Microcopy: Why Small Words Create Big Money
Words are powerful, especially in the digital landscape where consumers rely on first impressions a lot. One of the most crucial elements of helping the user connect with your product or service is the microcopy. Microcopy is used in everything we see, however it’s no the same as content copy or copy used in content marketing. Learn about the benefits of microscopy with Matchbox Design Group in St. Louis, MO.
What Is Microcopy?
Microcopy is any kind of catch-all copy that you see on digital products, like apps, websites, social media platforms, software, or any place on the internet. These can be the copy you see on the menu bar (ex. home, subscription, explore, or cart), any piece of text you see on an app tutorial (tooltips), and you can even find them in error messages.
Even though they’re very tiny, their influence is huge.
Microcopy: Why Is It important?
The purpose of microcopy is to help the users understand how to use the product. It enhances the user experience and makes the platform, product, tool, or website easier to use.
Look at platforms like Twitter. There, you’ll see words like “Home,” “Bookmarks,” “Notifications,” “Messages” and “List,” among others. Each of these words has been selected very carefully to make sure that the user knows how to use the platform.
For example, before the UX writer chose the word “Home,” they considered different choices as they could have used other terms like “Timeline” or “Feed,” but they chose the microcopy that the user can best relate to and understand.
UX writers choose these words carefully, and they’re conscious of how the term will be interpreted by the users. The process of UX writing is very different from tech writing or copywriting. Writing microcopy isn’t intended to sell. It’s meant to help people use and understand your product.
What Makes An Effective Microcopy?
- Clear, and easy to understand.
- Takes on the brand’s tone and voice.
- Blends into the UX design with ease.
- Answers a question, connects with the user, fills a need.
Why Small Words Create Big Money
“So if it’s not made to sell, then how can microcopy create big money?” The marketing stage and the selling stage fall under technical writing and copywriting, microcopy is here to deliver the promises that customers are expecting from the product. An effective microcopy delivers customer trust, customer satisfaction, and potentially, a sale. Microcopy can sell products with a good call to action on your product pages.
1. Gain Customers Trust
Many users exit a website, uninstall an application, or abandon carts once they get confused about any element in a website. Not only do confusing messages make a product or service seem dodgy, but people also just don’t have the patience to spend on learning how to do a task that could be delivered better by a competitor.
Microcopy formalizes the platform or settings. When a user is placed in an environment where they are being guided properly, they’re more likely to complete an action and use the platform more.
Using effective microcopy to inform the user about what’s happening, what should happen next, or guide them through the purchase process, makes them feel more in control.
Another example is when a user is installing or updating a product. Microcopy can make them feel at ease and secure when going through each step.
Transparency is another element that microcopy brings to the table. Now that users are giving personal information online, these types of exchanges or transactions can raise security and privacy concerns. Microcopy helps build trust that will impact the UX positively, which will ultimately influence sign-ups, downloads, or sales.
If a microcopy is written poorly, people can feel suspicious, which can lead to cart abandonment, a page exit, or an uninstall.
Avoid These Mistakes:
- Requiring too much personal information.
- Not providing details about product warranty, replacement, or guarantee.
- Asking for payment information too soon.
2. Gives Customer Satisfaction
After gaining their trust, you provide them with a quality experience. Satisfaction naturally comes along with trust. If users don’t trust your product or service, then they won’t be satisfied, and vice-versa.
A well-written microcopy is something that sometimes goes unnoticed. Why?
It’s because the user should feel like it’s a natural part of the experience. The microcopy should blend in and match well with the web design. It shouldn’t catch their attention; it should guide them and make them feel at ease in using your product or service.
For example, a simple microcopy saying “No credit card needed” on your signup page or free trial page for a course on social media marketing for beginners can instantly put users at ease and gain their trust. They subconsciously interpret it as confidence. You’re confident that your product will deliver and that they’ll be willing to pay for it after the trial ends.
3. Closes A Sale Or Completes A Task
An effective microcopy can help people take action, drive engagement, and encourage users to purchase.
An example would be if a user is shopping online, and remove products from their cart. A microcopy can then be strategically put in place to urge them to explore other products. A commonly used microcopy would be “Your cart is empty,” or “Add items from your wishlist.”
Choose words that resonate with your users. From the example above, the word “wishlist” was strategically chosen because it already has created a personal connection with the user. All items in there are chosen by them. So it would make sense for them to check those products out again.
How To Write Good Microcopy To Improve User Experience
1. Avoid Being Salesy
A microcopy’s job is to make people understand your product — not to sell. Think about what the user is trying to accomplish at that moment. Think about what emotion the user is feeling while they’re in that stage of the journey.
For example, if you’re introducing a new feature, the user is curious as to what that feature is all about and how it works. They’re not going to be receptive to sales talk; they’re looking for guidance. So
match the user’s state of mind, whether they’re skeptical or excited, then choose the words that will help them accomplish the task. Compare that to a microcopy for an error message where the user is probably feeling annoyed or frustrated. You wouldn’t use a happy or perky tone in this situation. Instead, you’ll go for a more professional and serious approach.
2. Think About The User Journey
The user journey answers the where what, and why.
Where are they in the buying process, what are they looking for, why are they here, and where are they going after this? You can take a step back, look at the design, try to understand the user, and put yourself in their shoes.
3. Use Simple And Common Words
Avoid using technical terms or jargon. There may be terms that are frequently used in a certain field but aren’t common knowledge, or used in everyday conversations. Make sure that you’re using terms they would understand.
4. Keep It Short And Concise
People have a short attention span, so keep it short and concise. Especially if the microcopy is for trial tips or tool tips because these can get long, and users may not be willing to read a paragraph’s worth of explanation.
A few words or a single sentence should be enough to give them an idea of what a button should do, or where they should go next.
Small Words, Big Impact
Great microcopy is indeed tiny, and mostly unnoticed words. But that’s because it should blend well with the overall design of the website or platform. They’re a crucial part of the user experience and should be carefully planned out. This way, the users will feel more at ease, and comfortable using your products or services, which will then positively influence your ROI.