Proofreading your Work

You'd never let a print ad appear with a typo in the headline. Your email subject line is likely to be read by more prospects. Do you need another reason to make sure your email is error free?


As prospects read your email, what opinion will they form of you and your company if it has glaring typos? Don't forget, email is often forwarded and printed out for future reference or to be passed along to colleagues. Consequences of those mistakes may linger longer, and be more far-reaching than anticipated.

To keep email error-free:

* Put email through the same proofreading process as printed material is subjected to. When interactive marketing was new, email messages bypassed the usual production process. Now messages are starting to go through the same process and errors have been reduced.

* Send a test email to all parties involved in the proofing process. Add additional time for the process into the schedule. Let people on your distribution list know when to expect the test email and give them adequate time to reply with revisions.

* Proofread in different formats. Check how the email looks on different platforms (Mac, PC) and with different email clients (AOL, Outlook, Thunderbird, etc.). Check that all the most important elements are above the fold and all links work properly.

* Print out the email. Make certain light colors print legibly and there is enough contrast to clearly read the message in both black and white and color.

* Pretend you're the prospect. Make sure you can actually do the desired action. If you want people to fill out a registration page, try completing it yourself. Click all the links. Call the toll-free number.

* Use a spell checker, but don't rely on it. Once you spell check (a 10-second action many people forget), look for common errors such as "your" instead of "you're" and "there" instead of "their." The worst error is when a typo results in correctly spelled, but incorrect, words, such as "bath" instead of "both." Read carefully, and get others to look at the copy with fresh eyes.

* Pay special attention to subject lines. They're the most important part of any e-mail messages.

Having said that, most advertising copy isn't written in the grammatically correct English. To write compelling copy, writers will take liberties with the language, such as writing incomplete sentences, using lots of dashes and ellipses, starting sentences with "and," and so on. Don't go overboard when trying for perfect grammar, but remember opinions will be formed about your company with every correspondence a client receives.

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