Many solo business owners are passionate about good writing skills and the English language. Clients are passionate about this, too, and many will buy elsewhere if the writing is bad.
Even small errors can be a big mistake
A few months ago an acquaintance received an email from a guy, let’s call him Joe Bloggs. In the email, Joe wrote about a coaching service he was offering. My acquaintance was in the market for this service, but decided not to contact Joe purely because there were a couple of spelling and grammatical mistakes in his email. Her reasoning: “If that’s how he writes and sends an email, imagine how he does business? He’d do a hasty, superficial job with no attention to detail”.
Too harsh? Maybe, but her comment echoes the sentiments of many. The consensus is that writing is a direct reflection of the way a person does business. If the writing is professional and polished, so too is the image of the business; if the writing is dodgy and full of mistakes, well, you get the idea. In fact, there are five main customer comments related to writing that I’ve heard many times. Perhaps you’ve heard similar, or even made these comments yourself?
- If their attention to punctuation and other details is so poor, how can I trust them to do the job properly?
- The company had attractive brochures and flyers, but I couldn’t understand their message. It was a waste of their printing costs and a waste of my time.
- Due to grammatical errors, their message was ambiguous.
- I ignore e-newsletters and websites with errors because I don’t do business with amateurs.
- If hoax websites/emails/scams are renowned for having spelling errors, I can’t trust so-called legitimate businesses that have similar errors.
Everyone, including professional writers, make mistakes and overlook the odd typo. But if the foundation of your marketing material is built on poorly written and non-edited writing, then business could be on shaky ground.
Want more articles like this? Check out the business writing section.
If your writing skills need improvement, consider the following:
- Learn more about the craft of writing. Buy books, do courses and read the many informative articles on this site about good writing skills and proofreading. Then – practice, practice, practice!
- Never write something without editing it. Always read over your work several times, and preferably let it sit overnight before doing your final edit. Also, at least one of your edits should be done from a printed copy of your work. The process of editing is different for everyone and is dependent on the individual project. Some of my documents need only a few hours of editing, whereas my children’s novel required many months of editing!
- Your work needs fresh eyes. Have a friend or family member proofread your work before it goes to the client or printer. If you’ve read your document several times, it’s quite common to overlook mistakes.
- Consider outsourcing. We all have different strengths, so if writing just isn’t your thing, consider hiring someone to do it for you. It will save you time, money, and in some cases, your business.
The written word is a powerful tool, use it effectively and it will help to build a powerful business.
Do you agree with the customer comments in this article? Do you have good writing skills? How about your written marketing material, how have your clients responded?