Why failing to proofread is losing you business

Posted on , by Sarah Townsend in Writing tips no comments
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We’ve all seen examples of pitiful proofreading that make us cringe. How do you make sure your business isn’t next in line for the hall of shame?

We’re all under pressure – our inboxes buckle under the strain of hundreds of unanswered messages, our ‘to do’ lists get longer when they should be getting shorter, and there are never enough hours in the day… it’s no surprise that we end up cutting corners.

You’re too close to your own work to proofread it yourself, and your colleagues are just as busy so there’s no point asking them for help.

Avoid the pitfalls of pitiful proofreading

Your marketing literature, website and social media accounts are often the first contact potential clients have with your business. You budget for design and print – even copywriting – yet how often have you risked your investment by skimping on proofreading… then found embarrassing typos in the finished product?

Whether you like it or not, potential customers judge you by your mistakes – resulting in lost sales, and driving clients to do business with your rivals.

A 2013 study revealed that 59 per cent of UK consumers wouldn’t use a company that had obvious grammatical or spelling mistakes on its website or marketing material because they wouldn’t trust the company to provide good quality service. Others were put off due to an obvious lack of care, and considered the business to be unprofessional as a result of the mistakes.

Spellcheck schmellcheck

So you don’t have time to proofread but you’ve run a spellcheck so it’s okay, right? Wrong. Spellcheck doesn’t know if you’ve repeated a word, or left one out, neither does it know if you’ve used the right word – it only knows whether the words you’ve used are spelled incorrectly (that’s one C, two Rs).

Computers can’t check context: they don’t know if you meant there, their or they’re, affect or effect, loose or lose. And – oops! – you just spelt manager as manger. Sorry, it won’t spot that either. P45 anyone?

Each time you rely on spellcheck you risk mistakes and errors in your writing. Homophones – words that sound the same, but have different spellings and different meanings, like the examples below – are partly to blame:

  • your, you’re
  • to, too, two
  • there, they’re, their
  • sight, site
  • board, bored

So, don’t sack your spellchecker, but don’t rely on it to do your job for you – it’s never a substitute for proofreading.

Conversely, accurate copy is more convincing, more effective and a whole lot more desirable. Consider professional proofreading as security on your investment. It may be another expense, but it’ll pay for itself many times over.

As the saying goes, ‘There’s never time to do it right, but always time to do it again.’ Don’t learn the hard way.




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