- "DG approached us, understanding our needs. We have found them attentive and patient with the ever changing scope of the job." ...
Kieran Doyle, Ecoklens
- "From the first meeting it was clear that they understood how to resolve our [issues] and explained what was needed"
Ivan Craige, HLS, Ashbourne, Co. Meath
- "I engaged The DG Group to provide a new website and also to revamp by brand identity...the results are excellent."
Ken Taylor, KT Communications, Monaghan
- Always positive and full of ideas for how to deliver a project efficiently and cost-effectively, the team are a pleasure to work with....
- "When you deal with the DG Group, Expect professionalism, efficiency and excellent communication. They are a great group of people"
Ruth Little, Samhain Consulting
- "I updated my website with the DG Group, they set it up exactly the way I wanted...An excellent service!"
Eleanor Swan, Eleanor Swan Artist
The Importance Of God Smelling!
(How Poor Spelling & Grammar Can Seriously Affect Sales)
If I had a Euro for every time I found spelling mistakes on a website, in a brochure or on a leaflet I wouldn't be a millionaire, but I would certainly be a lot more comfortable. Unfortunately until the government creates the 'Department of Literacy & Spelling' I will have to make do with tutting.
However on a serious note, bad spelling is a real turn-off for many potential clients. Perhaps you don't think it's important, but according to research conducted in the UK by The Royal Mail (in 2005) an estimated £41Bn in sales was lost to businesses due to poor spelling, punctuation and grammar. It further showed that nearly three-quarters of all customers (74 per cent) said they wouldn't trust businesses that used poor spelling or grammar, whilst almost a third (30 per cent) said they wouldn't buy any product or service from them.
Anecdotally I hear the same message time and again from people I speak to; if they see serious spelling mistakes in company websites they leave. So if you don't think good spelling and grammar is important, you are most definitely in the minority.
So why do so many mistakes end up in text? Well we all learn to read and write in school, so many people think that qualifies them to write their own content. A typical business owner has never had any graphic design tuition and would therefore not design his/her own brochure and is happy to pay a premium to someone who can deliver a quality design. However, since we all learned to read and write early in life we all somehow feel qualified to deliver content.
By the way, I am not suggesting that you should hire a copywriter for everything, most people can handle simple enough product/service descriptions, but if you know that writing is not your strong point, or you are contemplating a major web or print project, get a professional - or it could cost you more in lost sales.
Perhaps you are thinking that it's all a fuss about nothing, so let's review some common mistakes of copywriting. I am going to ignore the more complex omissions involving incorrect tone-of-voice or missing calls-to-action and simply cover off basic grammar and punctuation:
Incorrect Use Of Commas
Example: My wife works part time registering, and placing children in the local school system.
Explanation: Commas should be used to provide a short pause in a sentence when required. In the above sentence it's in the wrong place and so just gets in the way. It should be after the word "time".
Incorrect Use Of Semicolons
Example: Once she was helping me to fill out a form; when she noticed something unusual.
Explanation: A semicolon is used to provide a longer pause or instead of a full-stop where the second half of the statement is directly related to the first. In the above sentence you should use a comma or nothing at all.
Missing or Incorrect Use Of Possessive Apostrophes
Example: By some standard's poor spelling is not so bad. But a persons inability to correctly read and write reflects a serious problem in our society.
Explanation: "Standard's" does not require an apostrophe while "Persons" should be "Person's" because the apostrophe indicates that the "inability" quoted in the sentence belongs to the person.
Missing or Incorrect Use Of Concatenating Apostrophes
Example: It's head is on its shoulders because its the way it should be.
Explanation: "Its" means something belonging to "It", while "It's" means "It Is". So this sentence should read: Its head was on its shoulders because it's the way it should be.
Dropping The "To" (Specific To Ireland)
Example: My copywriting service allows you generate more sales.
Explanation: This is my personal bugbear. Even Irish TV and radio programs make this mistake. It's just WRONG - Stop it! The "to" qualifies the fact and separates the action from the result. This should therefore read: My copywriting service allows you to generate more sales.
If you can say, "sure, I knew all that", then great; feel free to write your copy, happy in the knowledge that you stand a good chance of delivering intelligible text. But if not, hire a copywriter!
Oh and by the way, it's "Unplug It", not "Plug it out".
Finally, any spelling mistakes in the above article were put there to test you and I absolutely know about every one of them. ;-)
Franco De Bonis is a marketing professional with a unique view on the world of marketing and co-owner of The DG Group. Franco has worked in the field of sales and marketing promotion for over 20 years and was most recently the global marketing manager for Creative Labs before setting up The DG Group in January 2007.