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The difference between a frustrating customer experience and a great one is ... microcopy

When we think of copywriting most of us think of product descriptions, or email or social media campaigns. We need to grab attention by standing out, being bold, relevant and different.

Microcopy requires a different approach. This is the brief messaging online that guides readers around a site, working in conjunction with navigation. At its best it’s often so subtle that it can go un-noticed – quietly keeping the reader engaged by walking through the process alongside them.

Here’s a classic example of what happens without it. You’re registering on a site in order to buy something or access content. A form asks for a password. The one you give is rejected because it doesn’t comply with criteria that you haven’t been told. Your mood goes from relaxed to angry in about 30 seconds. (There is a very funny joke on this theme which is too rude to share here, but you’ll find it if you google ‘password boiled cabbage’.)

A bit of well-judged microcopy entirely removes this problem. To write it well we need only think of ourselves interacting online, and all of the things that irritate or frustrate us. Those subtle little bits of copy have the power to turn the same page into a positive customer experience. And for any copywriter, that’s a satisfying challenge.

I recently came across Econsultancy’s blog post ‘15 marvellous microcopy examples’, and it makes great reading.

Read our earlier article on microcopy, which included 8 tips for how to approach it.

And guess what? Our Copywriting Workshop covers this.


12 November 2019

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