Once Upon a Time There Was This Open Loop Marketing…
If you’re like me, then you have a few favorite TV shows.
Breaking Bad, Succession, Old Man, The Sopranos…
You may find these shows addictive, but have you ever asked yourself why?
What the heck makes these shows so irresistible that you spend whole weekends catching up?
What is it about them that glues you to the television for hours upon hours?
Well, part of the reason these shows are so addictive is because of their mastery of the copywriting concept of the “open loop.”
You see, an open loop is a concept that, in the telling of stories, drives our brains to naturally want to seek out some sort of conclusion.
It’s an important part of what separates bad storytelling from binge-worthy tales.
And effectively using open loops in your copy, guarantees leads will be glued to your site .
In today’s resource, I’ll show:
- What an open loop is and how you can use it to keep your readers on the edge of their seats while scrolling through your website.
- 5 real-life examples of companies using open loops to hook their audience.
- And the psychological concepts behind open loops and why once your prospects start reading, they won’t ever be able to click off your page.
Ready? Let’s start with the story of an open loop. You see, once upon a time....
What Is an Open Loop—& How Does It Relate to Marketing?
“An open loop is a concept that, in the telling of stories, drives our brains to naturally want to seek out some sort of conclusion.”
For most people, it’s more well-known as a cliffhanger, a white-knuckler, a nail-biter (you get the point).
TV writers today are experts in open loop storytelling.
They’ll introduce a character (like Tony Soprano) or a set of characters (like Friends’ cast).
They’ll develop those characters so the audience becomes connected and emotionally invested.
And then, they’ll launch them into some sort of a conflict.
Here’s a pretty visual diagram from UX Collective that shows what the process of storytelling looks like.
And if you’ll notice, right when the conflict is at its peak intensity (climax)… enter the cliffhanger.
This is where the screen abruptly and agonizingly cuts to black.
Then the torturing, “Find out what happens next time on…”
Ugh! We’ve all experienced that frustration before.
Naturally, you want to keep watching to find out what happens to those characters.
And that frustration at the lack of an immediate resolution is what compels you so forcefully to watch next week’s episodes.
And the exact same thing happens in copywriting. When you apply the open loop marketing principles into your copy, your audience converts better. They “crave” whatever it is you’re selling.
So the idea of an open loop, then, is that your brain feels a powerful urge to close the loop—to get resolution, an ending, a closure.
Take a look at the image below that clearly explains what I’m saying…
How Can I Use Open Loop Marketing to Boost My Sales?
Now you know what an open loop is. But, how does this open loop concept tie into marketing?
Well, we’ve talked at length in another article about how solid storytelling comes into play with your marketing.
And I’ve also shown you how storytelling can actually increase your audience engagement by 5X or more.
In fact, The Brand Shop found that a whopping 92% of consumers want brands to make ads that feel like a story.
On top of that, 55% of consumers also say they’re more likely to remember a story than a list of facts. And 68% of consumers say that brand stories influence their purchasing decisions.
Data also shows that companies with compelling brand stories have a 20% increase in customer loyalty. And 64% of consumers make a purchase after watching a branded social media video.
See, your customers don’t just want to hear about your product or service. They don’t want to be pitched or sold to either.
They want to hear about real people.
They want to be involved in a story.
They want their interaction with your brand to be memorable, interesting, and worth their time.
Alex Turnbell, founder of GrooveHQ, tested writing blog posts with and without stories.
And he discovered something that will make you fall off your chair…
People who read the blog post with the story were 300% more likely to scroll (read) all the way to the bottom.
And the time spent on that page was 5 times higher.
Now, I’m not saying that all of your emails, sales pages, and blog posts should be entirely focused on stories.
At some point, people do want to hear more about your product or service and how what you’re offering can solve their problem.
But what an open loop does in your marketing—more specifically in your copy, is it exploits that natural drive of your audience to close that loop. And it gets them to keep on reading—even if an open loop is started in one sentence and closed in the next.
Open loop marketing, then, is what keeps your prospects interested in what you have to say and what you’re selling.
So you gotta follow this best practice throughout your website copy, and follow our copywriting techniques to convert more.
Quick Anatomy of an Open Loop: 5 Examples to Model in Your Copy
We use open loops all the time for our clients, especially when it comes to creating high-converting landing pages.
We’ve seen pretty great results from those copy.
And to better illustrate what an open loop can look like, have a look at this first example we created for 2 clients…
#1 Open Loop Marketing Example: AI Development Company’s Lead Magnet Landing Page
Take a look at this section of a lead magnet landing page copy we wrote for an AI development company.
Can you spot the open loops—the sections of copy that pique interest but don’t deliver the closure that most people will want?
It’s pretty easy but just in case you aren’t sure, each of these bullet points is what I’m talking about…
- What is the reason 17% of IT projects can threaten the existence of your business?
- What are those 9 project management methodologies?
- What is that 1 end-of-project deliverable?
