Create Better Copy With INK's Microcopy Generator
INK's Microcopy Generator
What is microcopy? In a nutshell, it's some of the shortest copy you'll ever create — and also some of the most vital. If you get it right, you could seriously boost your bottom line; if you get it wrong, your profits might fall flat. Make your microcopy writing session a doddle with INK's Microcopy Generator.
Create a truly compelling button, label, and pop-up text and watch conversions soar with INK's Microcopy Generator.
Main Microcopy Takeaways:
- Microcopy is a single-word or single-sentence copy
- Microcopy examples include CTA buttons, bullet points, error page text, unsubscribe text and advertising slogans
- UX writing is concise, snackable, and jargon-free
- UX microcopy provides information, guides users, and facilitates interaction
- Great microcopy is clear, charming, conversational, and helpful
When was the last time you thought about microcopy? Perhaps you’ve never given the concept any attention at all. Maybe you’ve been too busy writing regular product descriptions to focus on tiny text snippets. In that case, we have news for you: Microcopy is some of the most important copy you’ll ever write.
Wait, what? This is single-sentence — and sometimes single-word — stuff we’re talking about! How can it be that vital? Can’t I leave the standard buttons on my site?
We hear you. Microcopy isn’t inconsequential verbiage, though. It’s the subtle atmosphere on your website, the finishing touch on your ad, the warm camaraderie at the end of your marketing email. Microcopy is a game-changing ingredient. In short — pardon the pun — it’s not something to ignore.
Let’s explore microcopy together. We’ll begin with a solid definition of the term, and then we’ll talk about UX writing in more general terms. After that, we’ll explore the psychology of UX writing, and then we’ll teach you how to write a great UX microcopy.
What is Microcopy?
What is Microcopy?
Microcopy is a single-word or single-sentence copy. It’s short, sweet, and persuasive. Well-written microcopy increases user engagement, augments understanding, and improves the user experience (UX) as a whole.
You can think of microcopy as a bit of voice if you like — a personality for your brand. It sits in the corner and occasionally delivers a quip. It amuses, clarifies, leads, and helps site visitors, software users, or ad viewers.
Here are just a few places you can use microcopy:
- Button text
- Bullet points
- Error page text
- Email copy
- Placeholder text
We’ll unpack those examples in much more detail later on. Next, we’ll talk about writing to improve the UX.
What Is UX Microcopy?
Wait — before we continue, what’s the difference between UX microcopy and microcopy? Honestly, there’s no difference. The phrase “UX microcopy” is just another term for microcopy, a type of UX writing. UX is an acronym for user experience, and microcopy aims to improve user experience. That’s why you’ll sometimes see microcopy appended with UX.
What Is UX Writing?
UX copy guides the user — your site visitor, software subscriber, or general viewer — through your user interface (UI). User interfaces are websites, programs — anything with a visual element. UIs not populated with UX copy are uninspiring and difficult to navigate.
UX writing is art with intent. It intends is to help the user interact with your product. UX copy includes microcopy — buttons, labels, menus, and so forth — as well as longer pieces of text like FAQs, product descriptions, and instructions.
Forget creating a website or a piece of software and then jamming UX text in afterward. The best UX writing takes place at the same time as visual design. Buttons change length depending on the text they hold; compelling pop-ups seamlessly blend graphics with copy.
UI text should be:
- Concise: Use as few words as possible to describe what you mean or what you want the visitor to do.
- Snackable: Break longer chunks of text into short, snappy paragraphs — ideally three sentences or fewer.
- Jargon-free: Lose the buzzwords — unless you cater to industry mavens or developers.
Some of the best practices above also apply to UX microcopy writing — but we'll come back to that.
Why Is UX Writing Important?
UX writing is important because it makes your site better. You could stick to placeholder text for buttons, but let’s face it — that’s boring. If you use standard text across the board, you miss an opportunity to personalize your brand. People won’t buy your product if your site makes them want to nap.
Top Tip — A/B Testing: Microcopy _lends itself very well to split testing. Deploy two or three microcopy-enhanced versions of a landing page and analyze click-through and conversion rates. Then, go with the best-performing version of your page to raise revenue.
The Psychology of UX Writing
Let’s dive a little deeper into what makes UX writing so compelling. UX writing works because it taps into the tenets of behavioral psychology. Great UX copy infuses your UI with personality and generates an emotional pull to build brand loyalty. It tickles, cajoles, prompts, guides, and coaxes each visitor or viewer into submission.
If that sounds a little manipulative, well, that’s because it is — but in a good way. On an eCommerce website, a well-conceived UX copy makes each barrier to purchase a little lower, a little more surmountable. In an app or a piece of desktop software, UX copy encourages action.
