How Cherry Bombe uses email to make customers smile

After a long career in publishing that included stints at Harper’s Bazaar and as Yahoo’s Food editor in chief, Kerry Diamond, founder and editor in chief of Cherry Bombe, opened a restaurant. “I had never worked in restaurants, but I’d done everything related to books and magazines and newspapers,” said Diamond.”

“Publishing was my world, but the restaurant really opened my eyes. I realized women’s stories weren’t being told or prioritized in the industry. I was learning about all these incredible women and I wanted to help tell their stories. I had this idea to do a magazine called Cherry Bombe. I spent about a year working on it and it came out in May 2013.”

In 2013, Cherry Bombe launched as a print magazine. They needed to start their email list — and build their online presence — from scratch. At the time, they were hindered by a clunky email marketing platform that made it difficult to customize messaging and nearly impossible to align the brand’s aesthetic which was inspired by a rich history of beautifully designed print magazines.

They also needed to take more ownership of their content and communication strategy which was largely built on Instagram. They migrated to Mailchimp in 2014 for the ease-of-use, template options, and the ability to easily market products and track revenue through campaigns. But the secret sauce to their highly engaged email list lies in Cherry Bombe’s compelling, consistent content — stuff that readers are eager to receive in their inboxes.

The platform has helped them crystallize their brand’s look and messaging even while audience outreach and engagement remained focused on Instagram. During and after the pandemic, Cherry Bombe knew they needed to take more ownership of their messaging and audience outreach by focusing — and recalibrating — their email marketing approach.

Does your email copy persuade or sell?

What’s the one thing you would do to make more money from your email program?

Your first thought might be to add an automation platform, invest in new email designs, maybe even switch ESPs. But all of those cost time and money, and they don’t necessarily address the real reason your emails don’t drive the results you need.

What could make the difference? Better email copy.

Specifically, email copy that recognizes your email subscribers require unique tactics to persuade them to click to your website and convert.

This topic doesn’t come up much in debates over whether AI-fueled copybots will replace human copywriters. The problem is not just about having your copy reflect the data you have on each customer or creating near-1:1 emails.

Email copywriting is about persuasion, not selling

It’s knowing that you must help your email subscribers understand why they should take that one extra step and click from the email to your landing page.

So far, this might seem like Email 101. You learned all this years ago when you got your first email job, right? But from everything I have seen over the years, from working with clients to observing what other brands are doing, I don’t think we talk enough about the unique needs of email copywriting.

Good email copy isn’t lyrical praises for your product or witty commentary. To make the difference stand out even more clearly, think about your email campaign’s purpose: to persuade the subscriber to click through your website.

Your email’s job is not to convert your customer (AMP for Email and other attempts at in-email conversion aside). The conversion happens on your website. Your email is the transition to the website and must give readers a reason to click. That’s where persuasion steps up.

Email copy is different from web copy

Email is a push channel, while your website is a pull channel.  Each channel has unique characteristics to address in your copy.

Intent. People who click to your website from a search result or by typing your site URL are likely hunting for something specific. Their intent is strong.

Your email readers, on the other hand, might have a passive interest in your brand but need to shift into active curiosity in order to click.

Even an email that’s strictly an announcement should try to persuade your subscriber to click through to engage on your website because that will generate a few more data crumbs you can track to understand your customers better.

Personalization. Web content by nature is more generic. You might be able to personalize a few areas if you have cookie data or if your customer logs in, but the deeper your customers move into your site, the less personalized the copy.

With email copy, you can call on your email data to personalize every email you send, not just to refer to past activity but also to use predictive modeling, which you can use to add content that matches what you think your customer will do next.

Nurturing. Website copy generally focuses on a single touchpoint – what the customer is looking at or doing at that one moment in time. Even if the website recognizes a returning customer with a personalized greeting, the content will reflect only that previous touchpoint.

Email copy, on the other hand, can be part of a continuing journey that reflects past activity and can lead your customer into taking the next step.

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