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The Natural History Museum relaunched its online shop this summer in a blaze of incredible copywriting.

We featured it on the blog because it was so much fun it had to be shared. And now, here's the follow up post with some more highlights from its summer email campaign.

Fans of the word, great lizards and ecommerce, you're in for a blimmin' treat.

N.B. the email didn't have a web link to view, so check out the bottom of the article to see a shot of the email in full or open the pic in your browser.

Subject line: scenario, product, imperative

The subject line really sets out the NHM stall.

Keep kids busy on your summer travels with stickers, games and more

We know you might have kids, or know kids, and might be going on holiday (because it's late July) and might like to win something to make the journey a little easier.

'Travel goodies' is nicely compelling in this scenario, and the subject is raising a topic that might have skipped the busy parent's mind - how are you going to stop the kids from screaming as you drive to Bognor Regis?

nhm store email

Creating a narrative or reason to scroll

Look at the way the subheadings in the email link together to tell one long summery call-to-action.

  • Make the journey a comfy one..
  • ..with plenty of distractions..
  • ..and lots to do when you get there.

I keep scrolling and there's no let up on the message that I need to do something to ensure my kids (or my friends' kids) are kept busy this holiday.

These headings allow for a large range of products to be advertised, from towels to Top Trumps, without the merchandising feeling cluttered.

nhm store email

Pleasure and pain

Look at the bonus pods on the bottom of the email. Do you notice how there are many character traits that can be called upon to sell a product - generosity (toys and games pod), but also anxiety (stay covered up in the sun) and aspiration (keep kids' minds active all summer).

NHM knows that parents inhabit different moods and that kids demand different stimuli.

One slight improvement perhaps here is that the link from the t-shirt pod takes me to a search on the term 'kids tshirt?utm_source=email' which throws up quite a few books in the results and a pair of socks (see below).

In fact, just searching for 'kids tshirt' brings up a slightly better results page (also shown below).

pleasure and pain

The link from the 'stay covered up' pod could be better optimised.

nhm online store

Like this..

nhm online store

'To celebrate the summer launch of our new online shop..'

This is classic copywriting. The competition is framed as a celebration. It's not about 'just enter your details for a chance to win', which is the kind of copy that alerts consumers to an exercise in data collection. It's celebratory and almost feels generous - 'we're giving away..'

Top marks as well for referring to children as 'the little ones'.

competition nhm email

'Web exclusive' and 'shop now'

Like the online store itself, the email cleverly flags up web exclusives, making the imperative to 'shop now' even more convincing.

The fact that each product links out to a product page is nice as the reader knows exactly where they're going. In effect, this is a mini store-front in an email.

As I picked up in a previous post, the imagery on the product pages is nicely crisp (and zoomable) and the copy is fun. See the 'small emperor penguin soft toy' page below, with its astoundingly slick description of 'a noble addition to any toy collection'.

nhm email

emperor penguin soft toy

All the bases covered

Here's the footer of the email. It's pretty simple but that's how good copy works.

  • 'Many ways to shop.'
  • 'Got a question?.
  • 'Get your order faster? Busy bee?'
  • 'Connect with us.'

nhm online store 

See the Econsultancy blog for some examples of micro-copy, Econsultancy training for one day copywriting courses and Econsultancy reports for content tips for writers.

The NHM online store email in full:

nhm email

Ben Davis

Published 29 July, 2014 by Ben Davis @ Econsultancy

Ben Davis is a senior writer at Econsultancy. He lives in Manchester, England. You can contact him at ben.davis@econsultancy.com, follow at @herrhuld or connect via LinkedIn.

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Comments (4)

Avatar-blank-50x50

Industrial Chillers

I think god has gifted you special art in your hand to design like this after imagination.

about 2 years ago

Ben Davis

Ben Davis, Senior Writer at EconsultancyStaff

@IndustrialChillers

Very Victorian of you to bring God into a piece about Natural History.

You would have done well in Kensington in the late 19th Century.

about 2 years ago

dan barker

dan barker, E-Business Consultant at Dan Barker

"The link from the 'stay covered up' pod could be better optimised."

I think that's a coding error in the email. They've accidentally used a '?' where they should have used an '&'. The original intent was to do exactly as you've suggested.

Anyway, I concur with Industrial Chillers (which presumably is a collective of very relaxed factory workers) - god has truly gifted you a special art in your hand.

about 2 years ago

Ben Davis

Ben Davis, Senior Writer at EconsultancyStaff

@Dan

I need to brush up.

I am looking at my hand right now.

about 2 years ago

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