A ‘soap opera sequence’ is where you start a story in one email, create an ‘open loop, and leave it unresolved over one or more emails. This creates anticipation between emails.
A lot has been written about soap opera sequences as the ‘ultimate’ email strategy. My opinion is they need to be used judiciously.
However entertaining and interesting your emails are, only a small portion of subscribers will religiously read every email you send. If your emails nearly always form part of a serial, you run the risk of alienating readers who join part way through.
You can still create threads and open loops between your emails, but each email you send should stand on its own two feet. Meaning if somebody opens part 2 at random, it should completely make sense without going back to part 1.
The one exception I’ll make to this is immediately after a contact opts in. The safest place to use a ‘soap opera’ format is in the first emails a contact receives from you. Because soap opera sequences are naturally engaging, this has the added benefit of pouring cement around the relationship with a new subscriber.
In the first email you send to people, open a dramatic loop and leave the reader on a cliff-hanger. Then complete (or continue) the story in email two.
If you can get some to read the first two emails, it exponentially increases the chance of them reading more emails after that. It also begins to encourage a regular reading habit.