An Email Typo a Day Keeps the Subscribers Away

email typo

You put a lot of care into crafting marketing emails for your subscribers, but even the most valiant efforts can all be undone with one simple spelling or grammar mistake. You can re-read the message a hundred times without catching the error. It’s not you, it’s science.

According to Wired, our brain has to break down complex processes (like reading and writing) into simpler components. Remember the “it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are” internet fad? These images asserted that you only pay attention to the first and last letters of a word, leaving the middle letters free for muddled button-mashing. Well, this isn’t entirely true. What is true is that when we read we focus mainly on the meaning of the sentence. As long as you can grasp the meaning you are more likely to read without noticing the small typos.

The catch-22 here is that when you are re-reading an email you’ve written, you already know the meaning and flow of the sentences. That makes it harder for you to spot your mistakes. While PostUp’s email marketing platform has spell check options available, most spell checkers only identify words that are actually spelled incorrectly. In most cases, they can’t catch the difference between “one” and “won” or “gad” when you meant to type “fad.” While writing tools like Grammarly and other web editors can spot more nuanced errors, they aren’t 100% accurate either. To write your best emails, you need another pair of eyes. Real ones.

It’s always a good idea to have someone else proofread your mailings, but even this isn’t a foolproof fix. The ability to spot email typos and mistakes relies heavily on not being familiar with the content. If you’re pulling in someone from your team who already knows what you’re trying to say, they may also have enough familiarity to overlook the errors.

Some simple suggestions to improve your accuracy? For one, emails sent on Mondays tend to have the most typos: so if your’re just getting back from a lazy weekend, take an extra beat before you start shooting off emails. When you’ve gotten over your case of the Mondays, try reading your email out loud or changing the font or color when you check your message. Anything that makes the copy less familiar increases your chances of catching problems. If you do ask a colleague to check it for you, try to find someone who hasn’t been involved in crafting the message.

Keep in mind your subscribers will always be unfamiliar with your email content, so those small mistakes will be glaringly obvious to them. When email typos can negatively affect perception, a single missed keystroke can make all the difference. That’s why it’s so important to give your email copy the fine-toothed comb treatment before you hit “send." Your subscribers may never praise your sentence structure and punctuation perfection to their friends, but you can guarantee they might complain about that one time you misspelled “the.”

Then again, you can always take comfort in the University of Michigan study that found people who continually point out email typos are jerks.

This blog post was originally published in September 2014. It has since been updated to include the latest email marketing statistics.