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Microcopy: Digital Marketing's Superpower

October 19, 2017

Microcopy: Digital Marketing's Superpower

What’s small but mighty? No, it’s not Ant-Man, Mighty Mouse or a character from The Hobbit, but something so powerful that it can make or break a website, email or app. 

It’s microcopy—the small pieces of text on your website that guide a visitor’s experience. More than just mouse type, microcopy encourages your customers to take action. Think of it as the secret weapon for digital marketing. 

Without microcopy, visitors may wander aimlessly through a website. Microcopy gives them purpose, or at least drives them along the path you’d like them to take. If you use it effectively, customers can be putty in your hands. Genius, right?

See if you recognize these microcopy examples:

  • Search Engine—Google is a good example of search engine microcopy. Under the search box are two buttons, “Google Search” and “I’m Feeling Lucky.” One is practical; the other is an attention grabber.
  • Social Media—Twitter offers a smart approach to microcopy. Its text box asks “What’s happening?” instead of saying something more generic like “Post here,” gently guiding the user to say what they’re looking for in a post.
  • Email—Promotional emails are swarming with microcopy. Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards emails make their microcopy effective by getting specific, with directions such as “enroll now,” “book package,” “book hotel” and “book car.” Instead of a generic “learn more,” the button copy directs customers to exactly what they need.
  • Password Forms—Most form microcopy is instructional. A perfect example would be username and password copy that explains how to create effective login credentials.
  • Error Pages—Microcopy on a 404 Error webpage lets companies turn a bad situation into something good by directing customers to deals or giveaways instead of hitting a dead end.

Knowing your audience and brand is the key to effective microcopy. If your brand is fun and irreverent, you can get away with more lighthearted microcopy than if you’re known for being serious and straitlaced. In all cases, though, addressing visitors directly and providing clear instructions will create a better experience for them— and better results for you.