How to write excellent microcopy that maximises conversion rates

Written by Nicola Risi  |  13, September, 2017  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

microcopy.pngWe’ve written about optimisation strategies and SEO before. And sure, they are some of the most effective ways to drive traffic to your website. But what happens after you’ve been found? The goal changes, right?

You need conversions.

Converting your visitors into leads, your leads into customers, and your customers into promoters takes time and investment. And perhaps one of the biggest investments is your microcopy.

We're talking about those small blocks of text in highly trafficked areas of your site, including CTA buttons, instructional copy and messages of reassurance. They tell users what to do (“Write your full name here”), alleviate concerns ("Don’t worry, we’ll only use your email address once”), and move them deeper into your site (“Learn more”).

Get these right, and your chances of converting can increase tenfold. In B2B marketing, your landing page is your biggest opportunity to convert. Each call to action, button and instructional message serves a purpose: to move the user further into the sales funnel. So what’s the secret to crafting exceptional microcopy that converts and delights?

Know your user

We’ve been through this before. But there’s a lot to be said for knowing your user. If you haven't already, we recommend you define your buyer personas. Peep puts it perfectly “Serious gains in conversions don’t come from psychological trickery, but from analysing what your customers really need, the language that resonates with them and how they want to buy it.”

It’s as much about optimising your buyer’s thought sequence as it is the copy. Knowing what personas are thinking before they've thought it. Knowing what questions they’re going to ask before they've asked them. That’s the key to great microcopy.

Good microcopy should alleviate concerns, remove barriers, and make the UX (user experience) as fluid and natural as possible. Excellent microcopy should be absorbed almost unconsciously. It should be unobtrusive, inoffensive and uncomplex.

If you’re in touch with your personas’ thought processes, it’ll be easy to eliminate obstacles and know which variables cause them to drop off. With well-informed buyer personas you’ll be armed with the knowledge to build copy into the user journey that’ll be simple to digest, and natural for your users. You’ll know their pains, their values, what fires them up, and what makes them tick, as well as how they speak. Use it as a trust-building tool between your company and your users.

As with most elements of inbound marketing, it all boils down to how well you know your customers. FREE eBook: Our Guide to Developing and using Buyer Personas

Use language to your advantage

The psychology behind language has been written about extensively, throughout history. And online, it’s an undeniable concept.

Take this call to action: ‘Schedule a demo’. Seems pretty innocuous, right?

Apparently not.

Content Verve reveals how switching from the call to action ‘Watch a 5-min demo now’ to ‘Schedule a demo’ resulted in an 88% drop in conversion rate.

Why? Because the word ‘Schedule’ triggers a negative thought process. ‘Schedule’ means consulting one’s diary, choosing a date and time, and arranging a demo. ‘Schedule’ means sacrificing time, which, let’s face it, we’re all short on. ‘Schedule’ requires action. And that’s all too much like hard work.

By comparison, ‘Watch a 5-min demo video’ requires little to no effort.

Lesson? Make it quick, easy and painless.

Be human

As content writers, we’re encouraged to add our own personality, wit and charm to our writing. After all, we are speaking to other humans. It’s okay to sound human.

This is a chance to connect with your audience. If and where appropriate, use humour, colloquialisms, and phonetic language. It’s your chance to make the user smile and reassure them you know what they need, and it’s on the other side of this button.

Writing for Copyblogger, Demian Farnworth put it bluntly: ‘Great sales copy isn’t going to impress your writing professor.’ In other words, it’s okay to play with grammar, create pithy phrasing and phonetic speak. After all, you’re trying to impress your users, not the grammar stickler who took your Linguistics class in year 11.

Test!

A/B testing is a useful tool for helping you decide on the best action word or whether 'the' or 'your' will garner the best response. And you could be startled by your findings. Writing about the topic of email optimisation, David Kirkpatrick demonstrates how just one word can be key to a 90% uplift in sign-ups.

Usability testing is one of the best ways to inform your copywriting. There’s so much to be learned about language variation and your customers are the best place to start. Colloquialisms, tone of voice or a controversial use of language can be the making or breaking of your conversions.

As with any form of online content, you’re writing for the user, not for you. Remember, your user won’t be as familiar with your website as you are so, “If in doubt, spell it out!

The user journey should be an experience, and one that is a reflection of your organisation and its people. It’s one thing to attract people to your website, but there’s a whole other discipline to be learned if you want to consistently convert and delight them.

This once overlooked element of online content can be learned and implemented today. Craft it, refine it, test it and refine it again, until you get it right. And when you do, the proof will show in the numbers as business and conversion rates begin to soar.

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Topics: Writing Tips, Websites

Nicola Risi

Written by Nicola Risi

Nicola writes content for Equinet as well as our clients. After completing a degree in English Literature and Language, and a CIM Marketing diploma, Nicola has spent the last five years working in creative account management and copywriting. Her wealth of sector experience ranges from charities and healthcare, to corporate and commercial brands.