Creating a Soap Opera Sequence That Sells [GUIDE]

Creating a Soap Opera Sequence That Sells [GUIDE]

Russell Brunson first heard of the Soap Opera Sequence from a friend of his, Andre Chaperon. And he loved it so much that he popularized the idea in his book, DotCom Secrets.

But what is the Soap Opera Sequence?

How can you use it to engage your leads, build rapport, and sell your products or services?

That’s what we’re going to show you how to do in this guide.

First thing’s first.

Get The Book That Popularized The Soap Opera Sequence (FREE)

What is a Soap Opera Sequence?

In email marketing, a Soap Opera Sequence is a series of 5-7 emails that are used to engage readers, build rapport, and sell products.

What is a Soap Opera Sequence?

It’s called a “Soap Opera” sequence because of the inspiration it draws from seductively engaging Soap Opera TV shows.

Now you might be thinking, Soap Operas are ridiculous!

But there’s a reason they’re still around today — too many people, they’re only ridiculous in how engaging they are.

Here’s how Russell Explains it in DotCom Secrets…

“If you’ve never watched a Soap Opera before, the stories rely on open-ended, high-drama episodes that hook the viewers in and keep them coming back every single day to find out what happens next. The programs are continuous narratives that never conclude. The characters are always either getting into trouble or getting out of trouble, falling in love or breaking up, heading to jail or escaping, dying or magically reappearing. If you relate to the characters, you can’t help but get sucked into the drama and want to know what’s coming next.

We’re going to use the same story structure and elements to create your opening email sequence.”

You probably wouldn’t be surprised to find that sending an email like this…


I made something.

Please buy it.

Here’s the link.


… wouldn’t work all that well.

The Soap Opera Sequence allows you to approach sales from the side (rather than directly), with a story that drives your dream customers unknowingly toward wanting to buy your products.

There are five steps to a Soap Opera Sequence. We’ll dive into these in much more detail below. But for now, here’s a quick overview…

  1. Set The Stage — This is where you introduce yourself, build a bit of rapport, and tell people what they can expect in your upcoming emails. You also want to build some anticipation.
  2. High Drama → Backstory → Wall — This is where you capture them with a high-drama moment, tell them a bit of backstory, and then reveal the wall you came up against.
  3. Epiphany → The One Thing — This is where you reveal your big epiphany, how you came to the realization that changed everything.
  4. Hidden Benefits — This is where you’re going to talk about the benefits of your product that your target market probably isn’t even thinking about… the hidden benefits.
  5. Urgency CTA — This is where you’ll create urgency or scarcity to push your most stubborn readers over the edge.

Each email is written to pull the reader toward the next email… and eventually, toward clicking and buying whatever it is you’re offering.

Cool, right?

So… how do you do it?

Well, before we answer that, here are a few tips to keep in mind when crafting your Soap Opera Sequence (taken straight from Russell’s book)…

  • Consider The Product — What product is your Soap Opera Sequence going to drive people toward? If this is the first product you’re selling people, then it should be a front-end, relatively low-level purchase. If you’re sending a Soap Opera Sequence to existing customers, you might sell something more expensive and high-end.
  • Easy Reading — Here’s Russell: “The emails themselves should be easy to read and fast to scan. So, use one or two sentences per line. Add in lots of white space. Do not use long paragraphs that slow people down. I like to write out the basic structure elements first. Then I fill in the juicy details and emotional hooks.”
  • Use Personality — Russell again: “I use loads of personality. This is the reader’s introduction to my attractive character; I want people to bond with me and be entertained. I don’t try to hide who I am.” So share your personality with the world and be real. Allow your readers to feel connected with you.

Good to go?

Next, we’re going to talk about how the Soap Opera Sequence leverages emotion, logic, and fear (in that order) to turn leads into customers.

This is super important to understand before you start crafting your emails.

How the Soap Opera Sequence Leverages Emotion, Logic, & Fear

Here’s what Russell says about the effectiveness of the Soap Opera Sequence…

If you follow the Soap Opera Sequence style, you’re going to be amazed by how much more successful you are — early on and as long as you continue to send emails to your list.

But you might be wondering what, exactly, makes the Soap Opera Sequence so effective…

Where’s the logic behind the magic?

