Examples

Principle

Delight when it's right

We may not be the flashiest person at the party, but we know how to make our customers smile at the right moment. When it feels natural, we sprinkle in a bit of charm or use a metaphor to simplify a complex idea.

Simplify personal taxes

Good

Self assessment. It's a walk in the park.

This message addresses a subject that's associated with stress at the year-end, and frames the benefits of simplicity of submitting tax on the go (with a subtle play on words). It's also complemented by an illustration that builds on the aspirational theme.

Not so good

Do you dread self assessment? We have the answer.

This focuses on a negative sentiment. It also shifts the tone towards what we do, rather than how the customer benefits overall.

A number so nice, you used it twice.

There’s already an invoice [docnumber]. You can use it again, but it resets your invoice numbers (starting from [docnumber]).

Do you still want to use this invoice number?

Repeated entry error pattern

A number so nice, you used it twice.

There’s already an invoice [docnumber]. You can use it again, but it resets your invoice numbers (starting from [docnumber]).

Do you still want to use this invoice number?

Copy to clipboard

Good

A number so nice, you used it twice. There’s already an invoice [docnumber]. You can use it again, but it resets your invoice numbers (starting from [docnumber]). Do you still want to use this invoice number?

We can use this error pattern in various instances when users enter a number that they (or the system) already used. It has just the right amounts of helpfulness and delight.

Not so good

Invoice [docnumber] has already been taken. Are you sure you want to continue with that number? It will reset your invoice numbers (starting from [docnumber]).

Try to avoid the "Are you sure" construction in error messages. It makes it sound as if we're questioning the user's intelligence instead of guiding them to make the right choices.
Free trial marketing message

Good

Here’s to 30 days of awesome!

This could have been a regular “Your trial starts today” message, but instead we’re taking time to recognize the start of something fun. The time element puts a champion spin on our what we say we’ll deliver.

Not so good

Your trial starts…now!

And we’re off to the races! We’re in it to win it and we’ll show you how!

This is too much. Remember, we’re not super flashy or odd. We want just enough delight sprinkled in to make someone smile.
Take invoicing for a spin

Good

Take our invoicing for a spin

Use metaphor to make complex ideas engaging and encourage them to take action.

Not so good

Send an invoice and see what happens

It’s like that mystery box you’ve always wanted. But instead of a box, it’s an invoice.

A simile can help break down complex ideas, but in this case it does the opposite.
Celebrate customer success

Good

Your business has really taken off.

This content congratulates customers and encourages them to take the next step to build on their success.

Not so good

Congratulations on your success. Isn’t tracking profit in QuickBooks amazing?

We don’t blow our own trumpet, even when we're trying to promote a cool feature.
QuickBooks Capital tagline
Product:QuickBooks Capital
Principle: It’s about them, not us
Content pattern: Tagline

Why this works

  • Focuses on the customer and their growth
  • Not talking about just cash, but about their business and goals and dreams
  • The buttons CTA doesn’t commit the customer - leads to higher click rate
  • Voice and tone sounds optimistic and proactive

How to get started

  • Think about what the user gets out of the feature--how the user is benefitted emotionally and in life beyond their use of the product
  • Stay away from being cutesy or childish so the feature is taken seriously

Context

Not everyone qualifies for a QuickBooks Capital loan. "See if we're ready for you" lightens the stress of applying.