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Email Marketing – Foreshadowing Creates Anticipation

Did you know that foreshadowing is a literary device used to create suspense or curiosity in readers? It is often used in movies and books to keep people engaged until the very end. In email marketing, it can be used in a similar way to keep your readers eagerly waiting for your next email.

How foreshadowing can keep your readers engaged. A laptop with an email envelope on the screen.

You may have seen this used on news programs and talk shows. Right before the commercial break, the hosts announces what’s coming up next. The idea is that you’re intrigued enough to sit through the commercial to see the next segment.

Another good example of foreshadowing is when magazines show images and headlines or short bullets of what’s coming in next month’s issue. Again, the point is to pique your interest and get you to either buy the next issue, or even better, get a subscription.

Let’s take a look at some ways you can use foreshadowing in your email marketing campaigns to improve open rates!

This is a 5 part blog post series. In case you missed the others:

Foreshadowing in Email Marketing

Coming up next. A person checking email on their phone.

We can easily adapt this for email marketing and it works like a charm. Toward the end of your email transition from what you’re talking about today to what’s coming in the next email. Be vague on purpose, but grab their attention.

For example, if you are in the middle of posting a recipe that you know your readers will love then be sure to add it at the bottom of the email. You may want to say something like – on “insert day you will email” we will be sharing this amazing recipe for “vague idea of recipe” and we know you are going to love it! It is “insert cooking method” and “easy, quick or another power word here.”

Now they are going to be waiting for your email letting them know about your new recipe. Be sure when you do this that you KNOW you will be emailing them that day unless an emergency comes up. You are now committed to that date.

Add a What’s Coming Next

If you publish a weekly newsletter, try adding a section on what’s coming in the next issue similar to what you see in a magazine. Keep it simple and use images for best results. No worries, these don’t have to be new recipes. I know that things happen and sometimes new recipes don’t go as planned, this happens to food bloggers!

Maybe you plan to add tips each week. This week was “how to keep your stainless steel clean” and then your coming up next section can be “how to properly clean cast iron.” Not super exciting headlines there, just throwing an idea out there so you see what I mean.

Now this can work with your recipes too! Say you email about a chicken recipe but you know that you want to share a meatloaf recipe next week. Let them know! This works great for holiday emails as well. Experiment, email marketing has a lot of options and it may take some time for you to find out what works best for you.

Encourage Readers to Open Previous Emails

You may have missed this. A megaphone with email envelopes coming out to display an announcement.

You can even take it a step further and get your subscribers to open a previously sent email. This works particularly well if you’re writing a series of emails on a related topic. Toward the beginning of your email you mention something you covered in the last email, then move into today’s topic and then wrap it up with a little hint about what’s coming next.

I use this a lot with holiday recipes. Especially for Thanksgiving when we have a lot of recipes and tips to share that they will want to make their holiday special. You can add an “in case you missed” paragraph or section. This works great if you are sharing some tips about cooking for the holidays.

You can add a “last week we talked about tips for having the best holiday ever (just throwing examples out here.)” We hope you found it to be helpful! This week we are sharing “insert whatever you are covering.”


You don’t have to use foreshadowing in every single email. Sprinkle it in here and there where it makes sense. It also gives you a chance to pick up on in the subject line of your next email. Try using something like “As promised…” Even readers who missed your last email might be curious enough to open this one.

Give it a try and see if you start to see higher open rates and more importantly get your subscribers more engaged. This does work great for food bloggers in their email marketing campaigns. The competition can be tough, you need to stand out with your readers as somebody whose emails they want to open.

Do you have any great email marketing tips you want to share with us? Let us know in the comments below!

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Email Marketing foreshadowing keeps readers wanting more - Pinterest graphic. A man holding his hands in prayer formation looking like he is anticipating something.

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