The answer lies in emotion, logic, and fear. From our experience…

  • 50% of people buy with emotion
  • 25% of people buy with logic
  • 25% of people buy with fear

And the Soap Opera Sequence leverages that fact.

Consider car shopping. 50% of people who buy a car buy it purely off of emotion — they are intoxicated by the idea of owning the car. That’s enough to push them over the edge.

25% of people will only buy after they’ve justified their purchase with logic (it’s a really big truck that’ll help them do things on their property).

And 25% of people will only do things once FOMO (fear of missing out) enters the picture — once they find out that the offer they’ve negotiated only stands for today… or that it’s the only model of this car left on the lot).

That’s how we structure our follow-up email sequences.

How The Soap Opera Sequence Leverages Emotion, Logic, & Fear

And it’s also how an effective Soap Opera Sequence is structured.

Phase 1 – Emotion

The first three emails of the Soap Opera Sequence are all about creating emotion around the problem you faced that you were trying (and failing) to solve. The reader should be able to emotionally connect with your struggle. And when you make your offer in the fourth email, emotional buyers will be ready to take action.

Phase 2 – Logic

The next email is about the hidden benefits that the person will get by purchasing your products. This is where you help your logical buyers justify their purchase. If you were a car salesman, it’s where you’d talk about the features of the car that matter most to the person… especially those features that they might not immediately be aware of.

Phase 3 – Fear

The final email is to sell to people who buy because of FOMO (fear of missing out). These people buy because they don’t want to miss out on an awesome opportunity. And you create that fear by using either scarcity (only three spots left) or urgency (this sale goes away at midnight).

How to Write a Soap Opera Email Sequence That Sells (With Examples)

Now let’s get into the nitty-gritty.

How do you write a Soap Opera Sequence that sells?

Let’s start with a video.

Next, let’s walk through each email together. We’ll share examples and give you advice more making these emails as impactful as possible.

Step 1. Set the Stage

The goal of this first email is to introduce yourself, build some rapport, and create anticipation for the upcoming emails.

But you’re not going to tell a story yet.

That’ll happen in the second email.

In this email, focus on telling people a little bit about why you’re an expert at what you do (i.e. why they can trust you) and then tell them why they should pay close attention to the upcoming emails (free resources incoming, for instance).

Check out the example below to see what we’re talking about.

Example – Day 1

Subject: [DCS] Ch. 1 of 5

Body: Hey, this is Russell, and I want to “officially” welcome you to my world.

About ten years ago, I started my first online business while I was in college (selling potato gun DVDs), and this little hobby became my obsession.

I started selling all sorts of things online and have become a student of marketing. 

My other businesses are where I test and try stuff out…

DotComSecrets is where I share what I’ve learned. 

My goal is always to give away better stuff for FREE than what other people charge for. 

In fact, tomorrow I’m gonna do just that. Yes, I’m going to let you go through one of my BEST products for free — and then ONLY pay me if you think it’s worth it… BUT only if you open the email when it comes…

Yes, you heard me right…

I want our relationship to start out great…

So, I’m going to WOW you with SO much value that you’ll feel obligated to buy stuff from me in the future (just kidding… kinda).

Sound good? 

Cool, then look for that email tomorrow. 


Russell “Your New Marketing Buddy” Brunson

P.S. The subject line is “[DCS] Ch. 2 of 5: The day my education failed me” — so look for it!

Step 2. High Drama → Backstory → Wall

All great stories start in the middle.

They don’t start at the beginning, where things have to build before they get interesting.

They start in the middle, make you curious, give you a taste of what’s coming, and then back-peddle to explain what’s going on.

In this email, you’re going to drop your reader immediately into the high-drama part of a story.

Then you’re slowly going to unravel that story for your reader and give them the answers to their questions (feed their curiosity).

But what story should you tell?

You’re going to tell the story of the moment you learned the lesson that led you to use and/or create your product or services.

This is the pivotal moment where you realized that PATH A wasn’t going to cut it and you’d have to instead take the less traveled PATH B.


You’re not going to tell them exactly how you solved your problem yet… you’re only going to tell them about the problem you faced and the realization that what you were doing wasn’t working.

Then you’re going to build some anticipation for the following email by telling them how the secret you uncovered changed your life (without telling them what the secret is).

In the P.S. section, make sure to give them the resource you promised them the day before.

Check out the example.

