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Marketing / Business writing

Why proofread promotional material?

Poor proofreading of your promotional materials can impact both your bottom line and your professional reputation, so make sure you give it the attention it deserves.

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Written promotional material works

Professionally presented written resources such as leaflets and pamphlets can continue to sell your product long past the time of distribution. In the Marketing Media in Australia report unaddressed mail advertising scored 58 percent for influencing consumer spending.

Furthermore, almost three-quarters of businesses reported responding to direct mail. When that mail was personally addressed or came from a person or organisation they had an existing relationship with, it scored even higher.

Perfection reflects care

At a local restaurant recently I found five obvious spelling errors in the menu. They prompted a lively conversation at our table about whether or not it’s important for an eating establishment to get such things right.

My own opinion is that the proprietor would have preferred us to converse about our meals or the ambience of her restaurant rather than whether this oversight reflected an overall lack of attention to detail. I wonder too whether the conversation affected our appreciation of the meal and our likelihood of returning.

"Written promotional materials say as much about your professionalism, quality and expertise as your product or service itself."

Business owners take such pride and care in developing and producing their products and services, ensuring they’re cutting edge and  supported by the latest technology and research. Yet all too often they neglect to apply the same quality standards to their frontline product promotion.

Want more articles like this? Check out the business writing section.

What will it cost to get this wrong?

As an example, when a young professional presented her business booklet at a lunch I recently attended, I was surprised how many people left it behind. When I asked others why they hadn’t kept it to read through later, the answer was uniform—the font was so small no one could read it.

The cost to the business owner concerned must have been substantial – both in terms of the expenditure involved in producing the booklet and from the point of view of missed opportunities.

Written promotional materials say as much about your professionalism, quality and expertise as your product or service itself. They’re about highlighting your product and capturing your potential customer’s interest and determination to own or experience your offering.

Key points for producing leaflets and flyers

Remember, perception is the reader’s reality, regardless of your intent. Perception has the power to influence and motivate the reader to act.

Every piece of marketing material you create is an opportunity to engage with and influence your readers, so whatever you do, don’t take the development of your written material lightly.

Appeal to your reader’s needs, be clear about your product’s advantages, and use power words and phrases related to your product that give a strong call to action. 

Some key points for producing well-written promotional material include a good grasp of grammar, a dictionary and some sensible proofreading tips.

In summary:

  • Develop your written material professionally, with clear images, attention grabbing headlines and calming white space
  • Check every word in your dictionary and develop your personal style guide (or dictionary) for frequently used words and phrases
  • Edit the document a minimum of 24 hours after you’ve written it. Be ruthless
  • Ask someone who knows nothing about your product to summarise what your document is saying. Repeat this exercise with at least half a dozen people, listen to what they tell you, and adjust the text and presentation accordingly
  • Ask someone who knows something about advertising whether your leaflet has a professional look and feel

Have you learned the hard way just how vital it is to proofread your promotional material carefully? Or perhaps you’ve spotted a clanger from someone else. Please share your observations below.

Rosemary Osborne

works with you to enhance and support your professional and quality image through your written documents. We write to make you right.

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