You may think of UX writing as the next buzzword in marketers’ jargon, a trend we’d all just have to weather. The truth is, though, that UX writing is crucial for SaaS brands. There is simply no good way to convey what your software does to your potential customers without it.
In a way, the wide adoption of software-as-a-service is the very fact that disrupted copywriting and allowed for UX writing to be born. In turn, the pressure of adopting UX writing is higher for trendsetting SaaS companies – brands that offer innovative solutions are expected to also be the first to innovate.
UX writing has been gaining so much traction over the last few years that it might be worth it to reconsider the traditional ways of writing website copies and adapt some of UX writing guidelines.
The rising interest in UX writing in the last 5 years. Source: Google Trends
If you’re now stuck in the process of understanding how to implement UX writing for SaaS, this guide is for you.
What Is UX Writing And How Is It Different From Copywriting?
UX writing aims to help users interact with a product and to guide them through the process – it settles the communication between the product and the user.
To put it simply, “copywriting helps the business, while UX writing helps the customer,” as Joe Daniels from UX Writing Hub defines it. Copywriting aims to make the sale, while UX writing focuses on helping the user understand the product and find all the information they need.
What we came to realize is that pure UX writing is great for existing customers who already use the software. What we consider good website UX writing is not so radical – it helps both the brand and the customer.
Why Is UX Writing Important for SaaS Websites?
You could look at SaaS brands this way:
- SaaS products that solve new problems or old problems in an innovative way. If you’re using the audience awareness matrix, most of their audience is problem-unaware or solution-unaware.
- SaaS products that solve old problems better than the existing solutions. Most of their audience is product-unaware, so they usually have a higher demand, but in a very crowded market.
If you’re a SaaS “trailblazer” and you’re offering a new type of solution, then you most definitely need UX writing to help the customers understand your product.
For example, if you are developing a new email marketing platform (like Mailchimp), you won’t need to explain what this is because people are already familiar with it.
But if you are offering something your audience has never used or heard of before – well, then you’ll need to do a lot of explaining. And chances are people still won’t understand if you don’t stick to good UX writing practices. You need a smart way to introduce your audience to your product.
If you’re offering a popular SaaS solution, you are probably in a very crowded market. If you don’t implement UX writing, some of your competitors are already doing it. You simply can’t afford to lag behind.
SaaS brands are perceived as innovators. As an innovative company, Google is a great source for UX writing best practices. You can follow their example and learn from their approach. Visit any of their websites, such as Google Trends for example, and see how they implement UX writing.
Here is how Google Trends provides additional helpful information by adding small hover-over question icons.
So, now, let’s get to the point – how to do UX writing.
How to Do UX Writing for SaaS?
Before getting into SaaS specifics, let’s first quickly get through the main guidelines of UX writing.
The first rule of good UX writing is clarity. Your main goal is to make sure there aren’t any ambiguities, and the user never feels confused by your copy.
Avoid industry jargon and acronyms that may be unknown to your readers. Remember to give context, so the user can understand precisely what you’re saying. Here’s an example of what not to do:
This is a free hosting service website. The product is aimed at “everyone”, yet the copy includes “MYSQL Database” and “PHP MYADMIN.” These terms could confuse some of the page visitors who lack a technical background.
Be Concise & Efficient
Don’t create walls of texts and make sure the content is easily scannable. Users know that they can go to a competitor’s website anytime if they don’t easily find what they need. And they won’t find it, if it is hidden in big blocks of text. Here is another bad example:
This “wall of text” is on the website’s homepage, making it hard for users to find the key takeaways quickly.
Make the next steps clear and easy to follow. If the user doesn’t know what they have to do or what will follow once they click on your CTAs, they might leave or be frustrated. Let’s have a look at another example of a practice you should not follow:
What does “Join Us!” mean? Is it a sign-up page, is it a free trial, or a checkout page? It would be better to provide the users with a clear idea of what follows if they click on the Call-to-Action button.
Adhere to the Brand Voice
Define your brand voice and stick to it. This adds more personality to your product and reinforces your brand. Would you prefer buying from a vending machine or a real person when it comes to high-value purchases? Make your brand voice consistent and “sounds” humane.
Now, let’s see how to implement these guidelines and tweak them specifically for SaaS websites.
Mind the Information Asymmetry
As SaaS marketers, you are extremely familiar with your software products and solutions, their features and use cases, and how they differ from your competitors’. Your ideal customers, on the other hand, have significantly less knowledge of your product. No matter how much research they’ve already done, they still know less about your product than you do. This is Information asymmetry – one party has more information than the other side.