Example – Day 2

Subject: [DCS] Ch. 2 of 5: The day my education failed me. 

Body: “How did I get here?”

I sat in the middle of a full auditorium, feeling a little confused that after everything, it would all end here… like this. 

I had been blindly following the status quo for fifteen years, moving toward one goal, only to find out the whole thing was a lie…

I looked to my left… and I looked to my right… and I saw hundreds of others in the same situation as me. Only THEY had smiles on their faces. 

Didn’t they know what was about to happen to us? 

It was Saturday, May 14th, 2005. 

It was the day I was finally graduating from college, the day my parents had told me about for years.

“You need to get a college education so you can get a good job.”

Sure, tonight there would be a lot of celebrating…

But what about the next morning? 

That’s when we all had a chance to meet the “real world.”

And as we quickly found out, it’s not very nice or forgiving. 

For most of the people who graduated with me, IF they were able to find jobs, they were going into entry-level jobs making thirty or forty thousand dollars a year…

Barely enough to cover the monthly payments for their student loans. 

Loans which, by the way, are non-dismissible… EVEN if you declare bankruptcy. 

The chains of debt and a job market that can’t pay enough to cover the costs of our education is what we each inherited when we stepped into the “real world.”

So, when I looked around and saw them all smiling on graduation day, at first I was confused…

Not for me, but for them…

Because for me, I knew what my next step was. Just two years earlier, I had stumbled on a cool way to take the things I was good at in my life and turn those things into a business. 

This was a business that had made me two hundred and fifty thousand dollars my senior year in college and would go on to make me over a MILLION dollars within just one year of graduation. 

Would you like to know what I found out? Are you interested in how I was able to get my idea up and running with literally no money, while I was going to school, wrestling, and spending time with my new wife? 

If so, then look for my email tomorrow. I’m gonna show you the epiphany I had, but more importantly, I’m going to explain how you can use it to get similar results in your life!

So, look for tomorrow’s email. The subject line is [DCS] Ch. 3 of 5: Expert Secrets


Russell “Wish I Had My Tuition Back” Brunson

P.S. I almost forgot. I told you yesterday that I was going to GIVE you my best product for free…

You can get it here (but people don’t share it with anyone else) — this is for my faithful subscribers only:


This course has made more of my students independently wealthy than anything we’ve ever done in the past. So go signup for the training now and let’s see where it could take you!

Talk to you tomorrow!

Get The Book That Popularized The Soap Opera Sequence (FREE)

Step 3. Epiphany → The One Thing

In the third email of the Soap Opera Sequence, you’re going to tell your subscribers about the epiphany you had that changed your life and how you stumbled upon it. 

This should be in a similar story format to the previous email. 

At the end of this email, you’ll want to direct the reader toward a free value-add resource — this could be a video you recorded or a blog post you wrote. This is NOT about selling them (not yet)… it’s just about giving them free value. 

You’re trying to introduce them to the concepts and ideas they need to understand in order to see the full value of your products and services. 

Check out the example.

Example – Day 3

Subject: [DCS] Ch. 3 of 5: Expert Secrets

Body: I was sitting in my college classroom, doing the math and trying to figure out how much my college professor was making per hour. 

I assumed he was making about fifty thousand dollars per year. 

(My estimate may have been low or high; I have no idea)

If he was working forty-hour weeks, then he was probably making about twenty-five dollars an hour.

I then looked at a “how-to” book I had bought the night before. I had paid fifty dollars for the book, and I thought it was awesome. 

I knew the person who wrote the book had said that he sells, on average, one hundred copies of that book per day. One hundred copies!

I was doing the math, and at fifty dollars per book, he was making about five thousand dollars per day! Or $1,825,000 per year!

But the craziest part is the guy only spent a few days writing the book (it was 90% pictures and just 10% text), and when he was done, he NEVER had to write it again. 

The book did the teaching for him!

He was able to create it once and then get paid for it over and over again!

That’s when I realized I didn’t want to sell my knowledge by the hour like my professor was doing… I wanted to sell it like this author!

And so that’s what I did…

And by my senior year in college, I had made about two hundred and fifty thousand dollars!

And within a year of graduation, I had made over a million!

And I did this all by focusing on ONE thing…

Selling my knowledge the right way!

Would you like to know how I did that?

If so, I just posted a video online that will show you how I took twenty dollars and a simple idea and turned it into a million-dollar-a-year “how-to” business. 

