What’s the primary purpose behind all your marketing efforts?
If you answered anything other than building trust, you need to rethink your direction.
There are many differences between the typical sales business and your high-skill service company, but an essential distinction is this: your customers are buying something intangible. Your clients don’t get a chance to visit the store and squeeze the grapefruit or try on the latest fashion before they commit to you. And they won’t make that commitment unless they trust you to deliver the services they want.
Your website—like all your other marketing efforts—must provide that reassurance. That’s why we tell you, over and over, to provide extravagant amounts of actionable information and answers. You sell your services by convincing potential buyers that you are generous, well-meaning, and (above all) smart.
It’s kind of funny how just a few mistakes can kill all that goodwill you have been building for your brand.
You are one blog post away from catastrophe
Poor grammar, sloppy punctuation, eccentric word choice, and overall bad writing don’t only mean that you’re not going to win any awards. You’re not going to win over any customers, either. In fact, you can actively scare clients away.
Internet users have become increasingly savvy over the years. They have a keen ability to recognize a conventional business writing style, even though those styles may range widely in formality. Conventional writing styles, sometimes called grapholects or registers, help to convince the reader that the writer is trustworthy, intelligent, and alert to organization. Text that is riddled with misspellings and grammatical errors carry the subtext DON’T TRUST ME to readers with even a little sophistication.
The obvious question is: Where along this spectrum can we find your website? If you (or your usual in-house writer) do not prove with each blog post that you are an expert in spelling and usage, then you may be doing more harm than good for your business, your clinic, or your practice. Your well-meaning advice and essential information will be overwhelmed by the static from your writing style. Your intention may be to persuade browsers to become customers, but your weak command of written English is sending the overriding message MY SLOPPY GRAMMAR MEANS I’M A SLOPPY THINKER.
The solution, in one word
The key to avoiding this disaster: proofreading.
Nothing should ever be posted on your website unless at least one person other than the writer has read it. That person, of course, must have superior spelling and grammar skills, and needs the authority to correct errors as he or she finds them.
You cannot be trusted to proofread your own work. Your eyes will just slide past any mistakes, mentally compensating for what you intended to write in the first place. A good proofreader or copy editor comes to the text with a fresh point of view, no preconceptions, and a determination that your writing will not scare off potential customers.
If you don’t have a staff member with the right set of skills to edit your text, find someone. Professional editing services maintain the highest standards, of course, but you might be able to hire a grad student at a nearby university who can spare a couple hours a week looking over your work. Bear in mind that you don’t want a random reader; you need to locate someone whose writing skills are at least as strong as your own.
A proofreader is not a cure-all. It’s human nature to make mistakes, and you can expect an error to be missed in the editing process now and then. But having your content evaluated and corrected before it appears online is your best opportunity to ensure the style of your website harmonizes with its message to build confidence in your brand.
Need professional writing and editing services for your specific clientele? That’s exactly where Foster Web Marketing shines the brightest. Call us at 888.886.0939 for a free consultation about your immediate and long-term needs.