How to Use Microcopy Effectively to Increase Sales
Copywriting is a skill every entrepreneur should have. You can hire someone to write your copy for you or learn the art of persuasion on your own.
Microcopy is one of the most misunderstood topics in marketing—and it's also one of the most important. Without it, you won't succeed with your online marketing efforts. Why? Because microcopy is the single most effective way to influence consumers to take action and get results on your site.
Today, most websites feature some form of microcopy – little text on a website meant to help visitors understand what the site is about or how to use it.
What Is Microcopy?
It's copywriting. But microcopy is much more detailed than regular copywriting because it focuses differently.
The copywriter focuses on the product's features and benefits, whereas the microcopy writer focuses on what customers need to know to make purchasing decisions. The result is that the buyer knows what to expect and why it's worth the purchase.
It is the copy that sells your brand. The words, phrases, and images you use on your website, email campaign, social media, and marketing materials convey your brand's message to your audience.
It's the key to effectively communicating your brand's values and personality to your target market. Make sure your microcopy is clear, concise, and consistent; focus on a few simple guidelines: Make it memorable. If your microcopy is short and sweet, your prospects will remember it.
Why Microcopy is Important
Copywriting is no longer just words; it's a marketing strategy. Words and phrases can convey powerful messages. Microcopy—the use of words that describe the visual design of an interface—is the art of selecting the right words to create a perfect experience for the user. Microcopy can inform, persuade, and entice, among other things.
In eCommerce, it's no surprise that microcopy is one of the most effective ways to influence consumers' purchasing decisions. Microcopy is a short copy written at a nominal type size in the product and is designed to reinforce the purchase benefits.
When used correctly, it helps consumers identify precisely what their product does for them, its benefits, and why they should choose it over competitors.
As a marketer, if you haven't made microcopy a priority, you're leaving money on the table. Here's why: If you can't describe your product accurately, your customer will have difficulty imagining what your product could do for them. You won't sell.
The same goes for a customer's benefits from using your product. Without clearly communicating those benefits, there's no way to describe what a customer is getting from using your product.
How Microcopy Works
Learn the language of emotion
So how do you make sure you're conveying the right message in the right way? You need to understand how people respond emotionally to specific words and phrases, says Tracey Wilkinson, a copywriter and author of “The Copywriter's Guide to Microcopy.”
It's easy to fall into writing messages that assume people are rational creatures. Still, if you're trying to motivate to sell something to people, it pays to be mindful of the impact of your messaging on them emotionally.
The point of motivation is to get a consumer to act on a desire. If a consumer doesn't already have a strong desire to buy, the next thing that should happen is that the company needs to help create that desire.
But what if the company can't make that happen? What if you're only trying to sell a toaster to a consumer who doesn't care about toasters? Then, you need to understand the language of emotion and ensure that you're conveying the emotions that will help motivate that consumer to buy now.
Write about what matters most
It's often found within images and video, and it's a beneficial copy for eCommerce sites because it's so visual. There's a reason why people think microcopy is hard to write, in any case.
Most of it is written using the passive voice: “The product is designed to…” or “Our new website allows…”
Instead, you want to tell the reader what they need to do to achieve a result. It's okay to use the active voice when telling someone what to do—especially when you're not providing instructions to a robot or a computer program.
Focus on the human factor
The human factor in marketing copywriting is an exciting concept to me. Humans don't always behave rationally or do what makes sense for us. We sometimes act on emotion or what we think others think of us.
This is why it's important to remember the human factor when writing marketing copy. People often make decisions based on things that don't matter. For example, someone will choose to buy a car because they think it will fit their lifestyle, even if it doesn't perform as well as a cheaper alternative.
Many people buy Apple products because they're cool, or maybe they have a special place in their hearts for Steve Jobs, but none of that matters.
Make it easy for consumers to act
Suppose you have a strong understanding of how the average consumer reads and acts, then you can easily take advantage of it. One easy way to create a microcopy that makes it easy for consumers to act is to use “must-have” language.