I posted the video here: LINK

Go check it out, and let me know what you think. 


Russell Brunson

P.S. Tomorrow I want to show you a few hidden benefits that being an “expert” will give you, benefits you probably don’t even know exist. Look for that email tomorrow!

Step 4. Hidden Benefits

The goal of this email is to reveal some “hidden benefits” to your methodology that your readers probably haven’t even thought about. 

What’s a benefit of your methodology that your readers probably haven’t considered? 

That’s what you want to talk about here. 

Once you’ve discussed the hidden benefits, you can make the first offer of your front-end product. To be clear, this should be a no-brainer offer for your new subscribers… something that will be difficult for them to say “no” to because it’s soooo good.

Russell offers a free book. 

What could you offer that will compel people to take action? 

Check out the example below.

Example – Day 4

Subject: [DCS] Ch. 4 of 5: The Hidden Benefits

Body: When I first became an “Expert”, I was concerned because I didn’t have any credentials, degrees, or anything… 

I just knew that what I showed people worked and I wanted to share it. 

But what caught me off-guard was how helping people get what they want in life actually change the quality of my own life. 

Sure, I started to make a lot of money, BUT… more importantly, each person I helped opened up new doors for me. Through my “Expert” business, I’ve been able to travel around the world and meet cool people like Tony Robbins and Richard Branson…

But the REAL hidden benefit has been the fulfillment I get when I see someone else change his or her life. And that is what this business really is about for me, I’m guessing if you’re here, then it’s probably the same thing for you too — am I right? 

If so, then you NEED to get a free copy of my new book called Expert Secrets. We normally charge $19.95 for it, but you’ll get it for free if you let me know where to ship it this week. 

Does that sound more than fair?

Cool — then go get your free copy here: LINK


Russell Brunson

Step 5. Urgency CTA

Earlier I said that 25% of your target market buy only once FOMO (fear of missing out) enters the picture. 

And that’s what this email is going to create. 

You can create FOMO in one of two ways…

  1. Scarcity — there are only a few spots left.
  2. Urgency — This goes away tomorrow.

Russell uses urgency in the below example.

But you could use scarcity just as effectively.

However, you do it, create urgency in this email and make sure the subscriber knows that this is the last time you’re going to contact them about this special deal.

Check out the example.

Example – Day 5

Subject: [DCS] Ch. 5 of 5: Last Call.

Body: I’ve been talking about my “Expert Secrets” book this week, and how you can get a copy for free…

But that special offer is going away TODAY…

Yes, if you read this email tomorrow, then I apologize, because it will be too late. If you want this book later, you’ll have to pay the normal full price. 

But — if you take me up on my special offer then go get your copy ASAP here:


You’ve been warned — I don’t want any emails tomorrow saying I didn’t warn you. 

So, go get your ticket, and I’ll see you on the training. 


Russell Brunson

Writing a Soap Opera Sequence YOUR Way

You might be tempted to copy the examples above and make minor adjustments based on the product or services you’re offering. 

But we HIGHLY recommend personalizing these emails to your own tone and style as much as possible. 

Russell has a unique tone.

So do you. 

And the more that you embrace your own style and tone, the more that your audience is going to connect with you. 

So don’t be afraid to follow the Soap Opera Sequence format in YOUR OWN WAY. 

Speak in your own voice and tell your own stories. 

That’s how you’ll have the most impact.

Final Thoughts on Soap Opera Sequences

The Soap Opera Sequence is a wonderful formula for writing emails that introduce new subscribers to your brand and turn them into paying customers. 

It’s so effective that you might be surprised at the results you get. 

So give it a try. 

Set the stage, tell a dramatic story, reveal your epiphany, make your offer, share the hidden benefits, and create urgency or scarcity. 

That’ll get conversions from every category of your target market (people who buy based on emotion, logic, or fear). 

And if you want to learn more about this process, then click the link below to get Russell’s book that started it all (for free)…

Get The Book That Popularized The Soap Opera Sequence (FREE)

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2 thoughts on “Creating a Soap Opera Sequence That Sells [GUIDE]

  1. This is an awesome way to create trust. Thank you for sharing. I have the books, Expert secrets and Traffic secrets, but haven't bought Dotcom Secrets yet. I'm buying it now.