The Cost of a Simple Mistake

I get a lot of leaflets through my door. Many of them go into the recycling bin, and for many reasons, but few things will relegate something to the bin faster than a spelling mistake. If a company can’t be bothered to get it right, why should I spend my hard-earned money with them?

You could of course argue that many people don’t notice mistakes; that it doesn’t really matter. And you’d be right. Not everyone does notice, and not every mistake necessarily costs you business. But in today’s tough economic climate and super-competitive marketplace, can you afford to take that chance?

It’s all relative, of course. The odd erroneous apostrophe may seem very trivial, and naturally its importance does depend on the nature of the business you run. Perhaps if you were buying cement, or butter, or a beach ball, you wouldn’t take your custom elsewhere purely on the basis of a spelling mistake. But what if you were employing someone’s services?  What if you needed to be confident you would get perfect results from a tradesperson or company? How confident would you be if they couldn’t get their own marketing materials right? What if you were looking for a tutor for your child’s education?

Bad spelling and grammatical mistakes are so common these days that you could indeed be forgiven for thinking it doesn’t matter. I know, for example, that I am in the minority for being irritated every time I see a supermarket sign saying “10 items or less”. And, to be fair, it doesn’t stop me shopping there. However, when the Liberal Democrats put a campaign leaflet through my door containing at least 20 different errors, it did make me question their commitment to high standards. And to education.

It doesn’t cost a lot to get a copywriter or proofreader to check over your marketing materials before it goes to print, or is published online, or even sent to someone’s mobile. But it could cost you an awful lot in lost custom not to. Why take the chance?

Oh, and just for anyone who was wondering – it’s supposed to be “10 items or fewer”. Rant over.

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