Email marketing is certainly a marketing methodology that has seen better times, but it still remains one of the most widely used types of promotion.
Consumer buying habits have changed in recent years, and while in the early 2000s people carefully read every single email, currently the percentage of people who open an e-mail message has dropped dramatically.
The percentage drops even further if we talk about newsletters or emails of the commercial genre. This is because social media and influencers have clearly monopolized digital communication.
Despite declining numbers, email marketing still has its value and is able to ensure a higher conversion rate than other approaches.
One of the best techniques behind email marketing is the Soap Opera Sequence. Let's find out together how it works, what its steps are, and how to define a proper email sequence.
Does it still make sense to make use of email marketing?
Email marketing is a category of direct marketing that goes to combine different strategies to build email communications with the purpose of sending promotional information or building brand-customer loyalty.
Among the advantages offered by email marketing is definitely the fact that it can be easily measured in terms of return on investment (ROI) and also ensures better performing results in regard to user conversion than other web marketing channels.
On the other hand, consumers still like to find in email the newsletters of the brands they prefer as they perceive a sense of inclusiveness and immediacy typical of direct communication and can receive continuous updates on services and special offers.
Many recognize in the customization the real strength of email marketing and is also the reason why it has still managed to retain its ability to convert.
Here then, despite a decline in the open rate of newsletters and commercial emails, email marketing is able to make a difference and strengthen the relationship with customers.
However, the work does not end with the sending of one or more emails since the whole sequence must be well structured and have precise objectives. This is where a popular technique such as the Soap Opera Sequence.
What is the Soap Opera Sequence
Those who are involved in email marketing will surely be familiar with the Soap Opera Sequence technique, the name of which is based on the seriality of productions for television, where each episode is designed to generate "hype," that is, anticipation to see what will happen in the next one.
Also known by the acronym SOS, the Soap Opera Sequence thus echoes the main feature of TV series, namely, the division into episodes and seasons.
Those who are used to working in the marketing industry know how essential it is to Capture the interest and keep the attention of their audience alive.
A well-told story can thus be the ideal solution to win over the target audience in an immediate way. Using a Soap Opera Sequence is quite simple: just define a sequence of emails as if they were episodes of a TV series.
Typically, a Soap Opera Sequence is. Consisting of 4-5 emails sent in succession according to a precise logical thread. Simply put, each email has a clear message to convey to entice consumers to open as many emails as possible.
With such an approach, you can promote your product while building rapport with potential customers. The key is to identify the right sequence of messages with notions that will come in handy for the recipient and stimulate expectations.
How a Soap Opera Sequence is structured.
To create a Soap Opera Sequence, it is not enough to just send emails. For the sequence to be effective, it should adhere to some well-defined characteristics. If, for example, we plan to send 5 emails, it is a good habit to send one per day until the sequence is exhausted.
This will make it easier to maintain a high threshold of attention to our narrative by including Explicit references to the next day's email To pique curiosity and fuel anticipation.
It is also true, however, that emails are not TV series, but they are often mistreated and left on the sidelines without even opening them. So, basic attention span is already low, which is why those who have to develop a Soap Opera Sequence cannot let too much time pass between sending one email and the next.
Let's see what are the steps to achieve an effective and performing Soap Opera Sequence.
- Set the stage: The first stage is what is known as "setting the stage." The first email serves as the business card and is vital for initial contact with the customer. You need to set up a good introduction and give a good reason why to open the email. In addition, you need to surprise the consumer with something mysterious and inspiring, and to do this, you should rely on storytelling that can engage the reader. In conclusion, refer back to the next email via an appropriate hook;
- Drama: this is one of the main elements of the sending sequence, that is, the drama. It involves talking about the difficulties found, but not saying how they were overcome. In short, it is enough to create the much cherished "cliffhanger" of the TV series, the peak moment to strike the customer's attention. By the second email, the reader will have begun to get to know you and empathize with the brand.
- Hitting the wall: With the third email, the time has come to satisfy consumer curiosity. Explaining the solution used to solve the problem. You will then be able to satisfy his curiosity, but without already revealing everything. The name of this stage refers to the fact that you need to hit and knock down the wall of the problem that has previously presented itself to the recipient;
- Hidden benefits: The fourth email aims to list the benefits had as a result of the solution found. At this time more details can be given about the product/service by going on to explain Why it can be useful and what benefits it offers. Therefore, not only the obvious benefits are to be described, but also the hidden ones that really make a difference. At that stage, there should be maximum connection between brand and reader;
- Call to Action: In the fifth and final email of the Soap Opera Sequence, the sending of the sequence is concluded. You have to push the customer to action, and you usually rely on the urgency technique which is based on implying that the solution is only available for a limited time or in minimal quantities. At the end, you can insert your call to action.
How to devise a proper Soap Opera Sequence
Develop A strong connection with the recipient of the emails is the secret to the success of a good Soap Opera Sequence. That is why 4 out of 5 planned emails are finalized for just that purpose. All that will be done is to spend time with the reader, always keeping the target audience in mind.
It is important to write texts that are simple, clear and can get straight to the point. At the same time, you should avoid catch phrases and should not put the person's name in the subject line of the email.
The easiest way to manage a Soap Opera Sequence properly is to have an automation tool for such sequences since doing it manually is really complicated. There are so many tools and software on the market (over 400) to choose from that differ in functionality and user type.
One of the most popular and appreciated is undoubtedly ActiveCampaign, a platform that provides various components to automate everything. The user interface is very intuitive and allows anyone to create email sequences from scratch or by taking advantage of predefined templates.
ActiveCampaign is also suitable for those who want to save money as it has very low costs. There are different subscription categories starting from $9 per month for 500 contacts.
Another very interesting software is HubSpot, a very comprehensive program that offers email marketing, marketing automation and much more. The tool can be inserted as a plugin into WordPress, speeding up and simplifying the sending of email campaigns.
For small companies there are free subscription plans, while larger companies with thousands of contacts can rely on paid offers. This is why HubSpot is mostly chosen by B2B service companies or marketing agencies.
In conclusion, it is safe to say that email marketing is still one of the most important strategies today, despite what the numbers say. To make the most of it, it is a good idea to structure thoughtful Soap Opera Sequences that are targeted to the purpose and target audience.