To see how UX copy — and specifically microcopy — drives action, we need to look no further than the Fogg Behavior Model. According to the FBM, user behaviors are triggered by three factors, which all have to converge at the same time:
- Motivation: Users must feel a certain amount of motivation
- Ability: People need to feel they can do something
- Prompt: Folks need a reminder to “do the thing.”
You can nurture each of these factors with microcopy. Here’s how:
- Motivation: “Click to Transform” Your software makes life easier and more fun. Users feel motivated by the promise of reduced hassle or stress.
- Ability: “Simple, Safe and Intuitive” Anyone, regardless of ability, can use your software. Users feel reassured — no steep learning curve here.
- Prompt: “Try it Now!” This microcopy prompts the user into action.
These three UX microcopy snippets work together, turning your product from an ambiguous “thing” into an easy-to-use, safe software. Users move effortlessly down your sales funnel, and before you know it, they’ve installed your program.
How To Write Microcopy
How To Write Microcopy
So, what does it take to write a great microcopy? A step-by-step strategic approach — that’s what. Here’s how to create a compact, mindful, charismatic microcopy.
1. Find Your Voice
Microcopy is charming, not bossy. It’s also friendly and unique. Before you begin writing, think about what you want your voice to sound like. Is your brand confident or coy? Are you playful or determined? Write a description of your brand voice and refer to it as you go along to ensure your snippets sound even.
2. Keep It Light
Microcopy is persuasive, but it’s not a hard sale — and it’s not clinical. Stay away from the cold, impersonal, or boring text; instead, keep your copy light, bright, casual, and relaxed. Put an amusing spin on error messages and default dead link pages, for example. Use a conversational tone — treat your users as friends.
3. Be Clear
Microcopy is simple and clear, not woolly and obtuse. Think about how your users communicate with each other in the real world: do they use jargon or more simple language? Meet users on a level plain and speak to them clearly.
4. Stay Helpful
Microcopy is a waymarker rather than a stumbling block. Buttons, bullet points, and slogans must guide visitors through your interface (or your sales funnel). Use microcopy to prompt action, provide helpful hints and give kudos where it’s due.
Microcopy Best Practices
Ready to roll? Use the following best practices to make your microcopy stand out:
- Put your objective first: Begin button text with an instructive verb like click, tap, boost or erase.
- Numerals, not words: Use numerals, rather than words, to promote clarity.
- Nix double negatives: Keep your grammar on point at all times. Ain't nobody got no time for double negatives.
- Use present tense: Stay away from past or future tenses.
- Clarity is key: Never use obscure synonyms for well-known terms.
- Use active voice: Actions happen here and now, so don’t use passive voice.
- Be consistent: Stick to my or your across the board, rather than switching from one POV to another.
- Use progressive disclosure: Read more buttons help break content up over several pages, reducing reader fatigue and being overwhelmed.
- Subtle humor is fine: Steer clear of slapstick unless you sell comedy props.
Ready to see microcopy in action? There are hundreds of different kinds of microcopy out there — here are six types to get you started. In each case, we’ll list standard (i.e., boring) copy for each, and then we’ll show you what a more interesting microcopy looks like.
CTA Button Text
Standard button microcopy: Click here; Okay; Submit
Optimized button microcopy: Get started; Sure thing; Sign me up
This optimized button text is interesting, engaging, and lighthearted. It’s different from the norm, so it grabs the user's attention.
Humorous PD Bullet Points
Standard bullet point: Chair measures 24” by 36” by 40.”
Optimized bullet point: Soft; supportive; great for chair forts
Product descriptions can be pretty dry. A little irreverence promotes a sense of wellbeing and drives engagement — after all, laughter is good for the soul.
Standard slogan: Your handy flower store
Optimized slogan: Newton’s local flower bower
Boring slogans just don’t cut it. Play with words and make your motto memorable instead — don’t go overboard.
Error Page Text
Standard error page text: Error 404: Page not found.
Optimized error page text: Whoops — something’s not right here!
What are the other 403 errors, anyway? Error page text is easy to modify, so why not make it more interesting.
Standard email microcopy: Unsubscribe here
Optimized email microcopy: Bored of us? Click here to say bye-bye.
Minor changes like this make marketing emails a bit more interesting.
Webform Placeholder Text
Standard placeholder text: Message; Must have at least 8 characters
Optimized placeholder text: Tell us everything; What’s your password?
Why settle for standard placeholder text when you can tweak it to suit your brand voice?
Microcopy Your Way to Success
Compelling microcopy conveys personality and guides users through your website or software interface. Stay clear, helpful, lighthearted, and warm as you write copy — and keep microcopy best practices in mind throughout.
Don’t have time to create copy? Use INK's Microcopy Generator to generate great microcopy in moments. Just select your category, press the generate button and choose your microcopy. It’s easy, fun, and super efficient.