Ryan's 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 at the 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 great offer emails—offers they can't resist. But without established trust, this can feel pushy and confusing to a customer.
And that's not good for long-term marketing success.
In this article, we'll show you how to use the SOAP Opera Sequence - a tool developed by Russel Brunson - to systematically build trust with your customers and move them through the buyer's journey.
What is the 'SOAP Opera' Email Sequence?
Also known as the SOS method, Soap Opera Email Sequence was created by Russell Brunson, the author of the wildly popular Dotcom Secrets, and is a unique and incredibly effective series of 5 emails used to "warm-up" your new leads and email subscribers. The soap opera sequence focuses on building a relationship with a new lead, creating trust and interest in you personally and your brand.
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 8 pm every Thursday for the next episode.
We all need to see how our favorite character, the one we've come to love survives the next challenge.
The soap opera sequence of emails operates exactly the same way. Your company is the main character and by the end of the email sequence, these new leads are going to be ready and waiting for what you have to offer them.
Here's a closer look into each of the 5 emails in the soap opera sequence:
Email 1: Set the Stage
Lights. Camera. Action!
If the first scene of the show is boring, you change the channel. The same applies to the first email in your soap opera sequence. It can't be boring. It needs to form an immediate connection with your user. Try writing your content like a screenwriter. This first email is critical to setting the stage for the rest of the story. Your welcome email must do more than just make your subscribers feel welcome - it must make them interested.
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. The point here is not length, (although you can find a great article about how long your marketing emails should be here) but to continue to tease your prospects' curiosity. Start with a backstory. 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. It's important that you deliver the narrative first before diving into the secret you mentioned in the last email. Not only does it keep the suspense building, but it's also one of the most effective ways to build rapport.
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 sequence. The users are hooked and want to know more.
They've been introduced to your product but more importantly, they know and 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 next email ties right into your business. The real estate agent can now explain how he came to build the amazing website that showcases homes like no other: "My epiphany was that I needed a website that..."
Users now not only understand the value of the product but they have an emotional connection to it.
Email 4: The Hidden Benefits
The next step in the soap opera sequence is designed to hone in on your customer persona. The reader now believes that your product works.
But have they realized how it can work for them?
Using your 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!" At this stage, you can go ahead and provide links for them to contact you and purchase your product.
If you played your soap opera sequence right, oftentimes, readers are prepared to do that right now. If not, you've still got one more trick up your sleeve.
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 soap opera sequence, but it isn't the last email they will receive from you. By now, readers will be familiar with your product and will have connected on a personal level with you and your brand. In this SOS email, be sure to include a great offer with a sense of urgency. Consider a mid-funnel offer like a scheduled webinar. "Sign up by 5 pm 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.
People Don't Buy Your Product, They Buy You
We've just covered one of the most effective ways you can use email marketing to nurture your leads. Now, it's time for you to create your own soap opera email sequence. Remember, it's not just about selling your product, it's about selling you - a Mac was just another computer until the world fell in love with Steve Jobs.
Everyone knew the products and everyone liked the story, but everyone loved the guy behind it.
While Jobs is no longer with us, regardless of the great inventions they produce, or the revenue they generate over the next 10 years, Apple will always be Steve Jobs.
The soap opera email sequence is a spectacular tool for building trust with your target audience and turning your product into the next "Must Have" on your target persona's list.
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