Sarah Klongerbo typing microcopy on a laptop

The Magic of Microcopy: How Small Words Make a Big Impact on Your Business

I was on a coaching call last week, getting the lead capture form for my new brand, Quotable Copy, reviewed by Shanna Skidmore. One of the form questions is:

“How did you hear about us? (So glad you did, BTW!)”

When she read it aloud, Shanna gave a little “ha!” of surprise. “I love stuff like that,” she said. “What is that called — when you write those funny little bits of copy?”

It’s called microcopy, and it’s a critical part of the messaging for your creative business — or it should be.

What Is Microcopy?

Tiny words. Huge impact. 💪

Microcopy is exactly what you think it is: small snippets of copy on your website, emails, print materials, etc.

Creative businesses use microcopy to:

  • Provide instructions: Guide the reader to the next step, such as fill out a form or enter a password
  • Address concerns: Anticipate and overcome possible objections, such as, “What will happen if I enter my email?”
  • Build rapport: Make the reader feel comfortable with a conversational tone, such as, “You did it!” or “Oops — let’s try that again.”

Examples of Microcopy

Whether you realize it or not, you see microcopy everywhere…

  • Alerts
  • Captions
  • Call to action (CTA) buttons
  • Disclaimers
  • Error messages
  • Form fields
  • Instructions
  • Loading messages
  • Notifications
  • Password prompts
  • Pop-ups
  • Search prompts
  • Success messages
  • Unsubscribe options
  • 404 pages

…And the list goes on!

Why Does Microcopy Matter for Creative Businesses?

While often overlooked, microcopy has a massive effect on your user experience and even your brand recognition.

First, microcopy guides your audience to take the next step in the simplest way possible. By making it easy for users to scan your copy and understand what they’re supposed to do next, you greatly increase their chance of converting. In fact, Nielsen Norman Group found that “Concise text, objective language, and scannable copy improves usability by 124%.”

Plus, microcopy helps you create a connection with your audience. Even a short message can reassure readers and brighten their day. When you use your brand voice to add some friendly flair to your microcopy, you’ve created a subtle branding touch that helps your audience trust you even more.

Examples of Microcopy for Creative Brands

Curious what microcopy looks like in action? Here are how five creative brands are effectively using microcopy in their online marketing.


Example of website microcopy from Showit

Showit knows people are hesitant to create new accounts. That’s why it added some disclaimer microcopy to its sign-up form, reassuring users that the trial really is free for 14 days, and you don’t even have to add your credit card.

Wandering Aimfully

Example of email microcopy from Wandering Aimfully

Jason and Caroline Zook of Wandering Aimfully are the king and queen of cute microcopy. This unsubscribe option in their email footer is empathetic, direct, and even a little funny.

The Infatuation

Example of search microcopy from The Infatuation

The Infatuation aims to be the go-to resource for restaurant recommendations. This search-prompt microcopy gives users a fun, helpful idea of what to search for.

Elizabeth McCravy

Example of CTA microcopy from Elizabeth McCravy

As a website designer, Elizabeth McCravy understands the importance of CTA buttons. This example of microcopy is written in an upbeat voice from her ideal client’s perspective, making them more likely to click than if the CTA simply said, “Learn More.”

Homestead Living

Example of error page microcopy from Homestead Living

Homestead Living knows its audience. This 404-page microcopy is humorous and self-aware without being over the top.

Want even more inspiration? Check out for snackable bites of real microcopy from your favorite brands.

How to Improve Your Microcopy

Want to maximize your own microcopy?

Consider how the following examples could be improved with a subtle tweak:

  • CTA button“Click Here” ➡️ “Request Pricing”
  • DisclaimerNo reassuring copy underneath your form ➡️ “It’s 100% free, and it just takes a minute.”
  • Unsubscribe option“Change email preferences.” ➡️ “Need a break? We get it! Click here to get fewer emails.”

Maximize Your Microcopy with the 3 Cs

Whenever you’re writing microcopy, just remember my three Cs…

  • Be clear: Microcopy’s main goal is to be helpful. Every word should help provide direction, overcome hesitations, and build empathy.
  • Be concise: This is not the time for flowery language. Your microcopy should be short, direct, and easy to understand.
  • Be charming: You’re writing to a human, remember. The best microcopy pairs a conversational tone with your unique brand voice.

Bottom line: Small words can pack a punch. Don’t ignore them!

The Magic of Microcopy: How Small Words Make a Big Impact on Your Business


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