Email Marketing 101: The SOAP Sequence [2022 Update]

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There are various ways you can attempt to engage prospects through email marketing. Some of the most common tactics include compelling offer emails. The challenge with traditional marketing emails is that they often appear pushy and end up in your prospect’s trash folder.

Occasionally, however, the opportunity arises to market to leads that may fit your customer persona but have little awareness of your brand. While it may be tempting to reach out to them with what you consider to be an irresistible offer, there are other, more effective options that will help guide your prospect down the marketing and sales funnel.

The SOAP Sequence

The SOAP sequence is a series of email messages used to “butter up” new prospects, leads, and email subscribers. While these sequences can be as long as you want, research reveals sequences with five emails to be the most ideal. SOAP sequence emails have proven to be a highly effective email nurture campaign. They focus on building a relationship with your new prospect, creating trust as well as an interest in your brand and/or product.

We’re all pretty familiar with Soap Operas. The drama-filled episodes keep you hanging on until the end, then leaves you with a cliffhanger, forcing you to watch next week’s episode. Then, the cycle just repeats itself.

Similar to the way a Soap Opera works, the SOAP Sequence interests readers by continuously hooking them in. In this case, your brand or company acts as the main character. By the end of the sequence, your new leads will be ready and waiting for what you have to offer them.


Here’s a breakdown of the five emails in the sequence:

Email 1: Set the Stage

The first email in the sequence is the welcome email. It allows you to introduce yourself or your brand. This is your first opportunity to form some sort of connection with your prospect. You want to intrigue them and get them interested in learning more. One way to do so is by presenting a compelling secret to come. Here’s an example:

“I’ve been in the marketing business for nearly two decades. But, only in the last five years have I seen significant business growth. I’m signing new clients daily. Want to know how I do it? I’ve got a BIG secret and it works wonders. Watch out for my next email and I’ll share my secret with you.”

Here, we’ve set the stage by presenting them with the idea of a successful industry secret. But, they have to tune into the next email to find out more.

Email 2: High Drama

Now that your prospect is hooked, you can offer them more information to keep them interested. At this point, they want to know this mysterious yet valuable secret to your marketing business. This is where the selling process begins, sending your prospect straight down that funnel.

Here’s where it’s a good idea to start with a backstory. Give your prospect some rising action! In the case of the marketing business owner from above, the next email could cover an economic downturn that hurt their business, forcing the owner into a dire need to turn it around and bring it back to life.

As you promised, don’t forget to tell your readers your “secret.” Start that selling process by adding a final paragraph mentioning your product or service. Here’s an example:

“Before I conclude, it is time to share the secret you’ve been waiting for. Take a look at my website and see how I’ve managed to grow my marketing business and add more clients than any other marketing firm in the state of Florida.”

Email 3: The Epiphany

At this point in the sequence, your users are hooked and want to learn more. They’ve been introduced to you and your product. More importantly, they like you and feel a connection.

They want to know how you overcame your problem and figured out how to succeed. You can use the Epiphany email to explain. Here’s how:

“My epiphany was that I needed software that‚Ķ”

Now, your reader can start to see the value of your product.

Email 4: The Hidden Benefits

Now that your reader has an understanding of what your product or service is, its value, and how it works, you need to help them understand how it works for them. Visualize yourself using the product and use this to help formulate your email.

This is a good opportunity for you to hone in on your buyer persona. List all the ways your product or service can benefit your leads. Make them realize that they need it! Add some links for them to contact you and make a purchase.

Email 5: The Call to Action

This is the last email of the sequence, but it is most certainly not the last email they will be receiving from you. By now, readers are familiar with your product or service and feel a connection with you and your brand. Here’s where you can add a compelling offer with a sense of urgency, inciting them down the funnel a little quicker. See this example:

“Sign up by 8 p.m. for our informative webinar. Attendance is limited!”

Feel free to conclude the sequence by asking for the sale.

The Secret to a Successful Email Marketing Campaign

Now that you have a good understanding of this highly effective email nurture campaign, give it a try! Create a story that people will fall in love with so your prospective buyers can start to fall in love with your brand too. Use this method to quickly funnel your leads into conversions!

SMA has put together a FREE list of email templates for each step in the SOAP sequence. Click the button below to get your copy!

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Editor’s note: This article was originally published in October 2018 and has been updated with fresh content.

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