If you're making a call to action (CTA), you should use words like must, must-have, and should. You could use words like have to and must if you provide information.
In addition, the average consumer is more likely to act when given a clear deadline for taking action. Make sure that your CTAs and popups or prompts communicate the urgency of the action.
Create a unique voice
You need to know how to effectively communicate with your audience using your brand's voice. It's not enough to tell them what they should expect from your product; instead, you have to explain why they should care.
Your product's message needs to be told in your customers' language. They don't care if you're writing to a female or male audience; they only care that the message makes sense to them.
Writing distinctive and consistent copy with your brand is a skill that most businesses don't master.
If you're one of those lucky people who already do, you should take some time to evaluate your writing and see how you can improve it.
When you're writing microcopy, there's a good chance you're talking to a specific audience, and you need to appeal to them based on something distinct. Whether you're writing an email, an ad, or a landing page, you have a reason for wanting the reader to click through to your site, and you need to articulate that in your copy.
Types of Microcopy
Some of the most important words on a page are the ones that aren't copy—they're the bullets and subheadings, and they're often overlooked.
Yet, they can make the difference between your landing pages converting or losing potential customers. Let's take a closer look at the types of microscopy.
Visual Microcopy: Images and Videos
While you can use text to communicate anything, visuals (and videos) help tell a story, convey emotions and ideas, and provide instant gratification. Visuals are powerful tools for making your content more engaging. But while there are plenty of tips for creating high-quality images and videos, there are still some basics to remember.
It's not just the text that sells. According to a study in 2010, 68% of consumers base their purchase decisions on visuals and visuals alone.
Aesthetic Microcopy: Typography
If you are looking to boost conversions and increase sales for your online business, you should pay attention to the typographic elements of your website.
The most important thing to do is keep the copy short and to the point. You should focus on the benefits, not the features. Also, you want to avoid using big fonts and large types. These features will only take away from the content.
Audio Microcopy: Music
If you're interested in getting the word out about your music, you'll likely need to consider using an audio microcopy.
Audio microcopy, or AM, refers to specific design elements used in advertisements to communicate messages through sound instead of sight.
There are many options, but some of the most common include narration, voiceover, music, and even sound effects. You'll want to choose the right one for your audience.
Tactile Microcopy: Physical Goods
Visual messages don't convey all the information you need to sell, so you must make your message accessible through other senses.
There are many ways to incorporate touch into the copy. For example, you can put a hand-written note in the package, including a personal letter, or a tactile component such as a product sample.
It can be as simple as putting a sticker on your product to add more depth or as complex as including a unique material (such as sandpaper) that provides a tactile experience beyond just looking at the product.
Social Microcopy: Social Media
Here's a secret tip for copywriters: don't overthink social media copy. Don't even think about it. It's not a sales pitch.
Social media is simply a tool to communicate ideas and information to your target audience. Like any other communication medium, you need to ensure that what you're writing will resonate with the reader and make sense to them. This means making sure your copy is simple, short, and concise.
Interactive Microcopy: Web 2.0
Web 2.0 is all about interactivity. Many web designers who work on microcopy sites use the term “interactive” as an umbrella term for all the features that encourage visitors to take action.
These features include buttons, links, images, videos, text boxes, popups, etc. They all prompt the visitor to do something. They almost always tell the visitor what to do, whether it's “Submit,” “Buy Now,” “Buy It Now,” “Shop Now,” “Add to Cart,” etc.
The goal is to get the visitor to click a button, click another, type a keyword in a search box, or fill out a form. Microcopy sites are usually straightforward and often have no navigation at all. Because of the lack of navigation, the visitor is forced to take action.
Intuitive Microcopy: User Interfaces
The goal of copywriting isn't to trick your readers into making a purchase. Instead, copywriters should help readers understand their needs better and show how your product solves those needs.
If your copy isn't doing this for your users, they'll be less likely to buy your product. Users don't need to be tricked into making a purchase. They need to feel comfortable using the product or service to their ability.
