The Importance of Micro-copy
Robbert believes (rightly) that the small snippets of copy that make up the predominance of customer interaction represent a huge opportunity for conveying “brand voice” — an opportunity that’s usually squandered.
- The copy you place on your order confirmation page and order thank you e-mail
- The phrasing and design of your Website’s 404 page
- Your product or service names themselves
- How you group and categorize products, along with the labels you apply to those categories
- How you title and label your forms
- Call to action verbiage
All of these are areas where companies could take an opportunity to carefully break with the trite norms of the Web or of their industry and come up with something different. Something reflective of the brand personality. And all these remain fairly vanilla on the vast majority of Websites.
Hipmunk.com is an example of how to do it right
Instead of allowing you to only sort flights by airline, number of stops, or cost, Hipmunk.com also allows you to sort by “agony,” a combination of flight duration, number of stops, and cost.
How cool is that?
This is the kind of copy that brings to mind Tim Miles’ writing adage: “Don’t tell her you’re courteous. Open her door.” A quote I always like to paraphrase as, “Don’t tell readers that you ‘understand’ them, write something that demonstrates your understanding — something that only a person who understood could write.”
Not only is the sort by agony feature a useful function, but the “agony” label shows that chipmunk “gets it”: they understand that most business travelers begrudge their time wasted at airports and are hoping to reduce it as much as possible, while still taking into account costs.
Micro-copy and Persona-Based Marketing
So while I appreciate the brilliance of the micro-copy, I also see this as an example of persona-based marketing. Because coming up with new and useful ways to sort flights or categorize products or view your options involves getting inside the heads and the lives of your prospective customers. You have to understand before you can create something that demonstrates that understanding.
And this is where Persona-based marketing becomes so very, very important. Personas provide marketers and copywriters a tool and framework for getting inside the lives and heads of their prospective customers. And the more you are unlike your target customer, the more you need help getting into their heads, the more you need personas.
Which is why any male interested in Marketing to Women ought to check out Michele Miller’s new Marketing to Women course, Unzipped.
The Unzipped approach to Persona-Based Marketing
I read (and recommend) Michele’s previous book, The Soccer Mom Myth, and found it to have incredibly deep and worthwhile insights into persona creation.
Now, as a disclaimer, Michele is a fellow Wizard of Ads Partner and The Soccer Mom Myth was co-written by my friend and Future Now colleague, Holly Buchanan. So I’m biased. Then again, I was also as jaded as I was biased, thinking that I already knew everything the book was going to cover about persona-based marketing. Wrong! I was so wrong, in fact, that I invested in taking Michele’s online Marketing to Women course that was offered as a follow-up (and yes, I had to pay the tuition just like anyone else).
At any rate, if you’re available for the course at the end of this month, you should really check it out.