Growth marketing

Using Soap Opera Email to Tell Your Story And Convert Leads

Written by Ryan Scott / June 7, 2016

is the Head of Marketing at Lean Labs. His experience ranges from higher education to SMBs and tech startups. When not doing digital marketing, he's sure to be enjoying some kind of nerdy pastime.

What's the best way to engage leads through email marketing that are top of the funnel? Occasionally, the opportunity arises to market to a group of leads that fit your customer persona but have very little awareness of your brand and even less of a relationship with your company.

It's tempting to reach out to them with a great offer—one they can't resist. But without established trust, this can appear pushy and even confusing to a customer.

And that's not good for long-term marketing success.

The 'SOAP Opera' Email SequenceLean-Labs_SOS-Email-Marketing-1

Also known as the SOS method, Soap Opera Email Sequences (thanks Russell Brunson) are a unique and incredibly effective series of 5 email messages used to "warm up" your brand new leads and email subscribers. The SOS message focuses on building a relationship with a new lead, creating trust and interest in you personally, along with your brand and product.

Everyone knows how a Soap Opera works, right?

Whether it is daytime TV or your favorite prime time thriller, you watch with bated breath until the last 5 minutes for the cliffhanger. We all know it's coming, week after week, and that's exactly what keeps you settling in at 8pm every Thursday for the next episode.

We all need to see how our favorite character, the one we've come to love and are rooting for, survives the latest challenge.

SOS email operates exactly the same way. Your company is the main character and by the end of the email sequence, these new leads are going be ready and waiting for what you have to offer them.

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Here's a closer look into each of the 5 emails in the sequence:

Email 1: Set the Stage

Lights. Camera. Action!

If the first scene of the show is boring, you change the channel. The same thought applies to the first email. It can't be boring and it needs to form an immediate connection with your user. This first email is the welcome email, so do that! Introduce yourself.

One great way to get them hooked is to present a secret.

Let's take an example from a real estate agent:

"I've been in the real estate business for over a decade. But it's only been in the last 5 years that my business has really exploded. I sell every house I list within 30 days. And do you want to know how I do it? I've got a secret and it works. Every. Single. Time. Watch for my next email and I'll share it with you."

Email 2: High Drama

Now you've got them hooked.

What is the mysterious and valuable trick to quickly selling your home?

Odds are high the user will open the next email and this is where the selling process begins. Start with a back story. In the case of the real estate agent above, the discussion could cover an economic downturn that really hurt the real estate business. The agent was in a dire position and managed to turn it around.

But wait! The user is waiting to hear that secret.

Here's how to start the sales process: Add a P.S. or a final paragraph and mention your product or service.

"And before I conclude, I realize it's time to share my secret. Take a look at my website and check out how I've managed to grow my business and sell my clients homes faster than any other real estate agent in town."

Email 3: The Epiphany

You're now halfway through the soap opera. The users are hooked and want to know more.

They've been introduced to your product but more importantly, they like you.

They want you to win and they want to learn how you overcame your problem and accomplished so much. It is time for the Epiphany email. This email ties right into your business. The real estate agent can explain how they came to build the amazing website that showcases homes like no other: "My epiphany was that I needed a website that..."

Users not only understand the value of the product but they have an emotional connection to it.

Email 4: The Hidden Benefits

This email is ideal for honing in on your customer persona. The reader now realizes your product works.

But have they realized how it can work for them?

Using customer persona as a starting point, list all of the ways your product can directly help your leads. This is the email where your reader starts thinking, "This is what I've needed all along!" Go ahead and provide links for them to contact you and purchase.

Oftentimes, readers are prepared to do that right now.

Email 5: The Call to Action

It's May Sweeps and everyone knows the cliffhanger is about to arrive.

How do we conclude the SOS?

This is the last email in the series, but it isn't the last email they will receive from you. By now, readers will be familiar with your product and connect on a personal level with you and your brand. Include a great offer and a sense of urgency. Consider a mid-funnel offer like a scheduled webinar. "Sign up by 5PM for a limited attendance webinar tomorrow."

We all know they'll hear from you again, but attaching a real sense of urgency can drive some readers through the sales funnel more quickly. And go ahead and ask for the sale! Construct a killer campaign around a serious offer and kick off the next phase of the buying process.

We've just covered one of the most compelling communication tools available in email marketing. Try it out! Remember, a Mac was just another computer until the world fell in love with Steve Jobs.

They loved the products, but everyone loved the story, they loved the guy even more.

While Jobs is no longer alive, and his friend Steve Cook is now running the show, Apple will never be Steve Cook. Regardless of the great inventions they produce, or the revenue they generate over the next 10 years, Apple will always be Steve Jobs.

SOS email is a spectacular tool for turning your product into the next "Must Have" on your target persona's list.

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