- What are those 10 development KPIs?
If you want to find out the answers to all of these questions, you have to download the checklist. It’s that simple.
See how that works? It’s teasing what’s inside rather than coming right out and saying the answers.
And here’s another example of how we’ve used open loops in copywriting…
#2 Open Loop Marketing Example: Andre Chaperon at Tiny Little Businesses & His Open Loop Email Strategy Course
This example of an open loop in action is Andre Chaperon at Tiny Little Businesses (currently The Modern Marketing System).
Chaperon is the creator of the Lucrative Email Strategy.
Chaperon did an excellent job and was extremely subtle in the way he created open loops. Not only that, but he included a direct sales proposition at the end of his open loops, as displayed in the example below.
I asked a fellow marketing expert his opinion on Chaperon’s AutoResponder Madness course, which is all about how to write effective email follow-up sequences.
He said the #1 thing he took from the course was the power of the concept of open loops.
Chaperon’s LEM course was a free version of AutoResponder Madness. His goal was to get prospects to buy the AutoResponder Madness course.
Once a prospect signed up for the LEM course, in his first email, Chaperon was not shy about putting it all upfront. He opened the loop on his product almost immediately.
In his email, he did not pitch right off the bat.
Instead, Chaperon was focused on testimonials. He name dropped a few important people, like Ryan Deiss and Perry Belcher from DigitalMarketer, and Charles Kirkland of Media Buyer Association.
After a few testimonials, Chaperon kind of cut it off there. The loop was still open, though.
Even if you’re not familiar with AutoResponder Madness, you’re still intrigued and excited by this point. You see these big names saying how this is an amazing course and that it’s worth a lot more than what you’re being charged.
You’re still not sure how much the course costs, but you’re excited nonetheless. You want to keep reading, but you can’t until the next email.
The loop is open in your mind. You’re asking questions like, how much does the course cost? Is this course right for me? What can I learn from it?
Chaperon’s conversational style helped to keep you reading as well. He keept his sentences short and wrote in a casual, conversational style.
Beyond that though, Chaperon also used a powerful teaser at the end of the email.
Did you catch it?
Chaperon was going to share his “evil experiment” with readers that let him sell “over 600 copies of a $67 product in ONE DAY.”
Evil? Experiment? More than $40K in revenue in a single day?
These were all designed to hook readers in so they practically had to open the next email.
And admit it… you’d be curious, wouldn’t you?
#3 Open Loop Marketing Example: Social Media Referral Company
In this example, we wrote a high-converting lead magnet landing page for a social media referral company.
See those open loops at work again?
It’s why we’ve been able to bring in conversion rates on lead magnet landing pages as high as 86% for our clients. Always, of course, following our copywriting formulas.
And the sooner you start incorporating open loops into your copywriting, the sooner you can start seeing a jump in your conversions too.
Now that you know what an open loop is, it’s time to learn how to actually create your open loops.
#4 Open Loop Marketing Example: Neil Patel’s Image-Shattering Open Loop Subject Line
One of the best places to introduce an open loop in your emails is, of course, your subject line.
Just like headlines in your ads or landing pages, your subject line is where most of the magic happens with email marketing.
Now, what does a subject line open loop look like?
Let’s take a look at an email from Neil Patel as an example.
To set the stage a bit, Neil Patel is perhaps one of the biggest names in digital marketing.
He’s trusted by millions of readers, thousands of clients, and was even recognized by President Barack Obama as one of the top 100 entrepreneurs under 30 years old.
But when Neil sent out one email advertising a blog post he had just created, all that high esteem came crashing down (if only for a minute or two).
Here it is:
It turns out that Neil had been tangled up for a solid year in a class action lawsuit.
The sheer shock of seeing that subject line in your inbox (from Neil Patel no less) was enough to get most people clicking “open” no matter what they were doing.
“What had this big-name marketer done to get wrapped up in a lawsuit?” they wondered—that’s the open loop.
Now, after spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on legal defenses and 12 long months of stress, Neil and his company, Kissmetrics, were eventually cleared of all charges.
And in addition to still being able to grow his company at the same time, Neil was also able to write a great article about the entire ordeal which would later appear on his website.
But the strategy behind this open loop (and the article in general) is ingenious.
So throw your readers off guard by shattering their expectations about you (e.g., “I was in a giant lawsuit once”). And get them hooked enough to keep reading and click on your call-to-action (e.g., “check out the new blog post”).
So give it a try in your own emails.
And then sit back and watch your open rate grow.
#5 Open Loop Marketing Example: Frank Kern
Marketer Frank Kern has a way with words, but he’s much more of a fan of video.
Frank created the Behavioral Dynamic Response sales method—a marketing method designed to customize your messaging based on your prospect’s behavior.
He also made a video template for info-marketers who wanted to target specific niches.
When it came to promoting the video template series, Frank sent out an email that grabbed attention immediately.
The headline, which is “$13 Million per *hour*” immediately gets you curious.