When a company's user interface is poorly designed, they don't consider how users feel about using their product. An intuitive microcopy helps to eliminate user confusion and improves user satisfaction. You may use words like “click” or “tap” instead of a word that means “press,” and don't include any punctuation in the copy.
Cognitive Microcopy: Mindfulness
This is another principle I learned from Gary Vaynerchuk. When I say mindfulness, I mean a sense of being present in the moment.
It's all too easy to fall into the trap of overthinking about everything, and it's something you'll want to pay attention to.
What happens when you're thinking about a particular issue? Do you notice yourself getting distracted by the thoughts in your head? Or are you feeling some level of anxiety?
Cognitive microcopy is a part of human perception and can help direct your web visitors' attention to something they may not have noticed. The best way to use cognitive microcopy is to create a call to action in the copy that highlights the visitor's interests or points of confusion.
Behavioural Microcopy: Behaviours
In social media marketing, behavioural microcopy is a term used to describe how copywriters will use the language of social media to appeal to their audience's psychology rather than their intellect.
According to Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, “People don't come to social networks to read; they come to share and express emotions.”
Therefore, copywriters can achieve a much more significant impact on their audience by appealing to people's emotions and psychology rather than their intellect.
To do this, copywriters will often use microcopy to convey what the reader's behaviour should be and use words or phrases that will encourage their audience to engage in the desired behaviour.
How to Use Microcopy Effectively to Increase Sales
Determine the Benefits of Microcopy
Microcopy is a simple but powerful tool that can help you and your business win more business. You can use it to tell stories, sell benefits, explain technical jargon, etc.
But, it's important to note that your microcopy should be in keeping with the tone and style of your overall web page and products. For example, if your site is fun and casual, your microcopy shouldn't be too serious. You want your audience to feel at ease when interacting with your brand.
Find Your Audience
As you design your website, you must decide whom you want your site to speak to. Some websites have only a few pages and speak only to specific audiences.
However, websites like Amazon and Shopify have thousands of pages and dozens of categories that speak to millions of different kinds of people.
To ensure that your microcopy is targeted to your desired audience, consider whom your site is aimed at and what your site is about.
It's one of the critical areas of copywriting that determines whether a reader wants to convert. The other three parts of the copywriting pyramid — headlines, call-to-actions, and body copy — help support microcopy.
Identify Target Market
Now that you've figured out your product, niche, and whom you want to sell it to, you'll need to figure out the copy to drive people to it. The key is to think about what words will appeal to that market.
How is your product or service different from anything else already on the market? Is there a niche your product or service fills? You must know what your target market wants.
Once you've identified your target market, you can decide whether to focus your copy on your product's features and benefits or if your target market cares more about its price.
Write the Copy
Once you've written the first draft of your product description, you're ready to go back through it and write the copy. This isn't the time to go back and edit or tweak your content. Instead, start writing the copy, and you'll better understand what needs to be said.
Think about the words you want to use and the tone you want to employ. Consider which words and phrases you think will resonate with your customers and what might give off the wrong impression.
Microcopy can be broken down into two categories: persuasive and informative. It persuades the reader to take action, while informative copy informs them about what's in the product or service.
Macrocopy, or the language of headlines, is what captures attention and builds excitement. These words should appear at the beginning of the copy and then appear again at the beginning of each subsequent paragraph.
We are often told to keep the reader in mind when writing. But, as a content writer, you know that what the reader “wants” to read and how they read can vary widely.
That's why it's important to remember that your audience is more than your readers, and you'll have to use creative strategies to get the right message across. Using microcopy to ensure your target audience sees your content will require that you be very specific with your language and tone.
In conclusion, the best microcopy helps guide the reader through purchasing your product. You want to provide the necessary details to know exactly how and why they need to purchase your product.
Using the right words will gain a loyal customer base ready to recommend you to their friends. This article will teach you how to use the power of microcopy to increase sales.
Learn how to create an effective microcopy that will increase conversion and turn prospects into buyers.