Tiny Shifts, Big ROI: 5 Ways to Grab Your Audience’s Attention with Microcopy
How often do you pay attention to microcopy on your website?
You know, things like button text, placeholders, notifications, form fields…
Most business owners don’t think about it at all. And I get that. Why sweat the small stuff when you have bigger fish to fry, like your headlines, value props, and overall design?
Well, how about this:
What if changing two lines of text and replacing one button could grow your bottom line by an extra $300 million? Would you pay attention then?
I’m not just throwing random numbers at you, by the way; this is from a real case study! A major ecommerce brand was missing out on 9 figures in revenue… all because this one form on its website was confusing customers.
And just a couple of tiny tweaks unlocked all that growth potential!
That’s why microcopy matters — because it can drive macro growth (see what I did there?). And you don’t have to be a billion-dollar brand to get substantial ROI from it!
In today’s article, I’m going to show you 5 strategies for using microcopy to build trust with your audience, improve the customer experience, increase conversions, and more.
You will learn:
- The most overlooked element of your emails that’s essential for building trust with your subscribers (no, it’s not your subject line).
- 3 ways to revamp your calls to action so that customers can’t wait to take the next step.
- How to turn bland, generic messages you don’t even notice most of the time into powerful drivers of conversions.
- Effective ways to remove friction, misunderstanding, and frustration from the customer experience — with teeny-tiny changes to copy.
And more. Let’s get started!
1. Email From field (yes, really)
When it comes to email marketing, most people over-focus on the subject line as the most important element of any email. But actually, it’s only the second most important one.
The humble “From:” field is the real MVP of your emails. I’m not even joking! Here’s why:
People will open a message with any kind of subject line… as long as the sender is someone they remember and trust. Now, the trust between you and your subscribers will grow organically over time. So for now, just focus on standing out and being memorable by using the “From:” field creatively!
Instead of just putting your first and last name — or your company name — in there, try these variations:
- “[Your Name] @ [Your Company],” so your subscribers have a better chance to recognize you.
- A playful collective name for your team, like “The [Your Company] Ninjas”
- A nickname you’re known by, if you have one — works especially well if you have a common first name.
- If your brand voice allows it, you can even do a short greeting, like “Sup, it’s [Name]!”
I realize that this tip won’t work for everyone, especially if you have a very formal brand voice (although you can still use the first template I suggested). But if you can swing it, you will have a much better chance to stand out in a crowded inbox!
2. Call to action buttons / links
If you want to boost conversions, a crystal-clear, specific call to action is a must have. You don’t want to neglect any element of it — not even that tiny button or link your customers have to click to take the next step.
When they say something bland like “Submit” or “Get Started,” you’re missing out on an opportunity to give your audience that extra nudge of motivation / urgency that can make all the difference.
So here are some ideas on how to level up your call to action microcopy:
- Rephrase it in 1st or 2nd person. “Get Your Free Report” or “YES, I Want to Request a Free Quote” addresses the customer directly and re-affirms their desire to get the thing.
- Write something descriptive and clear. “Start Your 14-Day Free Trial” is a heck of a lot better than “Get Started” or let alone “Submit” — because it clarifies exactly what happens next.
- Frame it as an action or invitation. “Let’s Talk About Your Project” or “Learn How [Product Name] Can Help You” is impossible to misunderstand, unlike a generic CTA.
One last thing: when you’re tweaking your calls to action, make sure that you favor clarity over cleverness. A witty CTA will do more harm than good if it makes the customer go “huh?” and try to guess what you’re asking them to do!
3. Placeholder text
Most of the time, you’ll see placeholder text in things like form fields, where your customers are supposed to give their own info. It usually goes unnoticed… because of how aggressively boring and generic it is.
Luckily, you can easily fix it! And I’m not even going to recommend that you do anything goofy, if that’s what you’re worried about. *wink*
I’m just going to show you how to make your placeholder text pull a little bit more weight in persuading your target customers — like so…
- Replace bland placeholders with mini calls to action. E.g. rather than “First Name” and “Email,” make them say “Type your first name” and “Your best email goes here”
- Give simple instructions. This is especially useful for big form fields like you’d find in feedback or contact forms. Instead of “Type your message here,” try using something like, “Describe the problem you’ve encountered in 2-3 sentences.”
- Introduce a tiny, tiny bit of humor. Less is more here, so don’t go overboard. “First Name” field can become “Your wonderful name”; “Website” can be replaced with “Your awesome website” — you get the idea. The smallest bit of creativity goes a long way.
By the way, if you’re using placeholder text in resources like swipe copy or web page templates that you offer to your customers, you should absolutely try and make it more engaging! Use it to teach them about what to write in each section, crack a joke, write a thank-you note — you name it.
