Live from Button : Good Copy is Good Business

Good copy is good business: The ROI of microcopy, by Yael Ben-David

You want your return to be higher than your investment. There are two ways to do that:

  1. Increase the return
  2. Decrease the investment

But if you want microcopy return to be high, you need a fair amount of investment. Good microcopy requires understanding and research, knowing conventions, sometimes it requires engineering, etc.

You have to put a little more in to get a lot more out. But it’s worth it! UX writing makes money.

Example: Google changed hotel searches from “Book a room” to “Check availability” and increased engagement by 17%

UX writing can help to overcome barriers:

  • Personalization – communicating a sense of knowing one another (like Starbucks writing your name on your cup)
  • Technical barriers – not knowing what to do
  • Simplifying – sometimes the best microcopy decision is actually about removing text
  • Clarifying – sometimes people hesitate to share information if they don’t know why you need it. Being transparent (through copy or a tool tip) meets them where they are
  • Communication – tell someone what you recommend. Microcopy can motivate when someone is hesitating.

How do you write effective microcopy?

  1. Define your business goals: what makes your company money?
  2. User research: why aren’t those goals being met (or why aren’t they being met optimally)
  3. Hypothesis: create an assumption of what you will want to test. e.g. “I think we aren’t meeting the goal because X.”
  4. Test: specifically, test to see if your hypothesis is correct.
  5. Repeat: improve the content and go again.

How does it save money?

  • It saves on support. Clear microcopy means fewer support calls.
  • It saves on engineering. When you explain what’s happening, rather than trying to fix everything through code, it’s a much cheaper solution
  • Save on marketing.

How do you make changes happen? Consider your ask:

  • Consider all the resources – including time!
  • Be as concrete and accurate as possible
  • Share your hypothesis and the outcome-driven action

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