How to Use Microcopy to Increase Your Agency’s Conversions
Are you losing conversions and can’t figure out why?
When your funnel is failing to perform up to your expectations, finding the culprit is like finding a needle in a haystack .
And if you’ve gone through tweaking your clients’:
- Design (Is the color contrast making people not click?)
- Headlines (Is our copy clear enough or too clever?)
- Email automation (Are we targeting the right audience?)
- SEO (Are we using the right keywords to rank higher in Google?)
… And still can’t figure out where your funnel is leaking leads, the answer may be a lot more simple than you think.
In fact, it may be as simple as changing a single word or sentence in your copy.
And no, I’m not talking about your long, boring paragraphs of sales copy or your headlines. I’m talking about your microcopy.
But what is microcopy, you may ask? And why should you care anyway?
Today, I’ll go over:
- What microcopy is and why it’s so important to securing your agency’s conversions.
- 3 examples of microcopy copywriting having a huge impact on the conversions and sales a business earned.
- 3 easy tips you can use to tweak your microcopy so you can get better conversions.
Sound good? Let’s dive in…
What Is Microcopy and Why Should I Care?
If you’ve heard of microcopy copywriting before, you might be wondering what it has to do with conversions, sales and marketing.
After all, isn’t microcopy a UX thing? (User experience — for more info on what this is and how you should use it, check out this post. )
Well, yes… kind of.
Although microcopy originates from and is mostly used in the UX world, in many ways, it’s a new word to describe an old problem that’s always plagued marketing — bad copy.
But before we get into that, let’s start with the basics.
According to Adobe, microcopy can be defined as “the tiny tidbits of copy found on websites, applications, and products. These short sentences tell a user what to do, address user concerns, provide context to a situation, and help tell the greater story about your brand, product, and the way you do business.” (Source)
This means that microcopy may include things like:
- Any button involved in a user flow
- An exit pop-up
- Error pages
- Call-to-action buttons
- The instructions that tell you how to fill out a form
- Navigation buttons
In short, microcopy is any small piece of text that has a huge impact on a user’s experience with your website, application, or digital product.
Microcopy is typically iterated and optimized during regular UX design processes. Different versions of text get tested until one is chosen that creates the least friction.
The wrong microcopy can make the difference between a happy user and one that gets frustrated and drops off from your website to use a competitor’s.
But microcopy isn’t just about making things easy to use — it also has an impact on your sales and marketing strategy.
Marketing and Microcopy
In the modern world, good web design practices and good marketing practices go hand in hand.
If you have a:
- Landing page
- Campaign of PPC ads
- Opt-in form
…Or anything else in your marketing plan that lives online, you should be just as concerned with user experience as you are with your sales strategies.
This, of course, includes your microcopy — in fact, it especially includes your microcopy.
Think about how many times a simple word or sentence stands in the way of your prospect converting.
Think about all the:
- Call-to-action buttons
- Product descriptions
- Navigation menu options
- Form fields
- Opt-in forms
- Instructional texts (“Click below to make a purchase.”)
Or even just small words and phrases a potential customer may interact with during their journey to converting.
Each one of these elements contains microcopy that can either move them closer to or further away from conversion.
When someone is on the fence, a few words can make the difference between them deciding to buy or deciding to move on.
This is why microcopy is so important — it’s the final thing your leads interact with before making a major decision.
If it’s not optimized, you’re going to be losing conversions.
And until you realize your microcopy is causing the problem, you won’t get it fixed.
3 Examples of Microcopy Making or Breaking Conversions
For how impactful microcopy is, it’s remarkable just how little thought is often put towards it.
How many times has the text on a form or navigation field been left to whoever happened to put the finishing touches on your web design?
How many times have you used a stock CTA like “Book a Call” without thinking to adjust it to a client’s specific offer or audience?
Of course, if microcopy didn’t matter, this wouldn’t be that big of a deal.
But it does matter, and it matters in a big way.
