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How To Use Microcopy to Improve User Engagement and Conversions

How To Use Microcopy to Improve User Engagement and Conversions
How To Use Microcopy to Improve User Engagement and Conversions

Many companies and businesses overlook the importance of copywriting when it comes to creating a seamless user experience. While design, performance, and aesthetics are crucial, so is how you communicate. It's the glue that holds a web page, landing page, or mobile app together. This is where microcopy comes in.

Microcopy refers to the small but crucial pieces of text that appear throughout a website or app, such as error messages, button labels, and tooltips. The effectiveness of microcopy can significantly impact user engagement and conversions. According to a study by ShapingDesign, well-written microcopy can improve conversion rates by up to 20%. That's a huge difference!

Effective microcopy is essential in creating a positive user experience. It gives users the guidance and feedback they need to feel confident and engaged with your product. In fact, according to a study by Salesforce, 80% of customers say that the experience a company provides is as important as its products or services. You can improve customer satisfaction and loyalty by creating a positive user experience with effective microcopy.

In this article, we will explore the importance of microcopy in UX writing and discuss how to use it to improve user engagement and conversions. We'll cover best practices for writing effective microcopy and provide examples of good microcopy. By the end of this article, you'll better understand how to use microcopy to take your product to the next level and create a better user experience for your customers. But first, we need to know the types of micrcopy and their effect on the overall design.

Types of Microcopy

Error messages

Error messages are a crucial type of microcopy in UX writing because they can significantly impact user experience. When users encounter an error, it can be frustrating and confusing, especially if the message is unclear or unhelpful. A study by Baymard Institute found that unclear or confusing error messages were the third most common reason for users abandoning a form. Effective error messages should provide users with clear information about what went wrong and how to fix it. They should also be written in a way that is easy to understand and does not blame the user.

Button labels and CTA buttons

Button labels and call-to-action (CTA) buttons are microcopy that guide users to take a specific action, guide users through a product's interface and help them to complete tasks. They should be clear, concise, and action-oriented to encourage users to engage with your product. A study by Nielsen Norman Group found that CTA buttons with more specific language had a 144% higher click-through rate than generic CTA buttons. This means that they should accurately reflect the action that will be performed when the button is clicked.

Form Fields

Form fields are an essential element of many digital products and services and another important type of microcopy that provide context and guidance to users when filling out a form. The microcopy should be clear, with concise instructions, and per the user's expectations. A study by HubSpot found that using specific and descriptive labels for form fields improved conversion rates by 26%. This is because clear and concise form field labels and instructions can reduce confusion, improve user engagement, and increase completion rates.

Screenshot showing a form field
Form fields

Tooltips, pop-up messages, and navigation menus

Tooltips, pop-up messages, and navigation menus are additional types of microcopy that help users navigate and interact with your product. They should be easy to understand, contextually relevant, and provide useful information to the user.

Tooltips are small boxes that appear when users hover over an icon or link. They can provide additional information or context about a feature or function of your product. Effective tooltip microcopy can help users understand how to use your product more effectively.

Pop-up messages are windows that appear over the main interface of your product. They can be used to provide users with information, ask for confirmation, or provide alerts. Effective pop-up message microcopy can help users make informed decisions and avoid errors.

Navigation menus are the list of links or options that allow users to move around your product or website. Effective navigation menu microcopy can help users find what they are looking for more quickly and easily.

Now, let's look at some practical tips for making your online store or website more engaging and, as a result, more valuable.

Best Practices for Writing Effective Microcopy

To make the most out of microcopy, it's important to follow some best practices. Here are some tips to help you write effective microcopy:

  • Please keep it simple and clear: Microcopy should be easy to understand and straightforward. Avoid using jargon or technical terms that users might not be familiar with.

  • Use a conversational tone: Microcopy should sound like it's coming from a real person. Use a conversational tone to create a friendly and approachable user experience.

  • Provide context and guidance: Microcopy should give users enough context and guidance to help them complete a task. Use microcopy to explain what's happening, what the user needs to do, and why.

  • Be concise: Microcopy should be brief and to the point. Use short sentences and avoid unnecessary words.

  • Use positive language: Use positive language to create a more pleasant user experience. Instead of using negative words like "don't" or a few words "can't," focus on what the user can do.

Illustration of a positive language as a best practice for writing effective microcopy

  • Use appropriate language for the target audience: Use appropriate language for your target audience. For example, if your product is geared towards children, use appropriate language for their age and comprehension level.

