Why Using Correct Punctuation is Good for Business
I’m not afraid to admit that if I wander past a café that has a blackboard sign proudly placed outside, and if that blackboard sign has an incorrectly-placed apostrophe, I lick one of my fingers and rub the error out … before never stepping foot inside that café. Ever. You certainly wouldn’t ever see me calling a company that has a weird apostrophe thing going on in their logo either.
Call me brutal, call me finicky, I don’t mind, but you can definitely call me consistent. And that’s exactly why it’s important that businesses use correct punctuation in every kind of message they communicate. Hear me out.
First impressions count
You might not care about correct grammar and punctuation, but your clients – and prospective clients – might. It doesn’t matter how you communicate – Facebook, email, mail drop, pigeon – if that’s the first time someone has engaged with you, and you don’t get it right, there’s every likelihood that they’ll look elsewhere.
Perceived professionalism equals sales
Not only are you at risk of stabbing the eyeballs out of people like me who are brutal and finicky with incorrect apostrophe placement, there/their usage or spelling mistakes, you also come across – perhaps unfairly – as being unprofessional. That perception can have a flow-on effect; it can directly impact your profitability. Up your game on the grammar and punctuation front and you directly impact the public’s perception of you.
Spelling mistakes, incorrect grammar usage and poor punctuation can lead to confusion and misunderstanding. If they don’t understand what you’re saying, or there’s a possible double meaning hidden away somewhere in there, they’re less likely to trust that you know what you’re talking about, and at the extreme end of misunderstandings, your business could be open to costly law action.
Get it right first time
Avoid confusion and keep your clients happy by dotting your Is and crossing your Ts correctly. We’re all got our strengths, so if yours isn’t grammar and punctuation here are some tips and tricks:
- Proofread. Proofread. And just in case you didn’t read that first and second times around, proofread again. You can never proofread enough, especially if the document is customer-facing.
- Get someone else to proofread it. If you’re not totally comfortable with your own abilities, ask someone else who is. And don’t worry about adding to their workload; most grammar Nazis will actually find it a relief to look over your work before it gets out in the open.
- Take a break. Anyone, even professional writers, is more likely to overlook errors if they don’t take breaks from their screens. Step away from proofreading to give both your mind and your eyes a break. Then, return to it when you’re refreshed and motivated.
- Use digital proofreading tools. If proofreading isn’t one of your strengths, the spellchecking tool in Microsoft Word is a good place to start. Grammarly is a great online tool too; the free version is enough to pull out your most blindingly-obvious errors and help you fix them.
- Hire a copywriter. Copywriters live and breathe writing, grammar, punctuation and spelling. So while you focus on your business’ core capabilities, a copywriter will ensure all of your written communication is as polished as possible. The beauty of an in-house copywriter is your ease of access to them. The beauty of a freelance copywriter is that they’re removed enough from your organisation to be able to offer objective advice.
Need a hand with your copywriting? Give the friendly team at Lingo a call; we’d love to help out.
Keen to brush up on your grammar and punctuation skills? Check out TEDEd’s Writer’s Workshop. It’s filled with heaps of videos to help you get your writing just right. Here’s one of our favourites, about when you should use an apostrophe: