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  • Writer's pictureScott Murray

What the Ghostbusters Can Teach Us About Email Marketing

The new Ghostbusters movie comes out this week, and as the StruggleNation guys say - I'm there on Day One.

As someone who remembers seeing the original film in 1984, it's pretty crazy to think the franchise is still popular and making movies in 2024.

When Ghostbusters Afterlife came out in 2021, there were many callbacks to the original, including the TV spot Peter, Ray and Egon recorded to promote their services.

Now, it's not uncommon for companies to write emails that sound like radio or TV spots (when you read them) or use marketing copy from promotional content to shape their email copy.

People are used to seeing email copy like that.

  1. It's not personal.

  2. It can convey a selfish message.

  3. It doesn't genuinely feel like a two-way communication offering a meaningful reason to respond.

If the Ghostbusters wanted to use their TV spot to send an email to Dana Barrett, it might read like this:

Subject Line: We’re Ready to Believe You!

Hi Dana,

Are you troubled by strange noises in the middle of the night? Do you experience feelings of dread in your basement or attic? Have you or your family ever seen a spook, specter or ghost?

We have innovative and scientifically developed tools to catch the ghosts and remove them from the premises, including:

• P.K.E. Meters – Able to track and find the paranormal

• Proton Packs – Like an eclectic lasso to hold the ghost in place

• Trap device – Pulls the ghost in so we can safely remove it

If you’re experiencing paranormal activity, don’t wait another minute—call us. Our courteous and efficient staff is on call twenty-four hours a day to serve all your supernatural elimination needs.

We’re ready to believe you!

The Ghostbusters


One of the best things the Ghostbusters could do is to consider how their typical customer might feel about a ghost problem. In this case, we have the advantage of seeing the movie, so we know how Dana felt when she visited the Ghostbusters' headquarters.

  • She was scared.

  • She seemed afraid they would think she was crazy.

  • Despite her experience, she still didn't "believe" in certain paranormal ideas.

The Ghostbusters could create an email that makes a humanized connection based on what they know about the common customer. For example:

Subject Line: Dana, do you believe in ghosts?

Hi Dana,

People can have many reasons for believing in ghosts, but today, I’d like to ask you about yours.

• Maybe you’re hearing noises at night

• Maybe you’ve seen something that looked like a ghost

• Or perhaps you get this uneasy or cold feeling sometimes

It can be tough to talk about, but you don’t have to spend the rest of your life worrying or wondering.

My name is Dr. Peter Venkman. I am a scientist and paranormal professional. My team and I specialize in investigating and eliminating paranormal disruptions in people’s lives.

We’re here to listen, and our discussion is completely confidential.

We believe in ghosts, and we’re ready to believe you.


Pete 555-2368

One of the other improvements in the email is that it came from Peter himself, not from the team or the whole company.

Dana can feel like Peter already understands her, which can put her at some ease if she makes the call.

So to re-cap:

The first email example:

  • Read like a commercial with a one-way communication asking Dana to call the company

  • Featured copy that a consumer could easily conclude was sent to an extensive list

  • Failed to demonstrate any knowledge of a potential customer

  • Concluded like a pitch from a whole organization, logo or entity

The second example:

  • Read like an email starting a two-way conversation

  • Attempted to calm specific fears or concerns of a potential customer

  • Conveyed more of a message of help than a sell

  • Concluded with the name of a real person

The second email is a solid example of a humanized email or, more importantly, an email from a real person.

And if you've just experienced a scary situation with a ghost or a demon dog in your refrigerator...a message from a real person could be a really good thing.


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