Email marketing is one of the most effective and affordable ways to connect with potential customers. Research shows that the average ROI on email marketing is 44%. That is impressive by any standard. Email marketing can help you create meaningful relationships with customers, build brand awareness, and increase revenue. When done well, email marketing should be an integral part of any online business strategy. With the right strategy in place, you can use emails to nurture leads, convert prospects into customers, and keep your current customers coming back for more.

The trick, of course, is to write marketing emails that engage your subscribers. One of the best ways to do that is by creating a soap opera sequence.

What Is a Soap Opera Sequence?

A soap opera sequence is a series of emails—the most common number is five—that uses drama and suspense to hook readers and drive sales.

That doesn’t mean you must resort to the melodrama typical in soap operas. Instead, it’s about engaging readers with a story and then using suspense-creating techniques to make them anticipate the following email.

The good news is that these sequences are easy to create. You need to understand how they work.

The Five Emails That Make Up a Soap Opera Sequence

The classic soap opera sequence consists of five emails. Each has a purpose. You can extend or truncate a soap opera sequence. But, for this article, we will stick with the classic structure.

Email #1: Setting the Stage

The first email is your opening scene. It’s where you introduce the audience to what you’re doing. The key is not to give too much away.

Usually, this involves telling the audience that you will share a secret with them. Tell them what the secret did for you and why you’re eager to share it. And at the end, drop a hint about what they can expect in your following email.

Email #2: Drama and Backstory

In the second email, you should drop back and provide some context for the big reveal. One common trick is to tell readers where you are before you discover your big secret—the one you will eventually share with them. (This doesn’t have to be a first-person story. Some of the most compelling sequences we’ve seen involved solving a problem for a client or family member.)

The backstory often involves a rock-bottom moment, the kind of thing screenwriters refer to as the “all is lost” moment. Don’t be afraid to use dramatic language. You want to emphasize how down you were so that you can wow them with your recovery.

Email #3: The Epiphany

This email is where you reveal your big epiphany—the moment you realize what you need to do to solve the problem. It might seem early to reveal it, but you don’t want to annoy people. You’ve promised them a big reveal, and you must give it to them.

You can wait until the very end of your email to reveal it. Then, offer a teaser where you let them know that in your following email, you’ll reveal more exciting information about the epiphany.

Email #4: Hidden Benefits

In the fourth email, you detail what your epiphany did to change things. You solved a problem, but you should play up the dramatic improvements.

Here again, use significant, dramatic language. You want people to be excited about what you’re selling.

Email #5: A Sense of Urgency

In your last email, you want to create a sense of urgency that makes people want to buy your product immediately. You can do that by setting a time limit on your offer.

Remember that you should include a call to action in every sequence email. However, this one should be the most direct. It’s where you push people to buy NOW so they don’t miss out.


A well-written soap opera sequence will convert like wildfire. That’s because it’s designed to play on subscribers’ emotions and create an irresistible sense of urgency to buy your product immediately.

For more high-powered marketing tips for your email, web, and social media campaigns, click here to learn about my done-for-you system.

Also, see my post on creating email newsletters.

Email Marketing