Grammar and style mistakes can hurt conversion rates

Why Email QA is Important: How Content Style and Mistakes Can Hurt Your Campaign Performance

Have you ever sent an email campaign you have been working hard on — long nights, long hours, and a lot of back and forth? You finally hit publish and shut down your computer. The next day, your inbox is flooded with angry clients or stakeholders because of a small or big grammar or style mistake. 

How could you have been so negligent?! Maybe no one will notice …

According to a study by the University of Waterloo, every grammatical error reduced readership by 7 percent in customer-facing copy. 

Maybe it wasn’t even your email campaign but another’s you saw. What did you think of that company? “How could they have been so negligent?” 

Grammatical errors hurt conversion rates because most people think poorly of companies with low standards for their writing. That’s a tough thing to change people’s minds about, so do your very best to not make any grammatical mistakes. 

Here are a few common mistakes to keep on your radar as you put together email campaigns.

Too much jargon

Though technically not grammatically incorrect, adding too much jargon into your emails can actually steer some clients away. This is because they often hear these phrases in everyday life of their jobs or in general, as common phrases are often repeated over and over in marketing, in order to appear “with the times”. 

So, think outside of the box, because at the end of the day, you have to move the needle. (See what we did there?)

Using the wrong homophone

Let’s take a step back into English class and discuss homophones. These are words that have the same pronunciations but different meanings. One such homophone frequently mixed up is you’re (the contraction of you are) and your (second-person pronoun). Another contraction that often gets misspelled is they’re (contraction of they are), compared with there (adverb to indicate a place), and their (third-person pronoun). 

Let’s not forget these two words that are often switched: Accept (a verb that means to receive something) and except (a preposition that means to exclude).

These are tricky because they are all real words, so they don’t always get flagged by a spelling and grammar checker.

Using a complex opt-in form

You certainly do not want to land in the spam folder, but do not make your opt-in process too complicated. Of course, you want to know as much as you can about your subscribers (and get permission to send them emails), but try not to make many mandatory questions. Also, stylize it with checkboxes for easy opt-in.

Sending placeholder text

We have all seen the funny headlines that copy editors and newspaper designers used to put as placeholder text that accidentally got printed. It’s funny for you, but it’s embarrassing for them.

Don’t, (we repeat), DON’T be that person. Proofread and double-check your work before hitting send. Have a process for yourself, whether that is a to-do list, sticky note, or whatever to make sure you replace that placeholder text.

Not knowing your target audience

This can be both a grammar and a style mistake. By not understanding your target audience, your choices of words and style could be completely off. Before you even think about starting an email campaign, get to know your clients and your ideal client avatar (the person you imagine reading and enjoying your email campaign — and possibly clicking to buy). 

Don’t worry about fancy language and technical terms, unless, of course, that is your audience! Make sure you are getting your message across clearly and concisely first before throwing in creative pieces to make your work stand out. One way to understand your target audience better is to try A/B testing with your campaigns.

So, what if you make a mistake? Well, depending on the severity of the grammar or style mistake, it might be in your best interest to send an apology email. Give your subscribers a view behind the curtain, and show them that you are, in fact, real people behind the screen.

Use an email proofing solution for your reviews

We get that it is sometimes difficult to review copy, especially on a tight deadline and when there are a lot of stakeholders. Collating feedback and integrating them into your email can be a chore.

That’s why we created ProofJump, a QA and review solution built for email campaigns. Stakeholders can annotate on any copy edits that need to be made and content editors can mark any edits that have been completed — all in one place.

Instead of anticipating the need for an apology email, sign up for ProofJump. Get your free 21-day trial here.

Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash