E-mail Marketing 101: The Soap Opera Sequence

E-mail marketing might seem a bit old school when it comes to getting your message out compared to newer methods like Facebook live. It has withstood through the test of time and is still considered one of the most inexpensive ways to engage with your audience because it’s the traffic you control.

The key to using email marketing effectively is to hold your audience’s interest. You have to make them excited to open your next email.

How do you do that in an age where attention spans are short and the options seem endless?

Create a soap opera sequence.

And, we’re not talking about handing your company to your competition. It’s a method of sprinkling a bit of drama and suspense to your emails.

What is a Soap Opera Sequence?

Generally, it is a series of five emails that are sent out over the course of five days to an email subscriber.

The sole purpose of a Soap Opera Sequence is to tell an emotional story similar to a TV Soap Opera but in an e-mail setting to build the know, like and trust factor. All while this is happening, your subscriber wants to be engaged and entertained.

You want to do this because eventually, you’ll be making offers to this audience of e-mail subscribers when they trust you.

For my own soap opera email sequence, I have 5 emails with one email sent out each day and I tell my story of how I started an online business. Where I was before I started, and where I am now.

Here’s typically what the 5-day email sequence looks like:

  • Day #1: Setting the stage
  • Day #2: Drama and backstory
  • Day #3: Epiphany
  • Day #4: Hidden benefits
  • Day #5: Urgency: Call to action also known as a CTA

Here’s what the e-mails look like broken down:

Email 1: Setting the stage

The first email in the sequence is the introduction. It lets the audience know what to expect in upcoming emails.

One of the most effective ways to build anticipation is to start your first email by promising to tell your audience a secret. It’s important to convey what the secret did for you and why you’re eager to share it.

You should always send the first email with a teaser telling people to be on the lookout for your next email.

E-mail 2: Drama and backstory

The second email in the sequence has to include a lot of drama to hook the reader. Many companies use this email to talk about a time when they were in trouble. Perhaps the market hit an all-time low and they thought that their company would fail.

The end of the second email should hint at what’s to come. In other words, it should let your audience know that you figured it out and saved your company – and you’re reading to tell them how you did it… next time.

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E-mail 3: Epiphany

The third email in a soap opera sequence is where you reveal the secret you discovered – the one that changed everything.

It might seem early to reveal the secret, but the trick here is not to be coy. You can reveal it, but you’ll also draw it out by letting them know that in your next email, you’ll share even more helpful information.

E-mail 4: Hidden benefits

The fourth email in the sequence should be focused on the hidden benefits of your product or service – the one that came to you when you had your epiphany.

The trick here is to make these hidden benefits truly hidden. They shouldn’t be things that your readers figured out as soon as they heard your epiphany. You have to spin them in such a way that this email feels like a revelation.

E-mail 5: Urgency: Call to action

The final email in a soap opera sequence is where you hit your readers with a strong, direct sales pitch. Every email in the sequence will include a call to action, but this email should entice them to act immediately on your offer.

Your E-mail list is the lifeblood of your business

If you connect your email autoresponder to your funnel and send out a welcome email sequence, this will enable you to start building a list of potential customers. This is traffic that you own, and no one can take that away from you.

If Facebook were to shut down tomorrow, we could all lose our connections in our groups in one fell swoop. If you’re being smart and being proactive in your business, your focus should be on collecting e-mails and connecting with your subscribers on a regular basis.

“Email marketing is 70% more effective than social media.”

With social media, you’re competing with everything else in someone’s feed. Social posts don’t live very long — you probably have just a few hours on Facebook where you’re actually at the top of somebody’s feed. It’s even shorter on Twitter, where posts last for about 18 minutes. So email marketing is definitely the better way to reach people in a memorable way.

Your Perfect Avatar

Before you get into writing any of these sequences, I just want to reiterate that it’s super-important to know who your perfect avatar is so you know exactly who you’re writing these emails to.

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If you have a business or already have a product or offer, then chances are you’ve at least thought about it. You need to take that step of actually creating customer profiles and writing out all the specific qualities of your avatar.

Make sure you’ve answered these questions:

  • Basic demographics:
    • Age?
    • Gender?
    • Ethnicity?
    • Education level?
    • Geographic location?
    • Relationship status?
    • Household income
  • Psychographics: Personality, values, attitudes, interests, lifestyle
    • What’s their personality like?
    • What are their 5 core values?
    • What are their hobbies?
    • What do they do for fun?
    • Do they have any favorite products?
    • Are they a mobile, desktop, or tablet person?
  • Biographics:
    • What industry are they currently in?
    • What’s their occupation?
  • Motivations
    • What are their main needs in their life?
    • What are the challenges they’re currently facing, or roadblocks they’re hitting?
    • What’s their #1 personal life goal / #1 professional goal?
    • What are their top 3 fears about starting an internet business?
  • Buyer Modality
    • Competitive: Competitive buyers want to perform smart, quick, and decisive actions as a competitive advantage.
    • Methodical: Methodical buyers review all technical information to assure themselves they’re making the right choice.
    • Spontaneous: Spontaneous buyers enjoy the thrill of a quick purchase and the perceived emotional benefit that it will generate.
    • Humanistic: Humanistic buyers are also motivated by emotion, but want to understand more about the organization they’re buying from and the individuals who comprise the organization.

In the video below, I share more in detail how to find your customer avatar and how to serve them.

Final words

The soap opera email sequence is important because it develops the know, like and trust factor with your subscribers.

This is something that typically can’t be gained just from reading a blog or watching one of your YouTube videos.

The know, like and trust factor sets the foundation for you to start to make offers to your products and services.

From there, it’s a matter of presenting products and solutions to an email subscriber’s problems that they can relate to.

You can then retain them as a lifelong loyal fan.

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