You want to know, “Did Frank actually earn that much money? How?” And most importantly, “Can I do the same if I follow his template?”
Frank linked prospects to the video in the email as well as embedded it at the top of the email. Much like the examples we’ve already discussed, Frank kept some of the mystery in his first video.
Sure, it was informative. But it didn’t explain everything you needed to know about his product (that’s the ol’ open loop for ya).
He mentioned in his initial email that he’d send out several more videos to those who watched the first one. By staggering out his information, he was able to grow interest more for each video.
And no surprise here, you couldn’t fully understand Frank’s product without watching all 3 videos.
Think of Frank’s product like a puzzle, and the videos, the puzzle pieces.
If you only watched the first video or only the second, you wouldn’t have enough pieces to assemble the entire puzzle.
It’s only once you watch all 3 videos can you put the full picture together.
The open loop, then, is that if you want to cash in on these $13 million per hour industries, you’ve got to open all of his emails, watch all of his videos, and eventually, buy his product.
It’s a fantastic tactic that you can mirror to get your audience clicking open each time they see your name pop up in their inbox.
How to Create an Open Loop in Your Copy
One way you can create an open loop in your copy is by introducing a bit of information at the beginning of your landing page, but not giving it all away. You’re being purposely coy.
So, for example, after a prospective customer subscribes to your email newsletter, you’re going to send your initial welcome email.
This welcome email will be the first one in your follow-up email sequence. And it’ll set the foundation that you’re delivering info that they want to read.
In that welcome email, you may share, for example, an important case study in which you tripled revenue for a client or even saved a client from bankruptcy.
Take this case study from one of our clients as an example:
To hook in prospects, you’ll want to start by introducing the clients as real people. You might then allude to the problem, unveiling the story somewhat as the email progresses.
This creates the open loop because readers will become invested, both in the client and in what the solution to their problem was in the end.
To really get prospects on the edges of their seats, don’t give everything away in one email. Create cliffhangers like your favorite TV show does and follow our Vacuum email formula.
- V – Value (give your readers value)
- A – Authority (show why your subscribers should listen to you)
- C – Call-to-Action (get your readers to act on your offer)
- U – Unique (show your subscribers why you stand out from the other guys)
- U – Urgency (tell your readers why they should act now)
- M – Make a Decision! (give a final hard push for the sale)
So in your case study, you should cover for example, why was your on-the-verge-of-bankruptcy client suddenly making 3X as much revenue?
How did your unique service or product turn everything around for them?
“Find out in next week’s email…”
By using open loop storytelling successfully, your prospect will actually be looking forward to your next email to see how your story resolves.
By doing this, you’re building emotional tension. And this activates several specific areas and effects within your prospect’s brain that create more interest, attachment, and immersion in your story.
And this way, your prospects become invested in the people in your story (your past real clients). And they are now eager to know what ends up happening to them.
One way that I’ve found helpful for structuring this type of open loop storytelling in email is following this format:
- The first email introduces the story (including the real people or clients involved) as well as the problem they’re facing.
- The second email elaborates on the issue even more, hitting on specific pain points (e.g., not bringing in enough clients), further difficulties those pain points have caused (e.g., missing revenue goals and are in danger of going under), and the lack of a clear, helpful solution (e.g., marketing agencies are too expensive, digital marketing is too confusing, and I don’t have the budget to hire my own team).
- And finally, the third email presents the solution: your service or product (e.g., “Growbo: your business’ future growth—AutoGrow & Growbo will help you automate your business growth and your marketing and operations needs”).
See how that works?
And when you structure each email on the progression of a story, your readers will not only learn more about your products or services. They’ll also be entertained, immersed, and actually look forward to your next email.
Now, let’s dive in-depth into 3 more examples of how companies are using open loops to boost their audience engagement and increase their sales.
An open loop is like a type of path.
With solid, engaging writing and storytelling, you’re taking your prospect’s hand and leading them towards the destination: booking a consultation, opting in, buying your product, or some other similar goal.
If those goals are your prospects’ destination, your open loop is how you make your prospects get there and (importantly) how you keep your prospect walking along with you.
So to review:
- Remember to space out the content in your emails. Don’t give everything away in the first message. An open loop should drive engagement and attention. That means slowly wrapping up your story over several emails.
- Include benefits and social proof like testimonials in your emails. These get prospects interested and invested in the “characters.” And as a result, your prospects will want to know what happens to them along the way.
- While longer messages are a great way to build up the emotional tension, don’t get too long-winded. Keep your sentences short and crisp. Write casually.
And if you need help with your open loop marketing (or any other marketing tasks, AutoGrow & Growbo will help you automate your business growth and your marketing needs. So join our waitlist now so that you can get early access.
Now tell me something, how have you used open loops in your marketing? Has this article helped you come up with any ideas for open loops of your own? What kinds of open loop strategies have you seen from other companies in the past?
Let me know in the comments below!
Keep open loopin’, stay focused.