Spice up your copy with blockbuster movie techniques
Netflix, Disney+, Streamz, … these days, our streaming network options are broader than ever. And don’t we all love to binge watch our favorite series or relax with a good movie. But why is it that we can’t seem to stop watching after two or three episodes? Because they leave us wanting more, all excited about what’s coming next. And we’re all like “Netflix, I’m still here! Give me that next episode! Now!” (we know you do that too!). Wouldn’t it be awesome if we, as email marketers, could incite this feeling with the readers of our emails? These movie techniques can do just that. So grab yourself some popcorn and read on!
The hero lives another day
Enter our hero. Captured by his evil nemesis and tied up, slowing lowering towards a pool of sharks. Within just a few inches of the razor-sharp fangs he’s able to free himself. All thanks to some gadget he had on him. Phew, that was close! But why are we so satisfied with this outcome? It’s because we saw that gadget earlier in the movie, when our hero carelessly slipped it into his pocket…
This, ladies and gentlemen, is an example of an “Open loop”. You are let in on something, without the purpose being immediately explained. You’re left wondering what to do with this new information. Piece by piece, the story builds up, with further details or facts. When the time is right, you get the answer. Neat, huh?
This teasing method — letting a small detail grab the viewer’s attention — has your audience wonder why and itching to know more. Psychologists call this the "Zeigarnik effect". We remember things that are unfinished or incomplete better. Because they are stored in our short-term memory, we have to keep them top of mind, in order not to forget about them.
Still with us? Let's move on
Okay, so our hero was able to escape his doom. But it doesn’t end there. Time is ticking away: only a few more hours to stop the evil master plan. He rushes to the cliffs in pursuit of the retreating villain. In the next scene we witness the two enemies wrestling each other dangerously close to the cliff’s edge. Just when the bad guy is about to push our hero onto the rocks below… the screen fades to black and the end score begins.
That’s what we call a "Cliffhanger". Probably the kind of ending that makes you grit your teeth. But it’s a highly effective technique – no doubt! Because we are hungry to know what happens next, we keep coming back for more. This also triggers our "Zeigarnik effect", as the loop is left open. In order to see and know the solution — to see our hero save the world — we remember to keep watching and prepare ourselves for the next episode.
Back to reality
Luckily our hero has one more cunning trick up his sleeve. By activating the smart little gadget — remember that? — he plunges the villain into the abyss, and saves the world. All loops closed. Mission accomplished.
Wonder how you can apply the blockbuster tricks we just saw into your next e-mail adventure? Let’s bring out the copywriting hero in you!
Trick #1 | Make readers hungry for your downloads
A landing page can be a great place to start an open loop and convert your website visitors. Let’s say you have an interesting e-book you want your website visitors to download. On the page itself you spark their interest by revealing a few snippets of information, without showing the full story. This is how we do it on the RAAK landing page...
You land on this page because you intend to take your first steps in marketing automation. You know this is THE best place to started. Well, we’ll tease you with a preview of the downloads you will receive and what you can expect from them. But in order to find your answers to your questions and close the loop, you should download the roadmap. And take in from us: it might save you… a lot of time and effort.
Trick #2 | Set up a welcome program
You have a new newsletter subscriber, yay! Setting up a welcome program or a series of welcome mails is a great opportunity to make your contacts engage with your brand. Instead of just saying “thanks for subscribing”, take them along a journey with your brand in 3 or 4 emails.
The first one lays out the foundation for the content you will provide them with. It introduces you as a brand and leads in the story you’re about to tell. Make sure you explain that you understand the problem or issue the subscriber is facing. You can do that by, for instance, sharing a whitepaper that proves your brand can answer the questions they have. Before signing off the email, be sure to let your readers know what they can expect from you in the future.
To really get subscribers on the edge of their seat, don’t give everything away in one email. Create cliffhangers like your favorite TV show does. Tease them a bit about what’s coming up next. So they look forward to opening your next email to see what you have in store for them. In the following emails you can then elaborate further on the specific topics your brand handles.
At the end of the welcome program, your subscriber will be more engaged with your brand and have a better understanding what you do. During this introductory email cycle, you’ve taken your reader on a journey and forged a bond that’s the ideal foundation for a long and fruitful relationship.
… And they lived happily ever after. You now have a better understanding of how you to sprinkle some of that magical movie stardust over your marketing plan. But, just like our hero, always stay vigilant in keep your eye on potential dangers. Overdo the Zeigarnik effect and you will lose your reader’s interest. The same goes for too many loops and cliffhangers. This will give your ‘fans’ the feeling that your story does not really go anywhere. Be sure to hand them the payoff at exactly the right moment(s) in time.