Here are 3 examples of microcopy making or breaking conversions, and how you can implement the changes they use into your own copywriting.
Adding 1 Letter Increases Sales by 20%
On this Danish theater website, the primary call to action used to be “KØB BILLET” (“Buy Ticket”). After they changed it to “KØB BILLETTER” (“Buy Tickets”), they saw sales jump by 20%.
Why did this happen?
Well, the second version more accurately aligns with the prospect’s concerns.
When most people are looking to buy a ticket for a show, they’re not looking for a singular ticket for just themselves. Instead, they’re probably looking to buy a group of tickets for themselves and their friends, family, or loved one.
When the button says “Buy Ticket,” it fills the prospect with questions.
What do you mean “ticket,” singular? Can I not buy two at once? If I go back to buy a second ticket later, how will I ensure we have seats next to each other? What if they sell out? Can I return the ticket? Do I have to do a separate transaction for each ticket? This is too much to think about, I’ll just go to another theater.
When a user is overwhelmed with confusion, it makes the decision-making process difficult. And when a decision is difficult, the solution most people pick is to refrain from making a decision at all.
Change in Form Opt-in Copy Boosts Sign-Ups by 31.54%
This opt-in form for Bettingexpert.com, a sports betting information website, was having trouble converting.
To solve this, the copy was A/B tested through several iterations until a final version was settled on that boosted sign-ups by 31.54%.
Both the headline and the call-to-action button were revised to more clearly communicate the value a user would get from signing up for the newsletter.
When a button simply says to “join” a website and to “sign up” for updates, a lot of questions are left unaddressed.
The user might think: Why would I sign up? “Sign up” sounds like “make an account” — do I need to create a password? Oh great, it’s probably going to make me create a complicated password I won’t remember. Will this ask me to pay for a premium account later on? “Updates” also sounds vague — what does that even mean? How do I know this isn’t going to send me ten spam emails every day?
But when the opt-in form uses clarity to define what exactly a user is getting out of converting, the choice is a lot easier.
A user might think: Oh cool, betting tips! And not only betting tips but the best betting tips! I should sign up for this — it seems worth it, and I don’t even have to pay or make an account!
These are also great opportunities to add in some extra text like “no pressure” or “no hard sell.”
These little tidbits of microcopy can have a big effect of reassuring the reader that nothing stressful is going to happen next — as you’ll see in the next example.
Adding 2 Words Generates 28% More Conversions
This example is taken from Viadeo, a SaaS company that helps you sync your contact information across devices and platforms.
Video wanted to secure more sign-ups for their platform. So, they tested several variations of this call to action section, including colors, text, and phrasing.
Eventually, this variant did the trick in securing 28% more sign-ups — and all it took was a measly two extra words.
Why was this so effective?
When you present a call-to-action button to a user, a lot of pressure is placed on them.
They have to think carefully about their next move because it will determine the trajectory of the rest of their lives, or at the very least, the rest of their day.
They will either choose to:
- Say yes and access a new product or service that will improve their lives — sometimes drastically so.
- Say yes and become plagued by a bad product or service that makes their life worse. Spam emails they can’t get rid of for years, sneaky charges to their credit card, and having to deal with a pushy salesperson are all common fears a prospect may have.
- Say no and go on their merry way, with no changes to their life, either good or bad.
People are naturally risk-averse, and saying no is a lot safer than taking the risk of saying yes — regardless of how awesome and useful your product or service may be.
And when you add money into the equation, the decision gets even more difficult.
So how do you ease the tension and make it easier to say yes?
You reassure the user that there’s no risk in trying out your product.
In this case, the service was free, which immediately lifts a ton of risk from the prospect’s mind.
By intuitively and directly stating this in the microcopy, Viadeo was able to secure conversions from people who may otherwise get spooked by the idea of having to pay.
Is Your Microcopy the Problem? How To Tell and How To Solve It
So how do you know your microcopy is the problem and not something else?
