Have you ever read a company’s marketing content, found grammatical errors and, as a result, questioned whether you wanted to do business with them? Unfortunately, this happens all of the time, causing great small businesses to lose out on profits simply because their marketing content wasn’t checked and re-checked before being printed or posted. Not only is this situation sad, it is completely unnecessary.
Even though proper grammar may seem relatively unimportant, especially if you offer a top quality content or service, the opposite is actually true. The mere fact that you’re willing to publish anything with errors tells your readers that you don’t pay attention to or care about detail. Either way, this can leave them questioning whether they should do business with someone who has that type of attitude.
That is why it is imperative for you to avoid making grammatical mistakes whether you’re publishing content your website or blog, sending out an email, posting on social media, creating a brochure, or creating any other written marketing tool that will reach your target market. Here are three of the most common issues I see with my small business clients, as well as ways to avoid them:
Using Run-On Sentences. Not only are run-on sentences not grammatically correct, but they are also usually very confusing. Due to their lengthiness, they give the reader too much information at one time. This can be overwhelming to their mind, not to mention that key points get lost in the shuffle.
For instance, I might want to tell you that I have this great new product for you that does wonderful things and can make your life easier if you would just decide to buy it and incorporate it into your life. While I was able to tell you that in one sentence, you probably got winded just reading it. At a minimum, your mind likely said, “Whoa! Hold on! That is a lot of information to digest at one time!”
You can avoid this scenario entirely by breaking that sentence up, thereby adding emphasis and clarity on each individual part. Here is what the modified content may look like:
We have this great new product for you that does wonderful things! Incorporate it into your life and make your life easier!
See the difference? The same information, once broken down, is much easier to read—and easier to digest.
Improperly Using Apostrophes. This is one area where a lot of people seem to have an issue. An apostrophe is used to connect two words and to show possession. However, there are some possessive pronouns that don’t require an apostrophe (which is where the problem usually comes in), such as is the case with its, hers, and ours.
So, if you are saying “its surface is red,” this doesn’t require an apostrophe. However, if you wish to convey the phrase “it is,” such as with “it’s great that you came,” then an apostrophe is proper.
Subject-Verb Disagreement. Admittedly, this one can be difficult, but when your subject and verb do not agree in number, it can make you look very unprofessional. If your subject is singular, then your verb needs to be singular as well; and when your subject is plural, then your verb needs to be plural.
For example, instead of saying “my customer bought their first car from me,” you would say “my customer bought his first car from me.” If you didn’t want to state sex, then you could even say “my customer’s first car was purchased from me.”
Although there are many different grammatical errors that can detract from your marketing goals, these are three of the most common. So, proofread your content carefully, remembering that it may be the first time a potential client has contact with you. Make it positive contact so that you aren’t nixed from there life before you even have a chance to enter it.