Jun 06, 2017
When Jeff Gothelf, a UX designer, decided to change two simple texts requiring users to sign up, he was trying out something he had read from a psychology book. He wanted to find out how true the text was, and if at all, how it could apply in his UX designing job.
The result was a 30% increase in paid signups that led him to cite copywriting as the secret weapon for UX.
Where UX Design and Copywriting Tips Merge
A UX designer and Copywriter may differ greatly in their daily tasks and overall functions. But as many people and organizations are realizing, and you will too, there is plenty that UX designers can learn from copywriters. The art of crafting words to influence a purchasing decision or subscription status is truer today than it was years ago.
While a good website design is sufficient to keep new visitors a few moments longer on a site, it is not enough to convert them into buyers or subscribers. Interesting and high quality copy is also required to earn money selling online.
This is because when you have poor written copy, no one will be interested to know what you are selling. And the worst part, you might never know that your copy is the problem. Only 4% of an organization’s customers give feedback about their experience. 96% never voice their concerns and 91% will not return
On the other hand, if your copy is compelling, a visitor will be more willing to learn more about your products and services. This is possible through tapping into the mind of the user, which is one thing a UX Designer and Copywriter have in common.
So how can UX Designers integrate copywriting tips into their work? Below are a few ways how this is possible.
How UX Designers Can Tap Into Copywriting for their Benefit
1. Know who the website’s audience is
Before a copywriter starts to write, he or she ensures they understand their target audience fully. In copywriting, don’t assume the characteristics of your audience. If you do, you’ll end up with a high quality copy that is meaningless.
When trying to communicate to an audience through text, there is no direct opportunity for follow up questions. So when your copy does not communicate your intentions, there is no time to explain what you mean or what you want to happen.
The same is true with UX designers. As you make a website and include copy to go with the design, remember to write to a particular audience. Otherwise, you will end up with a top notch website design that does not convert visitors into buyers or subscribers.
2. Understand that visitors are potential buyers
When a copywriter is creating test for someone starting a blog or an existing one, they consider every visitor as a potential customer. Copywriters don’t write because the site needs a new blog post or article. They write with intent to sell a product or service and to provoke a particular action.
As a UX designer, this too should be your approach. Don’t think about the site’s audience and potential visitors as just people who can be convinced to do something. Consider them to be potential customers and make sure your text speaks to them directly.
For instance, when Jeff Gothelf changed the label “Premium Membership” to “I’m serious about my job search”, he had potential subscribers in mind. The first one was directed at random visitors, while the second one spoke to a specific caliber of visitors.
So, does the copy you used when designing that website you are proud of resonate with potential buyers and subscribers?
3. Perfect writing to one person
While someone who is learning how to create a website is hoping to attract numerous visitors, this does not mean that copy should be directed at a crowd. Copywriters create copy that resonates with readers because they have perfected the art of speaking to one person.
That’s why you will find the most popular article pieces using the pronoun “you” a lot. As a UX designer, you too should adopt this writing style. While your copy may not include as many words as that of a copywriter, personalizing a message to one person makes site visitors feel special.
And when potential customers feel they have been treated well or special by organizations, they are more likely to purchase whatever service or product is being sold. 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated.
Can you notice the use of “you” in the text above? It speaks directly on one person, making each individual feel cared about. This brings us back to the art of tapping into someone’s mind and using appealing text to influence their decisions.
4. Connect with your users at a personal level
Copywriters make it their business to understand who their audiences are, tailor content specifically to them and ensure their needs are met. As a UX designer, you need to design a website that not only impresses visitors, but also makes them want to take action.
What is the best way to achieve this? It’s by sharing a personal connection with your users. Forget about what UX concepts dictate about copy and try to adopt your user’s language. As I mentioned earlier, users appreciate personalized text than they do general.
They need to feel that you care and using their language is the most effective way. If you find this particular function challenging, you can always consider hiring freelancing services where you get to work with a competent copywriter.
5. Don’t just communicate the what, include the why
Without even knowing it, most UX designers fail at converting visitors because they focus on elements instead of advantages. A visitor to a site does not subscribe to receive emails because there was a prompt telling them “click here to receive our emails”.
They subscribe because of a told promise like “Click here to subscribe and receive more uplifting blog posts.” Users need to know why they are being told to buy a certain product or service. They also need to know what’s in it for them, or rather, what they gain in the process.
A well-converting design cannot ever be complete if the copy is wanting.
It can also never convert visitors and leads into customers or subscribers. By understanding the art of copywriting, UX designers can offer more value to website owners.
Looking for more ideas like this? Learn more at Metapress and X3 Digital, or connect with Alex Jasin directly on Twitter, Medium and LinkedIn. Read more of Jasin’s writing on Business Insider, Entrepreneur, The Huffington Post, Internet Retailer, The Next Web and other major publications.
* Cover image by Cathryn Lavery