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Small Words, Big Difference: The importance of microcopy

03 December 2021

If you’re used to writing digital content, you’ll understand how essential microcopy is. Microcopy, as the name suggests, is the small excerpts that appear on a website, such as buttons, image captions, legal small print etc. Although they don’t sound like the most exciting pieces of information, they actually play vital roles across digital content. For example, have you noticed that when you’re creating a password for an account, there is always a tooltip hinting if your password is too weak? This small tooltip could be the difference between a safe and secure account and an account that gets hacked due to weak security. 

Image captions are also much more important than you may originally think. For people with a visual impairment, a caption that can be read to them by a screen reader is crucial for them to understand what is happening on your webpage.

Buttons are big business

If you’re running a business online, are you making good use of buttons? Buttons are usually the key to your customers interacting with your business. Whether it’s an add to cart button or a buy now button, these small pieces of microcopy are indispensable. However, there is such a thing as a bad button. 

A bad button can be easily spotted through its undescriptive copy. For a button to achieve its purpose, it must clearly state what the user will achieve by clicking it. If your button uses copy like learn more or read more, you’re not telling the user what they’ll be reading more of, so why would they click it? It takes 50 milliseconds ( 0.05 seconds) for people to form an opinion of your website, so learning more really isn’t going to cut it. Thus, you should always make sure your buttons contain useful information that’s going to lead your customer to click through.

Let’s face it, no one really has time to read every bit of information on your website, but when they know their intent, your button will be one of the most important features on your site, so make it count.

Call to action success

A call to action, also known as a CTA, can be in the form of a button or a text link. Your CTA is something you want your audience to click, so it’s obvious that it must catch your reader’s attention. A CTA could be used to ask your audience to sign-up for something or it could be used to get them to make a purchase, either way, your CTA needs to drive action. 

If your CTA doesn’t drive action, sadly your audience won’t click.

Here are three things to avoid when creating a powerful call-to-action:

1. Bad placement


Usually, a successful CTA sits at the top of your content so that your audience doesn’t have to go hunting for it. Additionally, you can put your call-to-action on the bottom of your content for members of your audience that like to read content thoroughly. A CTA in the middle of your content is a no-go and easily scrolled past.

2. Description is key


No one has time for guesswork. Make your call-to-action clear and to the point and your audience are much more likely to click through.

3. Stand out


Always ensure your CTA stands out among the rest of your content by changing the colour or font format, otherwise, it’s likely to blend in with the rest of your content and again, your audience will scroll straight past it.

Actioning microcopy

You may be surprised to learn that not all microcopy is designed to persuade. Nevertheless, if your copy is designed to sell, you should always write these with the end goal in mind. For instance, if you’re wanting your customer to make a purchase, a simple buy now button tells your audience exactly what it does and gives you more of a chance of a sale.

Creating clear and concise microcopy may sound too simple, but it’s the best way to ensure you’re achieving the results you require. Assume your audience knows nothing about your content or that they’ve never made a purchase online and you’re leaving no room for error. 

If you enjoyed this blog, try reading our blog ‘How Heineken paved new ways into Creative Effectiveness’ or view our entire blog catalogue here