Attention email composers, bloggers and content writers (just about all of us):
I was instantly inspired to write this article after reading an article titled, "Poor Writing Is No Laughing Matter". As a business owner, I can most definitely relate. I find myself repeatedly reminding my staff that grammar is extremely important and it does in fact matter. Not only is it a direct representation of you, but your entire organization too! Each and every person should take pride in their writing. You may not realize you are being analyzed by your writing skills and grammar, but trust me, you are!
I can especially appreciate the part of the article where it stated, "Good grammar is credibility, especially on the internet. In blog posts, on Facebook statuses, in e-mails, and on company websites, your words are all you have. They are a projection of you in your physical absence”.
Here at Dealer Synergy, we teach our clients the importance of the "Science of Communication", which states that there is only a 7 percent communication effectiveness through text and the words we use. I repeat, only 7 percent! Yet, for most dealerships, it is the highest form of communication used and emails are constantly being sent out with poor grammar, shorthand and misspellings. Let's think about this for a second. We expect our customers to trust us with the second largest purchase they will make in their lifetime, yet we can't even press spell check or proofread our work before we send it? We live in an industry where perception is reality. Heck, we live in a world where perception is reality! Don’t let a false perception become an undeserved reality.
Here are a few of my personal tips:
The use of correct grammar, punctuation and spelling pertain to more than just email correspondences with your prospects. Any form of communication visual to the public eye should be examined thoroughly. This includes, your company website, email templates, Social Media posts, blog posts and even your recruiting initiatives!
- ALL emails should be created equal. Show respect for the person on the other end of the email (the receiver). I don't care if you are writing an email to your 4 year old child or the President of the United States. Treat them just the same!
- Practice good writing and grammar habits, ALWAYS. This includes Facebook, Blog Posts, twitter (as long as you can still remain within the character limit) and even text messages! As we are all aware, it is much easier to develop a bad habit than to break one!
- The spell check button is your best friend. You wouldn’t ignore your best friend, would you? We’ve all heard the phrase “you only get one shot at making a great first impression”. What impression are you making on your prospects? Or better yet, what impression are the other people in your organization making on your behalf?
- Do not use shorthand with your prospects. It may seem like the coolest and latest thing to do, but please do not type "u" instead of "you", "yw" instead of "you’re welcome", or "ttys" instead of "talk to you soon". Or “Mr. Customer, I was hoping to get you the 411 on the car you wanted, but smh, I checked our inventory and it is GFN.” You get the point.
- Invest the time. I recommend reading through your email 3 times before hitting the send button. Check for both spelling and grammar corrections. Spell check will not identify the difference between to, two and too. They are all spelled correctly, but defined differently.
- Read the email out loud. If you stumble on a word or phrase, the reader will too.
No one is perfect and not all of us are English majors and professional writers, but if you follow the tips above, you will have the best shot at making the best first impression possible. We may not be seeking out a Pulitzer Prize, but why can’t we make our prospects feel like we are?
If you would like to hear more on this subject, have comments or questions, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.