Every marketer worth their weight in ROI knows that staying in their comfort zone is a terrible idea. The key to keeping brands alive and thriving is to continually adjust tactics, try out new things and understand that what worked two years ago (or even two months ago) might not be good enough today.
This is why, one of our core values as a company is to learn from others and to find ways to adapt their lessons to our work. It satisfies our curious nature, and lets us keep our clients’ brands engaged with experimentation- despite the fact that we all sucked at chemistry in high school.
Russell Brunson’s book, “Dotcom Secrets,” recently blew our minds- so much so that it became required reading for our team members, which meant that several copies of the book travelled great distances to educate Motionites around the globe. We became so obsessed that some of us didn’t wait until reaching to Secret #9 to start applying their tactics.
The tip that really hooked us was the Soap Opera Sequence.
In a Soap Opera Sequence, you create and automate a series of emails in which you develop a narrative of struggle against adversity that connects the reader to your buyer persona and their pain points. In the end, you reveal your product as the solution they’ve been searching for all along.
The goal of this sequence is to keep your recipients engaged with the story, not only because of the narrative interest but because they can find it directly relatable. Instead of a blunt, “salesy” impression, they feel like you’ve put yourself in their shoes, making you come off as an ally guiding them to the solution instead of a checkered suit salesman pushing an agenda.
Today, we’d like to share four lessons with you that we’ve learned from our experiments with the Soap Opera Sequence (or SOS, from now on). We hope they inspire you to give it a shot and write your own story!
1. You Can Craft a Story For Anything!
Yes, anything. If you’re racking your brain thinking how to write a heroic journey for your own brand, consider this: you were in this journey before it existed, right?
By the way, when we say “heroic journey,” we’re not being melodramatic- we’re talking about the “Hero’s Journey” that mythologist Joseph Campbell defined when he analyzed the myths, legends, and narratives of hundreds of civilizations to find the connective tissue of stories that all modern Western cultures share in their collective unconscious. Mastering how to tap into these shared concepts is key to mastering the relatability of any narrative- the foundation of being an effective marketer.
How did your brand come to be? We bet you didn’t just jump out of bed one morning thinking that you were going to start your own e-marketplace for vegan diapers “just because,” for example. Something drew you to do it. Whether you started your brand to solve a problem or to help others, your experience of building it is a story of its own- and one your readers will relate to.
Once you have it in hand, remember that your SOS story needs to have the following elements:
- A introduction, in which you set the stage for what the reader will get in the coming days.
- A dramatic, relatable backstory your reader may be experiencing. (The hero’s Departure)
- An Eureka! Moment (The hero’s Initiation)
- An ending in which you present your brand as the solution, its unique benefits and how they work, and invite your readers to try it out. (The hero’s Return)
Has that planted the seeds of your story? Let’s move to the next point.
2. Knowing Your Persona Makes Writing Easier
The next point is in line with our previous point, and 99% of our blog articles: it all starts with your persona. When working on your SOS, it’s not enough to put yourself in their shoes- you have to get into their skin. (Gross, we know, but stay with us.) This includes:
- Using language and images that they’ll feel connected to.
- Mirroring their tone and voice.
- Using jargon and industry lingo only if they’re familiar with it.
- Considering your audience has the time and attention for a longer, nuanced statement, or for short, concise bits.
- Timing your approach for when they’re most willing to read your mails.
No SOS is alike, not even within a single brand: if you manage different personas for your product, remember to get into the right character for each one.
3. Unlike Latin Soap Operas, Keep it Simple
In case you haven’t noticed by this point, many of us have hot Latin blood running through our veins. This means that, since childhood, we’ve been well socialized in the world of telenovelas (soap operas in Spanish!), and their crazy plots that run on and on through lots of chapters.
Soraya is without question our patron Saint..
However, we shouldn’t use the same convoluted approach for our SOS. Our classical soaps feature lots of characters plotting different strategies to unite/dissolve the main couple; trying to translate this into an email sequence for a product can be too much. Worse, it could make you lose the plot (literally) without achieving the real goal of a SOS: closing a sale!
Creativity is always encouraged, but you know when someone starts telling a story with so many twists and turns you end up feeling like it’s totally made up? We’ve all had an acquaintance like this in our lives, and you probably don’t find them (or their narratives) very trustworthy, do you?
So, preserve your brand cred. Don’t go too crazy and keep every episode simple but eye catching.
4. Always Optimize
Is your SOS scheduled and running? Are your sales improving?
If your answer to both questions is yes, don’t think that your job’s done. Your SOS isn’t a slow cooker you can program with the same ingredients and guarantee optimal results every time.
Don’t limit yourself to watching your wallet grow with sales. Make sure to review your sequence at least once a month, and address weak spots that stop your subscribers from completing your sequence. Even if you can’t get a perfect score for every email you ever send, you should set your sights on nudging each subscriber further down the Hero’s Journey- and don’t forget that one stage of the hero’s archetype is “refusing the call.” (Really.)
Are you ready to try this type of SOS? Leave a comment below or contact us to help you make it happen!