TEM #005 – Underground Cellar

A couple weeks ago, I made this offhand comment to a friend

“I wish there was a way to buy wine without the hassle of frequenting the liquor store.”

He said, “There are alcohol delivery drivers, already.” 

“Oh,” I said. “What if we could buy bottles of wine and store them in a remote cellar, then have those bottles shipped to me whenever I wanted to drink them?” 

Then my friend said, “Yep, that exists, already, too.”


I’m late to the party, because Underground Cellar is that business. 

And after I visited their site, I couldn’t help myself… 

I signed up to their email list. 

And after only two weeks of emails, I really liked what they were doing, which is why this email breakdown is for:

Underground Cellar curates wine collections and adds in free upgrades to more expensive wines for their customers. 

The best part?

You can store up to 500 bottles for free in their secure Napa Valley cellar.

Even better?

Cases (12 bottles) always ship free.

Talk about a wine lover’s dream, eh? 

Rules: The Email Muse

Each week, I brave the marketing wilderness to find highly-effective ecommerce sales emails… and I shine a light on what made them work. 

My goal with this weekly tangle with The Email Muse is to teach you strategies and tactics you can use with email.  

Where do I find these magical electronic pieces of mail? My inbox, mostly, since I’m signed up to lists that I want to be on. I also take suggestions from readers who have a stellar email they’d like to share. 

Did you get an email recently that made you smile, your eyes tear up, or flat out gut punched you? I want to see it. 

Forward the email to me at (chris at threebeaconmarketing dot com) with a brief note about what you liked about it. If I choose to break it down, I’ll give you a shoutout and link back to your site. 

Oh, and don’t forward me emails you actually wrote. That’s the only rule.

Let’s get started.

The Subject Line – Scarcity and Value

This subject line is direct. 

It’s not fancy. It’s not clever. 

It’s clear and concise… 

But, it works.

1. Subject Line.png

It works because it leverages two psychological triggers most buyers respond to. 

What are those triggers?

Scarcity and Free. 

There is a limited supply, which communicates scarcity. People, even if they’re not interested in the offer, will respond to scarcity because they don’t want to miss out. 

You’ve heard of FOMO, right? This is at play in this subject line for new customers. 

Existing customers, well, they know how scarce the FREE bottles of wine are in these offers, so it reminds them to take action.

And while scarcity is a trigger for most shoppers, it’s one you want to use in limited situations.


Because if you use scarcity too often, it loses its effectiveness and decays the buyer’s trust.

And as sellers of goods and services, we trade and barter on trust. 

The next trigger… 

Free (aka value) is powerful, as well.

Most people like free stuff, but… 

The reason this “free” trigger is so powerful with Underground Cellar is because of their offer. 

Underground Cellar offers their customers FREE BOTTLES OF WIIIIIIINE with their purchases. In some cases, an $800 bottle of wine if the customer buys four (4) bottles.

The customers expect to get some kind of deal with each offer, and Underground Cellar delivers on that promise.

To new and existing customers alike, these “wine deals” are hard to say no to. 

This relationship between the brand and the customer are what drive continued engagement and sales for Underground Cellar. 

How to Write an Opening Email Paragraph

Now that we’ve unpacked the subject line, let’s dive into the opener of this email. 

Here’s the opening paragraph: 

Underground Cellar directly calls out their ideal customer. It’s clear, concise, and straightforward. No tricks. No gimmicks. 

This is a powerful way to get people to pay attention, because it speaks directly to their identity. 

“…if you’re a Cabernet lover!” is how those who drink cabernet speak about, think about, and feel about themselves. It’s in their DNA as wine lovers. So, they feel “seen” when they’re called out in this opening paragraph. This gets them thinking, “I’m a cab lover, I have to keep reading.” 

Also, take note of the hook at the end of this paragraph: 

“Then you’re going to love what we’ve got in store for you.” 

This is what’s called an “open loop.” An open loop teases at a conflict or desire the reader finds interesting. This is what keeps them reading, because they want to find out what happens next. 

But, open loops can fall flat if they’re not interesting to the reader. This is why KNOWING YOUR CUSTOMER is so important when writing copy. 

If you don’t know your customer’s desires, fears, reasons why, and more, then you might as well be speaking to a brick wall.

The Offer

Now that Underground Cellar has the reader hooked, they go right into the offer. 

Here’s the offer: 

Again, this is a strong, direct, clear offer. Easy to take advantage of. And not complicated for the reader to grasp. 

Complicated offers create confusion. 

And confused customers DO NOT BUY.  

Read that again ^^^


Are some offers complex? Sure! But they don’t have to be complicated. 

This is the joy of working with an experienced copywriter. They take complex offers and break them down into the compenent parts to find the most compelling way to share it with customers. 

Remember this… 

Confusion is a momentum killer. 

And if a customer’s momentum slows or even dies, they aren’t buying. 

Underground Cellar makes their offer clear and concise, easy to understand, which builds momentum toward the CTA and eventual purchase.  

Objection #1 – “What if I don’t like this flavor?”

Once you make an offer, there will be objections. Every. Single. Time. 

Expect them.

