Disclaimer: I am not out to get any particular company. I wrote this because I want businesses to succeed. “It takes years to win a customer and only seconds to lose one.”
We’ve all heard that famous quote, and most business owners do their best to keep it in the backs of their minds when marketing. Companies spend billions of dollars on advertising. They print pamphlets, gain millions of Twitter followers, and run contests to get you involved. They post their mission statement, proclaim their commitment to customer service, and pledge to be the best company out there.
But within seconds, the most reputable company I know could lose my business. How?
Because they refuse to invest in an editor.
“Oh, here you again, Shayla. You’re going to throw a hissy fit about grammar.”
The second someone incorrectly answers a math problem or misstates a science fact—as my friend Rose mentioned not too long ago—everyone loses his mind. But when I happen to know the difference between you’re and your, I’m labeled with the derogatory slur “Grammar Nazi.”
If you want people to take you seriously as a company—million-dollar business or not—then hire an editor to give you the reputation you deserve. Don’t leave your readers—your customers—scratching their heads, wondering what message you’re trying to convey.
Today’s example of a business foregoing the use of an editor:
“[Product] aids in your companies compliance with 29 CFR 1910.1200.”
If I can’t trust you to implement third-grade knowledge in your global material, then how can I trust you to properly deliver the products or services I need?
Am I going too far?
If a wedding coordinator posted that she could “make your walk down the isle a beautiful experience,” you probably wouldn’t use her, because you weren’t planning on having your father walk you down an entire island. That sounds exhausting, and you’re stressed enough as it is. Next wedding coordinator, please!
What if Wilson’s Windowpane Company declared, “We deliver the types of pain you can’t get anywhere else.” You’d say, “No thank you. I don’t want your business because I’m afraid you’re going to hurt me.”
What if some B2B corporation used the slogan, “We have the morels you’ve been looking for”? Uh, keep them to yourself, especially if it’s a false morel because I don’t want to die from mushroom poisoning.
And after you e-mailed the principal for advice about a dilemma with your child, he responded with, “I’ll be preying.”
Maybe these are extreme, but maybe they’re not. I see crazy grammatical errors like this all the time. Note: a typo is a typo, and it happens to all of us. But get an editor on board when you wind up broadcasting a commercial saying, “Most Trusted Navel Operation in the Country.” Ew.
Your company is better than this. Take the time to hire a professional editor. Keep that good reputation you worked so hard to get.
Don’t lose a customer in mere seconds.