Microcopy – The Difference Between a Good Tone of Voice and a Great One
If you want to really nail your brand tone of voice, to transform it from the top level, general way of marketing that many companies attempt into something that filters through every part of your business, you need to focus on your microcopy.
Because your tone of voice shouldn’t just be for your website. It doesn’t exist simply to improve your marketing, to “jazz up” your adverts.
Your tone of voice should permeate throughout every piece of language in your business. From your strapline to your social copy, from your blog titles to your terms and conditions.
That last part is important. Because a really strong tone of voice goes beyond just “marketing copy” and inspires every little bit of microcopy. It transforms:
Terms and conditions
Instructions on forms
Delivery slip notes
And everything in between
The best businesses know this, but they’re few and far between.
So it’s refreshing to see some excellent examples of microcopy infused with a strong tone of voice.
Privilege don’t just ‘update their terms and conditions’
Home insurance. Bland and unsexy, right? Pretty much, but Privilege do their best to liven things up with their straight-talking tone of voice.
I got this when renewing our home insurance recently.
Most providers would have sent an official white piece of paper with “updates to our terms and conditions”. Not Privilege. They’re “making changes”. Clear, simple, straightforward.
The microcopy on this page continues this straight-talking tone.
Just slightly different
But don’t worry
Tiny words that make a huge difference to the tone, to the effects this legal document has on the reader. It just feels like a bit of handy information. Good to know.
It goes on to talk about removing products that I probably don’t need. But then the really effective microcopy here tells me that actually, if I do face these specific circumstances, then I can upgrade.
It takes a legal product name and grounds it in reality. Perfectly.
Finally, they don’t beat around the bush. They know exactly what I want, and they tell me.
“We know you’re after the right price”. I am, thanks for reminding me. Thanks for knowing what’s important. Let’s do this thing. Perfectly placed microcopy in the brand tone of voice.
Windscribe nail their tone across every piece of microcopy
The second set of examples I want to share come from Windscribe, a VPN provider.
There are lots of techy VPN providers out there. Windscribe differentiate themselves with a tone that’s got attitude.
And they make sure that attitude, that real, human tone, carries across every piece of microcopy you might come across.
Like forgetting your password:
Hmmm. Awfully. Small words that infuse one short sentence with a superb tone of voice.
Full of attitude, full of humour. Yep, I am an idiot for forgetting my password. I know it, they know, so let’s laugh about it.
Even the final piece of microcopy in this email is exceptional.
It could have been so easy to leave the standard “if you didn’t request a password reset, please ignore this email” in place. But Windscribe took that line and infused it with their tone of voice. Simple. Effective.
Their spot-on tone of voice microcopy even extends to their password input. Very strong vs. Godlike? I know which I prefer.
Though not strictly microcopy, Windscribe’s emails all pay great attention to their tone of voice too.
Asking for more free stuff is cheeky – and they play on this. “Aren’t you demanding.”
They’re good at problem solving, and they’ll tell you.
And they’ll call you out too, with cracking subject lines like:
They even demonstrate their attitude and humour when talking about pricing.
Windscribe have a unique brand tone of voice. And they use it at every single opportunity. Exactly how it should be.
And with emails like the one below, no-one could ever accuse them of not embracing their brand identity.