Think you don't need a proofreader?
If you’re a business owner, you may well believe that you don't need to hire a proofreader, and that it would just be throwing money away. But, instead of looking at it as an unnecessary cost, you should see it as a necessary investment.
By not paying enough attention to your business’s written content, you could be unwittingly deterring potential customers. Hiring a professional proofreader can prevent this and so help your business maximise turnover.
In a recent discussion with friends on Facebook after I posted this article about the grammar police, all but one said that they don't publicly correct other people's grammar. However, they all said that poor grammar and spelling would negatively affect their decision to use a product or service.
The question I asked was, ‘How do you react when you read a website or promotional materials with grammar and spelling mistakes? Would it affect your decision to buy a product or service?’
‘… I don’t shop in places that put additional apostrophes in everything (carrot’s 50p) …’
‘I would definitely walk away from anywhere making basic errors.’
‘… poor grammar and spelling will result in less trust in a company ...’
‘I take a business less seriously if they make mistakes – it shows a lack of attention which I assume runs through every aspect of their service.’
The first important point to take away from my small poll is that mistakes in your written content don’t help build trust in you or your brand. The second is that it’s not just the grammar police (and you only need to pay a brief visit to online forums to see how many of them are in our midst) that you need to consider when estimating how many potential customers you could be losing. In a much larger poll than mine, in 2013, fifty-nine per cent of UK adults said that bad grammar and spelling on a website would make them reconsider making a purchase.
Perfecting your written communication will help to build trust with customers: it means you're a professional; you take your business and your product or service seriously. They will therefore be more likely to commit to purchase.
Let’s get down to business.
How much is an individual customer worth to you? How much business do you get from each, on average? If you considered that the mistakes in your language might be enough to deter even one customer, how much of a loss could that represent? Then consider the reality that it’s likely to be multiple potential customers.
How many do you think you could be losing from those who visit your website each day, never to return, or who read the promotional materials that you’ve spent good money on, only to immediately discard them?
Compare that potential loss with what it might cost to have your website proofread, for example. If you have never used a proofreader before, then, understandably, you might not have any idea how much this might be. My own fees for this service currently start from around £50 for a very simple website. (Take a look at mine for an example of what I would personally consider to be a simple website.) Proofreading of a promotional leaflet could cost as little as £25* (my current minimum fee). When you look at it from that perspective, perhaps the question should be: can you afford not to hire a proofreader?
How do you know if you can trust us?
I talked earlier about trust. If you’ve never hired a proofreader before, you might not know how to go about finding one you can trust to make sure that you are investing your money wisely. This blog post gives you some useful tips about what to look out for.
Over to you.
I’d love to hear from you with your thoughts on this subject, particularly if you have already hired a proofreader and found that it had a positive impact on your business. If you haven’t hired a proofreader before, do contact me if you would like to discuss how I could help your business.
*Price updated June 2018.