Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Spelling / grammar - so important to your sales and brand image

Not the grammar police!

This is important only because it can seriously affect your bottom line as a Zazzle (or other POD) storekeeper.

Bad grammar and misspellings can really put people off your store. People will forgive the odd misteak(!) but if they see repeated errors, they will get the impression that you don't care enough to get it right. And then they will go on to think that your "bad" attitude spills over onto your products and customer service.

This could mean that you turn away 10, 20, 30% or even more of your customers... and your bottom line will be reflecting that. By putting it right, that could represent a big boost—if I had a way of boosting my sales by that much, I would jump at the chance!

There's one type of particularly common error that I often see on the Zazzle forums, and even worse than that, actually on storekeepers' products!

What are these mistakes I'm on about? The most common are when someone uses:
  • your instead of you're (when they mean "you are")
  • their or there instead of they're (when they mean "they are")
If you have any products with such boo-boos on them, folks who know better simply won't buy them and that can't be good for your monthly sales! Worse, they may never come back to your store and you certainly won't get word-of-mouth recommendations!!

So if you struggle with this problem, here's a tip to help. Think how someone might say these words if they were speaking at a posh do. They would pronounce each word separately, rather than running them together like you do in friendly writing or casual speech.

Here's a bigger list that hopefully will reveal a pattern:
  • They are—in casual speech/friendly writing becomes they're
  • You are—in casual speech/friendly writing becomes you're
  • It is—becomes it's
  • That is—becomes that's
  • You will—becomes you'll
  • They have—becomes they've 
  • We will—becomes we'll 
Do you see the pattern?

When you leave out a letter or two, to give the reader a clue you use that little symbol called an apostrophe. When used in this way, it is given a special name—an apostrophe of omission. Yes, you've (you have) got it, it's (it is) because you're (you are) using it when you have omitted one / some letters.

So next time you're about to use the word "your", double check and see if you can say "you are" in its place. If you can, then it should be you're. Same for "their" or "there"—if you can say "they are" in its place (without changing the meaning), then it should be they're.

Another couple of gotchas

While on this subject, a couple of personal bug-bears of mine:
  • I should of done that—aaargh!! I should have done that...
  • mixing up compliment and complement
    I can pay you a complIment by saying something nIce about you; if something looks good nExt to something Else, it complEments it
Remember, this isn't the grammar police, this is a friendly tip to help improve your sales and your bottom line. But for your edification, here is the Grandma Police (hehe!)

Do you know of or see any other grammar errors on storekeepers' products that might be preventing sales? If so, we'd love you to share them here, so don't be shy, drop off a comment... (no need to link to them, that wouldn't be fair)

comments / feedback not just welcomes but actively encouraged :)