What’s small and often ignored but can dramatically reduce errors and increase response rates?

magnifying glass

They’re often no bigger than a small sentence, a phrase or even a single word.

But they have the power to stop forms being abandoned and visitors leaving; they can even improve what people think about your brand.

What am I talking about? Why, microcopy of course.

It might be the sales letter or landing page copy that gets all the adulation.

But short, punchy lines of microcopy can be just as potent in directing people to take action.

Micro copy has 3 basic uses:

1. Microcopy tells people what to do – Pithy lines of copy used in forms help people to fill them out correctly, provide the information you need and avoid them being abandoned after a flurry of error messages.

2. Microcopy builds trust – Little reassuring messages, reminding people that you won’t share their information or send them a flood of spam, can make all the difference in calming people’s objections and encouraging them to take action.

3. Microcopy builds your brand – The internet can seem a robotic, cold medium. But friendly, conversational copy, with a playful tone, can give your website a personality. Mail Chimp and Flickr are two such examples.

When writing website copy it’s often the landing page and body copy that get all the attention.

But remember that concisely worded instructions, reassuring phrases and witty signup links can dramatically reduce errors and increase numbers taking action.

Ignore them at your peril.

4 thoughts on “What’s small and often ignored but can dramatically reduce errors and increase response rates?

  1. TC/Copywriter Underground

    In online marketing, personality is clearly the new black, and I think you’ve touched on the Deep, Dark Secret of more than a few successful copywriters: microcopy-driven attitude.

    Today’s online shopper often researches upwards of two dozen sites before narrowing their search to a final cut of (typically) 3-5 sites.

    Making that final cut is usually the result of a series of rapid decisions, and a little personality sprinkled among the other content can only help.

    Another good example is the MyEmma email site, which offers up this gem in the upper right corner: “Returning Customer? Lovely. Log in here.”

    Frankly, I love this stuff, and more importantly, clients suddenly seem willing to accept it.

    Great post.

  2. Couldn’t agree more. The obvious example of particularly ‘warm’ microcopy is Innocent. Their packaging is full of little secret messages that all add to the experience. However, I was amazed at how the use of microcopy can vary so much from sector to sector and even country to country. I was in Australia recently and they know how to keep things simple. My friend moved there and instead of forms with names like ‘P45’ and the suchlike, they simply say what stuff is on the tin – ‘Newstart Form’. I really wish more companies would just ditch any jargon and say it how it is.

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