I recently received an email from a company advertising their product. It was addressed “Dear Goddess.”
When we look at examples of emails, site copy, and other content, this is the type of microcopy that makes us smile. We think “that’s so daring!” and “Fantastic that they know their audience so well.” Guess what my reaction was when I received the email? It didn’t make me smile.
I don’t say this out of low self esteem, but I’m not a Goddess. I like myself just fine. I’m a smart person, a fun person (I think), a good speaker, an experienced content strategist, a fantastic aunt (if I do say so myself), an excellent storyteller, and I have many other lovely qualities. I also enjoy the occasional pet name. But Goddess just feels… silly.
That’s not to say that “Goddess” is the wrong address for everyone. But it was wrong when personalized for me.
How Far is Too Far?
I advise content strategists to take risks and try new things. Yes, definitely, be “out there.” But there’s more to it than that. You know how UX practitioners are always harping on about research? There’s a reason for that.
Risks are… risky. If the copy hits the audience with the right tone, it’ll knock it out of the park, but if it’s not quite right, it can go very wrong very quickly.
Unfortunately, this is the sort of situation that doesn’t have a clear line. It’s also the type of situation where critics (read: other content strategists and UX writers) may love what you’re writing. But your audience isn’t looking for something unique and stand-out. They want something that they connect with.
Test Your Microcopy
How do you solve it? Do your research. Do user research to learn the terminology your audience uses. Write edgy, daring copy, and then test your microcopy with the target audience. Find out if the audience connects to what you’re calling them.
Definitely take risks. Just don’t take them blindly. Right Goddess?