happiness if you look for it. And it’s every person’s responsibility to find those moments and cherish them"

- May Parker, The Amazing Spider-Man's aunt

With appreciation,


Check It Out On Twitter 👇👇

Come join the conversation on Twitter, it’s much more fun with friends.

wizards chest archives

Phil Powis

Co-Founder & Chief Strategist, Sacred Business Flow

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