4. Tooltips, notices, and other explanatory microcopy
You may not realize it because you know your website and marketing funnels like the back of your hand, but:
There are probably quite a few places where your audience can get confused about what to do next. And where there’s confusion, there’s also frustration, and abandonment — and lost conversions.
Luckily, you can reduce friction and nudge your customers to convert with some well-placed microcopy. You can use tooltips, notices, and small snippets of copy to clarify what they need to do, explain what will happen next, remove objections, and in general make the customer experience silky smooth.
Here are just some ideas you could implement…
- If you sell anything on your website, look closely at the buying process and ask yourself: where does this need more clarity? For example, a common friction point in ecommerce checkout is the second-to-last step — when a customer already added stuff to cart and entered their payment info. That’s why many brands display a simple message that says, “You’ll have a chance to review your order before it is placed.”
- Examine your email opt-in forms. Specifically, look at the standard privacy notice under the signup button. It usually says something like, “We’ll never share, sell, or give away your contact information to any 3rd parties.” Snooze! Change it to something more lively and informative, like: “We’ll contact you once a week, tops, and never share your contact info with anyone. You can unsubscribe at any time.”
- Speaking of email… that notice at the bottom of your email newsletters? The one that reminds people why they are getting them? Tweak it so it doesn’t just state the obvious, but also reminds your customers about the value they’re getting. Like so: “You’re receiving this email because you’ve made a smart decision to subscribe to [Your Company] for original marketing research that helps grow your business, delivered to your inbox every month. No hard feelings if you want to unsubscribe, though! Just click this link and follow the steps.” This will save you a lot of unsubscribes!
5. Website notifications and messages
Some microcopy only shows up when things go wrong, or when your customers move to the next step in the conversion process. But it still has a key role to play!
It can inform your audience about what happens next, ease frustration if they didn’t get what they wanted — or simply put a smile on their face while they wait. Let me share 3 examples of how effective microcopy can come through in a clutch…
- Earlier this month, I showed you how to turn your 404 page into a lead generation asset. Well, you can also punch up your error messages to be more helpful and creative! Like so: “Something went wrong. But no worries — our team is already on it! Please try again in 5 minutes, or click here to contact support and get immediate assistance.”
- Standby notifications — e.g. when a customer just ordered something and their payment is being processed. Instead of just saying, “Processing payment,” use this opportunity to reassure them and explain the next step. For example: “Hang on, we are processing your payment. This can take up to 3 minutes, and then you’ll be redirected to a confirmation page. In the meantime, please don’t close this tab.”
- Negative search results. When your customers don’t find something on your site, the experience doesn’t have to be frustrating. Instead of just saying “nothing found” and stopping there, redirect their attention to something else! Try this: “We didn’t find anything that matches your keywords. Why don’t we make it up to you and answer your questions personally? Just email [your support email address] or use the form below to get in touch, and we’ll be happy to help! [contact form underneath]”
This 30-second message can generate your biggest ROI
By now you’ve seen that even microcopy, when deployed strategically, can create a massive boost in conversions. It takes only a few seconds for your customers to decide whether to take action on your offer or move on — which is why it’s so important to align every element of your marketing with their needs, desires, and expectations!
When talking to a brand new prospect, every word and every moment counts. If you can’t compel their attention and get them excited about what you do right away, no amount of sophisticated marketing down the line will help.
That’s why you need an asset that can take a potential customer from knowing nothing about your brand… to practically begging you to tell them more… in 30 seconds or less.
I know what you’re thinking, “There’s no way I can hook people on my business in 30 seconds!”
I disagree. My team has already helped dozens of businesses formulate an irresistible Elevator Pitch — and we want to create one for you, too.
An Elevator Pitch is designed to cut through all the distractions and grab your prospects’ attention as fast as possible. It’s a single, memorable statement about your business that you can deliver in 30 seconds or less. And it has ONE job — getting potential customers excited enough and curious enough to say the 3 all-important words…
“Tell me more!”
All you need is to hop on a 30-minute consultation with one of our expert copywriters here at The Draw Shop. They will help you define the problem you solve, how you solve it, and the life-changing results your customers will see from working with you.
Then we’ll transform your input into a unique Elevator Pitch for your brand — a powerful 30-second statement scientifically designed to stand out, delight, persuade… and convert.
And we’ll top it off with a one-page, one-of-a-king infographic that makes your pitch into an engaging visual story! That’s going to be a valuable marketing asset in its own right — you can use it to…
- Share it with your team
- Feature it on your website
- Use it in your email signature
- Put it on the back of your business card
- Spread it on social media