We tend to forget that the user doesn’t know all that we do. So we have to make sure we provide them with enough context, especially when talking about SaaS products.
The specifics of your software-as-a-service solution need to be communicated clearly, so your potential users truly understand what the solution is, what problem it solves, how it is different from others, and how to use it.
Use Terms and Langue Your Audience Understands
To avoid causing radical information asymmetry, we have to speak a language our audience understands. This can mean we have to stop using fancy words and terms we like but our users don’t. Have a look at his part of Skype’s Brandbook:
While Skype is a B2C cloud telephony software, it doesn’t promote itself as such because most of its users don’t even know what this is.
At the same time, other B2B SaaS solutions are geared towards a much more tech-savvy audience. They need to balance between the two risks – too much technical jargon and oversimplifying their messaging. If you underestimate your audience, that would not be a good user experience either.
A good example is our client JustCall:
As they are B2B SaaS, they speak the language of their ideal customers, who won’t be looking for “free calls” but rather for a cloud phone system or VoIP software.
The takeaway here is that good UX writing is clear, straightforward, and understandable for your specific audience.
Things get a bit trickier for SaaS solutions suitable for many different audiences, speaking different professional languages.
For example, if you are a communication services provider offering both APIs and a cloud platform, you can have both marketers and developers interested in your product. These two audiences are interested in very different features and speak different jargons. What do you do?
Well, you’d probably have to make different pages on your website for different audiences. This is an example of how Uber for business dealt with such a problem:
They’ve created separate pages for all the different industries and teams that are interested in their broadly targeted solution.
This is why it is essential to know who your ideal customers are and to define them clearly.
Write Microcopy That Clarifies The Next Steps
As the name refers, microcopy is tiny bits of copy in the interface that help guide the users and keep them happy and satisfied. These could be CTA texts, error messages, contact form labels, and many more.
Creating great CTAs may look easy but are actually not so straightforward. There are many ways things could go once users click on a “Get Started” button on your SaaS website. You could send them to a demo page, a checkout page, or a contact form. The most challenging aspect is that users have some kind of expectations.
For example, they might think they would go to the checkout page once they click the “Get Started” button, but you send them to a contact form, so they can request a demo with an expert. Chances are, they will be disappointed or misled.
To avoid this, add a useful microcopy to the Call-to-Action button. Instead of using “Get Started” for every CTA, you could use:
- Start Demo, if the next step leads immediately to a demo sign-up page.
- Purchase Now, if the next step is a checkout page.
- Request Demo, if the next step is a contact/ request form.
The goal is to be as clear as possible about what follows. Here is an example by Google, presented at Google IO17:
They changed their “Book a room” microcopy to “Check availability” and witnessed a 17% increase in engagement.
To make the next steps even more transparent, you could add microcopy under your CTAs:
- Start Demo
No booking needed
- Request Demo
Book with an expert
Autopilot did this with their “Signup with Google” CTA by adding a microcopy that no credit card info is required:
Be prepared to change the microcopy often. As a UX writer, you have to continually pay attention to what serves the user best. And this requires a lot of A/B testing and changes.
Don’t Sound as a Robot Just Because You’re Writing About Software
So far, we’ve talked about how important it is for your UX writing to be clear, concise, and useful. But what about brand voice? Is it not important?
Well, the truth is that brand voice is the cherry on the cake.
If you have to choose between emotion and efficiency, efficiency has a higher priority. Still, we advise you to invest in both.
SaaS websites don’t have to be soulless. You have to show that there are real people behind this software. In a BosCon blog article, I once read, “Selling software to a busy, skeptical person is not the same as selling beer to someone who is thirsty.” This is the best reason why SaaS businesses need a brand voice.
Think of your software product as a person – what are their traits, needs, how would they speak. Write all of this down to define your unique brand voice. And make sure you apply it in all your messaging, from website copy to ad copy, to email marketing and onboarding.
Here is an example from ClickUp – their brand voice is funny and sincere:
Great UX Writing Doesn’t End With the Website
Your UX writing efforts only begin with the website, but it should follow the users into the platform/app itself.
You have to remember that once a lead becomes a user, you have to commit to them fully – you no longer need the salesy copywriting, you only need to be as helpful as possible.
If you found this topic interesting, continue reading how UX and SEO work together for a better-ranking website.