When you think about how to create the ultimate email marketing series that will help you to convert more customers, a soap opera probably isn’t the first thing that jumps to mind.
But hear us out. Soap operas are made to be gripping and keep you, the viewer, on your toes and guessing which melodramatic turn the plot will take next.
If you think about what you want to achieve in your email marketing, it’s pretty similar.
While you may not be killing off the villain only to have them return a few episodes later, you are trying to engage your audience and get them to a place where they’re invested in what you have to say and want to find out more about your offering.
That’s where the soap opera sequence comes in. If you’re on the lookout for a technique that is sure to enhance the way you communicate with your audience, this is not one to miss.
In this article, we’ll show you how you can replicate it yourself.
What is the soap opera sequence?
The soap opera sequence is a type of email marketing series designed to keep your subscribers on their toes, just like a good old-fashioned soap opera would.
The sequence goes as follows:
- Set the stage
- Create the drama
- Introduce an epiphany
- Showcase the unexpected benefits
- Create a sense of urgency
The point is that each email in the sequence builds on the last, adding a new layer to the story you’re telling and gradually increasing the sense of anticipation until you reach the climax – aka, the point at which your subscribers take action and convert.
Let’s take a look at each of the steps a little more closely.
Setting the stage
As any soap opera addict will already know, every good story needs a strong foundation. This allows us to suspend our disbelief as we follow complex plots that twist and turn.
In the context of your email series, setting the stage is all about introducing your subscribers to the problem that you’re going to help them solve.
You need to make sure that they can see themselves in the story and that they understand the gravity of the situation. This is what will suck them in and keep them reading until the very end.
For example, imagine that you’re selling a course on time management. In the first email of your soap opera sequence, you might introduce yourself as a character who was struggling to keep on top of their work and personal life. This will resonate with many of your subscribers who likely feel the same way.
Setting the stage email example:
“I worked hard to launch my freelance career and achieve my dream of doing the kind of work that matters most to me. I quickly found it wasn’t that simple. There never seemed to be enough hours in the day and I struggled to establish boundaries that to keep me on top of both my work and personal life. The result? I was constantly stressed and burnt out. Something had to give. That’s when I discovered a new approach that changed EVERYTHING. Stay tuned to find out what my silver bullet solution turned out to be.”
You could then go on to describe how this problem impacted different areas of your life, such as your relationships, health, and ability to progress in your career before you discovered a secret solution that solved all of these problems.
By the end of this email, you’ve created a cliffhanger and your subscribers should be thinking, “This is me! I need to find out what the solution to this problem is.”
Now that you have your subscribers hooked, it’s time to ramp up the drama. In a soap opera, this is the point at which things really start to get interesting. The plot thickens and the stakes get higher.
In your email, you need to share a rock bottom moment that your readers can empathise with and make them even more invested in finding a solution.
For example, going back to our time management course, you might describe how being disorganized caused you to miss important deadlines, alienate your friends and family, and lose out on opportunities.
Creating drama email example:
“I knew I needed radical change when I realised that my business wouldn’t survive without better time management. Imagine my horror when I counted up over 40 leads from the last six months that I could have taken on if I managed my time better. Missed opportunities wasn’t the only problem: I was struggling to get ahead of important deadlines, and because I couldn’t find enough time to socialise, I was alienating friends and family in the process. After weeks of research and testing different time-management methods, I discovered the transformative power of the Eisenhower Matrix.”
This is your chance to really tug at their heartstrings and paint a picture of what their life could be like if they don’t take action.
Of course, no soap opera would be complete without a lightbulb moment where the protagonist has a sudden realization that changes everything.
In your email soap opera sequence, this is the point at which you reveal the solution to the problem you’ve been building up.
For example, our time-strapped protagonist might have a lightbulb moment when they stumble across a time management course that helps them to take control of their schedule and get their life back on track.
As well as introducing the solution, this is also your opportunity to start hinting at the benefits of taking action.
In our example, you might talk about how the course helped you to get promoted, spend more time with your family, and travel the world.
The epiphany email example:
“When I was struggling with time management, it felt like there were always more questions than answers. But then one day a friend told me about a time management approach that had changed her life—she said all the pieces started falling into place after implementing it. Now I can take on more clients while still having time to spend time on my other passions, whether travelling the world or spending time with family. Whenever things get tough in my business or personal life, just remembering what I’ve learned helps put my mind at ease!”
Remember to include the steps that led you to your epiphany to keep your copy engaging and believable. Overall, you should aim to create a sense of relief – yes the struggle was difficult, but when you found your solution, it was all worth it.
The unexpected benefits
A soap opera plot is never as simple as it first appears and there are always plenty of twists and turns along the way. The same is true of your email soap opera sequence.
Your subscribers might think they know what the solution is, but there’s always more to learn. In this section of your email, you need to showcase the hidden benefits of taking action and how it can transform their lives in ways that they never even imagined.
For example, our time management course protagonist might not just discover how to use their time more efficiently, but also how to set better boundaries with other people and say ‘no’ to requests that would drain their time and energy.
Unexpected benefits email example:
“Once I implemented the strategies I learned, I saw my business grow significantly over the next few months. I started to build an income that supported the lifestyle I’d always strived for and saw that number triple by the end of the year. Today, my freelancing business serves over 1000 clients and £70,000 annual income. I’ve managed to completely pay off my student loans, a goal that I never thought I’d achieve. Now, I teach others how to take control of their lives and income in my own time management course.”
This is your opportunity to showcase the great results your solution has to offer and get your subscribers even more excited about taking action.
The final email in your series is all about creating a sense of urgency and convincing your subscribers to take action now.
The way to do this is by creating a sense of fear.
Don’t worry – this isn’t as sinister as it sounds! Instead, it’s about drawing your readers’ attention to things like scarcity or time limitations to create a sense of FOMO (fear of missing out).
This will help to push your audience who are yet to bite over the edge and convince them that they need to take action now if they want to achieve the same great results that you have.
And remember, this is just the beginning
Your soap opera doesn’t have to end here! Once your subscribers have taken action, you can continue to provide value and keep them engaged by sharing more soap opera-style stories, case studies, and results-driven content.
But for now, it’s time to sit back and enjoy the drama…
To find out more about achieving your business goals with email marketing, get in touch.