Make No Mistake!

August 19, 2016

Marketing is one of the most important activities that any business can carry out. If you are an entrepreneur, it is something that you cannot get on without. The various materials you use to promote your brand are meant to be seen by a public that has need of the product or service you’re supplying. You should assume that such people are discriminating and picky in the vendors they choose. If you are to be taken seriously, then you must exude an air of confidence.

In most instances, the marketing media you use will be the first contact a potential customer has with your company. You must make a good first impression. And one of the best ways to do so is to ensure your marketing materials are free of mistakes.

As the owner and chief operator of a small business, there is much that you must get through on any given day. At times, it is necessary for you to do a number of things at once. Speaking, texting, and emailing clients and suppliers, monitoring the work and progress of your small workforce, thinking through and drawing up plans for new growth and investment—these are just a few of the activities that you must juggle. Given all of these other tasks, reviewing and editing marketing materials is probably not high on your list of priorities.

You need help and an overall strategy for getting through the process as efficiently and effectively as possible. Here are a few pointers:

First, you should, if possible, enlist the aid of others in reading the documents. Designate one or two members of your staff to be a second pair of eyes whenever you need to do a final review and approval of a marketing document. An independent editor is absolutely necessary if you have written the material yourself. However, even if you are reviewing work written by someone else it is important to get a second look. The most careful of readers will still make mistakes—especially if they are hurried or feel pressured in any way.

When possible, you should print out the documents in a different ink and edit them. Changing the appearance of the document will give you a different perspective—the kind of perspective that can bring errors to the surface.

You should, if nothing else, ensure that company logos, mission statements, web addresses, phone numbers, emails, and social media addresses are correct. These are the things that most customers will read first. In fact, they may be the only things that many of them actually look at. They must therefore be, without exception, accurate.

Try not to edit documents the same day you write them. You should allow at least a day before you re-read your document. This will require you to start early in drafting your marketing materials. It is worth it. The best way of catching errors is to come back to a document with a fresh pair of eyes.

If your budget allows it, you should hire a professional proofreader. Spellchecker will catch most mistakes. However, it does not detect many errors of diction, grammar, and style. These can only be spotted by someone well versed in the English language. Such a person may even be able to improve the way your document is written. You should consider hiring a proofreader a kind of investment rather than a mere expense.

If you go with the above option, you should hire an industry-specific proofreader. This is a must if you are in a highly specialized field. You want your document to be reviewed, edited, and improved by someone who understands the language and governing concepts of the field.

One of the best ways to become an expert proofreader yourself is to cultivate good English usage. You should get into the habit of taking pains to be simple, logical, coherent, and direct in the emails, memos, and other written communications you send to employees. Using good English in ordinary, everyday business affairs will make it easier when you are tasked with speaking to potential customers. You should also make it a policy of enforcing good English usage in the office as a whole. Only by making everyone conscientious about the language will you be able to send out marketing materials free of mistakes.

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