Everyone makes mistakes, but simple spelling and grammar errors can unravel a whole campaign, proving the difference between looking professional and incompetent. Amir Jirbandey, UK Marketing Manager at Mailjet, looks at how to recover from the most unfortunate of typos…
A recent study revealed that people can have very strong reactions to typos. Those that are most likely to be annoyed by mistakes went as far as to say that they would cut people out of their lives if their grammar and spelling were particularly sloppy.
It goes without saying that these mistakes could cost brands dearly. Typos not only confuse readers, but also alienate them, negatively impacting your marketing efforts. So, what can marketers do to protect themselves from these pesky errors?
For one, marketers should learn from other people’s mistakes. An infamous example of editorial gone wrong is the catastrophic #Susanalbumparty. While the hashtag was meant to promote Susan Boyle’s new album, this unfortunate choice of words actually created a huge distraction from the promotional message.
To avoid problems like this, the trick is to de-familiarise yourself from the content to increase clarity. When you’re creating editorial make sure you double and triple check your work.
Leave time between writing the first draft and going back to look over your writing. Additionally, get someone who hasn’t worked on the project to review it as they’ll be more likely to notice any mistakes or hidden meanings!
Remember, details are important: they can be the difference between looking professional and incompetent. You want your audience to take you and your messaging seriously, but we’re all human, and mistakes do happen. Luckily, there are things you can do to reduce the negative impact that a typo has.
For one, most social networks, such as Twitter and Linkedin, will let you edit your message, so as soon as you notice a mistake, change it! The same goes for email; many providers will now let you retrieve messages if you’re quick, so hitting send too soon isn’t the end of the world.
It’s equally important to react professionally to mistakes that can’t be undone. Your first instinct might be to delete your message, and all evidence of your mistake, but if someone has already identified it, it’s probably better to admit that you were wrong. Don’t be afraid to address the commenter directly. Often, you don’t need an explanation: you can simply thank them for pointing it out, and let them know that you have corrected it quickly. By doing this, you can demonstrate the integrity of your brand.
In fact, typos could actually help to build brand character in more ways than one. Snickers, for example, ran a hugely successful AdWords campaign a few years ago as part of the brand’s ‘You’re not you when you’re hungry’ promotion. Using the most commonly misspelled search terms to target consumers, Snickers cleverly served paid ad results on Google which reminded searchers that hunger could prevent them from spelling correctly.
Here, creative thinking had an impressive impact because it allowed the brand to stand out. By owning the typos, the confectioner was able to engage with consumers in a humorous way and increase reach in markets that were often unrelated to them.
While Snicker’s clever campaign is an unusual example of a brand using typos to attract their target audience, typos don’t have to repel potential customers either. By taking care, reacting quickly and responding appropriately to mistakes, marketers can minimise the impact that mistakes have on a brands’ reputation.