  • Test and iterate: Test your microcopy with users and iterate based on their feedback. Use A/B testing to compare the effectiveness of different versions of your microcopy.

While understanding the concept of microcopy and the best practices for writing it is important, it's also essential to see these practices in action through real-life examples. Practical examples can help you better understand how to apply these best practices to your own product and see the impact that effective microcopy can have on increased user engagement and conversions. As Daniel Kahneman said, "We think with mental models, but we communicate with words." So, let's dive into some real-life examples of good microcopy and the strategies that contribute to great UX.

Examples of Good Microcopy in Action

Good microcopy can make a big difference in the user experience. And here are some examples of good microcopy in action.

Sign-up forms

When users sign up for a service or create an account, microcopy can help guide them through the process. A good microcopy can explain what information is needed and why and reassure users that their information is safe and secure.

Screenshot of sign-up forms
Sign-up forms

Mailchimp is known for its friendly and conversational microcopy in its sign-up forms. They use clear language and provide helpful explanations of why certain information is needed, making the process more engaging and less daunting for users.

Error messages

When users encounter an error, a good microcopy can help them understand what went wrong and how to fix it. Clear and concise error messages can prevent frustration and confusion and prevent users from abandoning tasks.

Dropbox uses clear and concise error messages that help users understand what went wrong and how to fix it. Their error messages use straightforward language and provide specific instructions for resolving the issue, making it easy for users to continue using their product.

Checkout process

In the checkout process, a good microcopy can help users understand what they are buying, how much it costs, and how they can pay. Microcopy can also provide reassurance about shipping times, return policies, and other important details.

Amazon's checkout process is a great example of using microcopy to provide reassurance and guidance during a complex process. They use microcopy to explain shipping options, estimated delivery dates, and return policies, helping users feel confident in their purchase decisions.

Onboarding process

When users start using a new product, a good microcopy can help them get oriented and use the product effectively. Microcopy can guide using different features and explain why certain actions are important.

Duolingo's onboarding process is a great example of using microcopy to create a fun and engaging user experience. They use playful and friendly language to guide users through setting up their accounts and starting their language-learning journey.

Now that we've seen some great examples of microcopy in action, it's time to explore another important aspect of writing effective microcopy - choosing the right tone. The tone of your microcopy can significantly impact how users perceive your product and their overall experience. By selecting the right tone, you can create a stronger connection with your audience and increase their engagement with your product. So, let's take a look at how to choose the right tone for your microcopy.

How to Choose the Right Tone for Your Microcopy

Microcopy should assist users in understanding your product and create a more pleasant customer experience. It must be consistent with the tone of the brand and deliver a consistent message that aligns with your core values.

The tone of voice of your brand reflects your personality. It is what gives your brand a human and natural feel. Consider the coffee shop Starbucks. There is a reason for their distinctive green color. Aside from the color, their website, app, and stores all have a consistent look and feel. Starbucks strives to provide a calm and relaxed environment.

Needless to say, if you haven't discovered your brand's tone, you won't be able to discover your microcopy tone, as the latter is derived from the former.

Consider your ideal customer. What are their personalities like? Is one of them tall or short? Do they prefer bright colors or simple designs? Are they tolerant? Do they enjoy a good joke?

When communicating with accurate buyer personas, you can craft a message that feels natural.

For example; the Frank Body brand's tone is centered on Frank, a flirty, cheeky, and very relatable persona, it was that efficient. Frank could be the ideal customer's best friend, boyfriend, or confidante, setting the appropriate tone.

If your company uses a chatbot, it could be a great source of information about how your prospects interact with your brand. Chatbots contain a wealth of data that reveals the exact tone your users use when interacting with your brand. The same is true for your social media profiles.

Remember that your tone is only as valuable as your prospects believe it to be. Creating microcopy is all about improving your user experience. If the experience isn't positive, it's because you haven't polished your tone sufficiently.


By incorporating these microcopy best practices into your product, you can significantly enhance user engagement and improve conversions. By keeping your microcopy simple, clear, and conversational, providing context and guidance, and testing and iterating your microcopy, you can create a more user-friendly and effective product.

sign-up form

Take action now and start implementing these microcopy practices in your product. To learn more about UI, UX, and product design, visit Brave Achievers blog for helpful tips and insights. Keep honing your skills as a designer and stay updated with the latest trends and best practices in the industry.

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