Plan for them. 

Address them. 

Here’s the response to objection #1: 

This response is addressing the primary objection:

“What if I don’t like this flavor?”

This objection is primarily coming from customers who have never tried this type of wine before, so they have no idea if they would like it or not.

This is a YUUUUGE objection in the fragrance and flavor industries since there’s a big risk for the cusotmer to “waste money” getting something they don’t like. 

Underground Cellar addresses this objection early and clearly, so customers can feel better about buying a wine they may have not tried before. 

What’s more…  

Underground Cellar calls out another customer identity that would enjoy this offer:  

“looking to branch out into blends”

This paragraph addresses the primary objeciton and encourages the ideal customer for this offer to take action.

Objection #2 – “Do I have to fill out another form?”

Now, if you’re an Underground Cellar customer, then you know filling out a form to get your free bottle of wine can be, well, a pain. 

Here’s the response to that objection: 

Prior to this deal, members would have to fill out a manual form to snag their complimentary bottle. Now, they don’t have to do that. It’s easier than ever before to get FREE wine.

Addressing this objection removes friction in the buying process for those “on the fence” or don’t want to fill out the form anymore.

And removing friction means more fun (read: sales).

Reassurance – “It’s practically a steal”

There’s a little-used tactic in copywriting that gets missed… a lot. 

It’s called: 


Here’s how Underground Cellar reassures their customers: 

Letting the customer know that this is the right choice for them… and then proving it. 

This goes a long way in SHOWING the customer that you’ve got their back. You’re sharing this offer with them because it’s a great deal for them, not because you’re trying to make a buck. 

This ingratiates the customer with you, which leads to more earned trust and incrased likely hood that they’ll take you up on your offer.

Objection #3 – “What will this actually cost me?”

Now that the customer sees it’s a great deal, they’re probably trying to do some math in their head. 

They want to know what it’s actually going to cost them to get the four bottles plus their free bottle.

Here’s the response to objection #3: 

This paragraph grounds the customer in what the price actually is for this offer. 

Also, the first two numbers were higher than this final price. That is on purpose. 


Because they’re price anchoring the customer… as subtle as it looks, that’s what they’re doing psychologically. 

$26 per bottle is much cheaper than $42 per bottle, which makes it a more attractive deal.

In the reader’s mind, the longer they read, the cheaper this offer gets for the perceived value.  

Then, Underground Cellar goes all the way and sweetens the deal. 

Sweeten The Deal – $800 Complimentary bottle of wine

A great way to make an offer even more attractive to your ideal customer is to… 

Sweeten the deal (aka add in some bonuses). 

Here’s how they sweeten the deal: 

How do you sweeten the deal?

In long form sales letters, this would be adding bonuses to the offer to drive up the perceived value. 

This increase in value without an increase in price creates a gap between what the customer is paying and what they’re getting in value or ROI. This creates a high perceived value for the offer and gives the customer reason to buy right now.  

In Underground Cellars’ offer, they’re asking for $100 (or so) to buy four bottles of wine. Then, they stack on a free bottle of limited supply wine that costs $42 (almost half of the total price for the four bottles. This is a great deal, but… 

They go one step further and mention that you could snag an $800 bottle of an even more rare wine… for FREE, when you take advantage of this offer, right now.

This sweetens the deal a ton. 

The bonus bottle is worth multiples more than the original offer itself, which makes it a super attractive purchase and puts buyers into a frenzy.  

Recap The Offer

After the offer and CTA button, Underground Cellar recaps their offer. 

Here’s the recap: 

Recap the offer at least once so the customer can see what you just offered them.

In other words, repeat what you just told them in a simpler format. 

The original offer shares all of the information, addresses objections, and reassures the customer it’s the right decision. 

When you recap, it reminds the customer what they have the opportunity to buy. 

This helps reignite their desire to take action and make a purchase. 

The recap also helps clarify the offer even more, if customers are unsure of what they just read (because, you know, words are hard, and all).  

Inject More Scarcity & Urgency

Now that the customer has seen the offer twice, it’s time to push for action. 

Here’s how to inject more scarcity and urgency into the email: 

Ratchet up the urgency and scarcity to get more readers to click through and buy.

The “limited supply” is real. It’s a reminder for the customer to take action now OR miss out. And, as we mentioned ealier, FOMO is a YUUUUGE psychological trigger for people to take action. 

Also, the scarcity has to be real. If it’s not real, then your customers will actually distrust you and ignore your offer (and potentially future offers). 

For example, if you’re selling a digital book and say there’s only 100 copies, which is why it cost so much… well, this ain’t true. Digital copies are virtually limitless. Now, if you sell hard copy books only, then scarcity and urgency can be used on a limited print run. 

Make sure your scarcity is real.  

What You Learned

Here’s the tl;dr of what you learned today: 

  • Scarcity and value get the click
  • Calling out your ideal customer and how they identify earns trust
  • Making an offer clear, concise is better than making it clever and complicated
  • Address objections to reduce friction for purchase
  • Add a “bonus” to your offer to sweeten the deal for your customer
  • Inject more scarcity and urgency to get action from the customer

Now what?

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