Ghostwriting Emails: Don’t Forget the Why


Ghostwriting is more than books. It’s also writing email campaigns. And when I ghostwrite emails, I remember that you can’t build and sustain a relationship and keep subscriber engagement numbers high via email if your readers don’t understand why you’re sending them. I have found that about in 95 percent of the time, people tend to focus on writing something catchy and clever and forget to clearly answer the WHY: Why are you sending these people these emails? If the recipients don’t understand that, you’ve lost them. They won’t read, won’t heed the call to action, and you’ve lost the revenue that could have gone with it.

What you need to remember is that the emails need to be more personal, and that starts by clearly explaining why you’re sending them, and what value people get by reading them. That helps readers develop realistic expectations.

According to the book “Writing Without Bullshit; Boost Your Career By Saying What You Mean,” poor writing costs businesses an estimated $396 billion annually, A good example is Adidas. In 2017, it ran a campaign called “Congrats, you survived the Boston Marathon.” The big problem was four years earlier, there had been a bombing there that killed three and injured more than 250. Adidas made a bad word choice and took a big hit as a result. 

Furthermore, one survey in the Harvard Business Review reported 81% of people who write for work agree that poorly written materials is a waste of time.

Using emails in your marketing can be lucrative. That’s why people hire ghostwriters to do it. For every dollar you spend on email marketing, you get an estimated ROI of between $20 and $55, depending on the source. But you lose ROI when you don’t start by clearly communicating the why. 

I make emails more personal, so I always explain why they’re being sent. That way, readers will feel like you’re talking to them. Since spam is so impersonal, a personal touch keeps them engaged, and you avoid accusations of being a spammer. You’ll also decrease the number of people that unsubscribe or don’t respond to your call to action, and that increases your revenue potential. 

When I ghostwrite email campaigns, I follow a five-step process:

  1. I start by asking this question: Why am I being asked to send this email? I must be told of the company’s your goals and purposes for sending it.
  2. Once that’s answered, I structure the writing so it’s personalized. I start by using second person. Research by Dynamic yield found 71% of consumers say a personalized experience influences their decision to open and read emails.
  3. I make each email short, no more than five sentences, and the subject line is just 50-60 characters.
  4. I avoid jargon. It alienates the readers and makes them feel like it’s a lie.
  5. I make sure every email provides value. I always emphasize benefits over features. Remember people are only interested in what’s in it for them. 

In the end, whether you write the emails yourself or hire a ghostwriter in Austin, you have to treat the reader’s time as more valuable than your own, and that means explaining why you want them to take the time and read your emails: Because you’ve told them why first and then the who, what, where, when and how.

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