Because of how subtle microcopy can be, it can be hard to tell without exact data.
This is why having detailed data from paid services like Google Analytics is crucial to troubleshooting your microcopy.
By looking at the data for your funnel, you can zoom in on any places you’re seeing a large bottleneck.
If there’s a piece of microcopy that’s acting as a key component in a prospect’s decision-making process, such as a CTA button or an instructional text, it may be a good idea to tweak it.
This is especially true if the copy is unclear, out of alignment, or doesn’t accurately represent the value of your offer.
The Bottom Line: 3 Tips To Writing Good Microcopy
Of course, the best way to ensure your microcopy is optimized for increasing conversions is to write it well to begin with.
Here are the three most important things to consider when crafting your microcopy.
Keep It Aligned
The most important aspect of good microcopy is also the most important aspect of all types of copywriting — the law of alignment.
Your microcopy must be aligned with the user’s expectations of what should happen next.
This means you need to consider:
- What the user wants — Is your copy addressing your user’s needs and preferences? Are you describing how you’re going to solve their problem?
- What will actually happen — Does your button text accurately describe what happens when the user clicks on that button?
- What will happen further down the funnel — Are you preparing the user for where they’ll be lead two or three clicks down the line? Or is the user flow confusing or disorienting?
When you carefully balance the three to create a microcopy that’s clear, accurate, and compelling, you create a good user experience that leads to higher conversion rates.
This is because the user’s expectations are being met without any shocks, surprises, or confusion along the way.
Address Fears and Apprehensions
The buyer journey is filled with hesitations, excuses, and suspicions, and rightfully so. How many products or services have you bought that didn’t live up to the sales pitch or flat-out lied about what you’re getting into?
When you’re writing microcopy, a little can go a long way in addressing fears and anxieties potential leads may have.
Small additions to your copy like “It’s free,” “No hard sell,” or “We never store your information” can make a big difference in securing conversions you would’ve otherwise lost because users didn’t want an unspoken side effect of taking a certain action.
At the same time, you don’t want to create new fears a user never had in the first place.
A protein powder seller who advertises their product as “bug-free!” raises more questions than it answers and probably puts off more buyers than it converts.
Try to put yourself in the shoes of your prospects and seriously consider what their realistic hesitations may be. Then, do your best to assure them there’s no risk in converting.
This will reduce friction and create an easy, stress-free conversion process.
Keep It Clear and Simple
Microcopy is “micro” for a reason — it’s meant to be small and subtle.
Although the law of clarity is important with all types of copywriting, it’s especially important when you’re working with text that’s only a sentence or two long.
When you’re writing your microcopy, take the time to make every word count.
- Accuracy — Are your words accurately depicting your offer? Is anything important being left out?
- Emotions — Are you playing into the right emotions and taking into account your audience’s fears and motivations?
- Simplicity — Are you expressing yourself in the most simple, easy-to-digest way possible?
It’s also important to note that sometimes, the most technically correct way to say something isn’t necessarily the best way to say it.
A prospect doesn’t always need all the information upfront. They just need enough to make an informed decision and to give them a good idea of what will happen next.
Your microcopy should focus on making the decision process easy and intuitive — so use common sense and good testing to determine the best way to phrase your words.
If you or your clients are losing conversions, microcopy may just be the invisible culprit.
Luckily, improving your microcopy isn’t difficult, and many of the classic copywriting principles apply to microcopy as well.
All you have to do is:
- Look at the data to assess whether you’re problem is microcopy-based.
- Optimize it based on the principles of alignment, addressing fears, and maintaining simplicity.
- Test different versions until you find a solution that works.
And if you’d rather have the whole process done for you, we’ve got you covered. At AutoGrow, our team of multi-talented marketing professionals can tweak your copy, design, strategy, and practically anything else you need to create high-converting deliverables for your clients.
Let me know in the comments below.
Keep AutoGrowin’, stay focused.