Making Macro Waves With Microcopy
April 10, 2019
With attention spans dwindling by the day, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for companies to capture and hold the attention of their customers. You can blame technology, the never-ending workday, or the bombardment of daily information that we receive.
Whatever the main cause may be, we’d rather focus on a sustainable solution that will help drive sales. That solution? Microcopy.
You might not be able to increase your customers’ attention spans, but you can create a UX that’ll quickly get them where they want to go, with all of the information that they need to know.
What is microcopy?
Microcopy is any piece of copy that helps a user accomplish a task, informs them, or alleviates their concerns. Those error messages you’ve seen when landing on the wrong page, that information that you’ve noticed below certain buttons, and the various subheaders that give a bit more detail — it’s all microcopy.
If you’re attempting to write award-winning microcopy, it’s important to focus on a few specific areas: brevity, context, authenticity, and clarity.
By using strong calls to action, reassuring stats, and a no-BS approach, you can turn a casual site visitor into a loyal customer.
“Opportunity and telling yourself, ‘Oh, you have all the time in the world, you have all the money in the world, you have all the colors in the palette you want, anything you want,’ I mean, that just kills creativity.” — Jack White
Writing for readers with decreased attention spans can seem difficult. And it is. But that just means you have to get your point across with fewer words that carry more weight.
Instead of allowing himself to feel trapped by the constraints and deadlines imposed by his record label, Jack White chooses to look at these limitations as motivation. If we don’t place restrictions or time limits on ourselves, we might never get anything done.
Take Not Pot’s homepage for example. Not Pot makes non-psychoactive CBD gummies that help alleviate anxiety, relieve pain, and enhance your mood. They wanted to make it clear that their products do not contain THC (the psychoactive component in marijuana that leads to a high). Instead of listing lengthy studies and boring you with paragraphs of scientific language, they chose to take the direct route.
You’ve heard it before, but it’s worth restating: context is everything.
Without context, certain terms and directions can be confusing. Many companies take the insider approach and use acronyms and language that a first-time visitor might have no prior knowledge of. This can make new customers feel like they aren’t welcome and lead to shorter visit times on your site.
One example that we love is SNOWE’s linen landing page. If we didn’t have any context, “Just Add Air” wouldn’t make much sense or mean much to us at all. But their subheader microcopy explains that they use “bursts of air” on their linen that give it that soft, worn feel.
Some situations call for a more formal tone, but the best microcopy typically feels as though it was written by a friend.
Not only does informal language feel more authentic, but it comes off as less “salesy,” too. Most people know when they’re being sold to, and a hard sell can be a major turnoff for many. Allowing the customer to feel as if they’re in control is key. Let them know what your product is and what your intentions are up front, and the rest will take care of itself.
Dollar Shave Club is a great example of this. Their $5 Starter Kit almost seems too good to be true. But they quickly and easily calm hesitations with a brief, no-nonsense approach.
Clarity and context go hand in hand, but providing clarity helps your customers know exactly what steps you want them to take next.
You can have a great product, but if your customers don’t exactly know what they’re buying or what to do next, the results can be detrimental. Step back, and take a look at your site as a buyer. What are you getting? How do you sign up? What steps do you need to take to complete the purchase? These are all very important questions that need to be answered by your site’s microcopy. If you’re confused at all by your current copy, your customers most likely will be, too.
Aloe is a millennial-focused health insurance company. Signing up for health insurance is complicated enough. But for first-time purchasers, it can look even more confusing. Aloe took the pain out of buying health insurance by breaking it down into 3 simple steps.
By crafting your microcopy around brevity, context, authenticity, and clarity, you’ll ensure a smooth and straight-forward process for your customers.