email marketing best practices

Always Proofread Before Sending

Recently, we wrote about how typos and spelling errors can kill your email marketing campaign faster than you can say “Oops, I forgot to use spell check!”

But we didn’t talk about the best ways to proofread. After all, spell check doesn’t catch every spelling error, wrong word choice, or grammatical misstep. Unfortunately, some things in email marketing still must be done manually, and proofreading is one of these details. Email marketing best practices demand that your content is not only relevant, engaging, and specific, but also that the vehicle that delivers your content, that is, your language, is impeccable.

Spelling and grammar errors and poor word choice destroys your credibility and professionalism. In addition, typos are widely associated with phishers and spammers. If your subscribers suspect an email may be fraudulent, they’re likely to report those emails as spam, which teaches the ISPs to start blocking those senders’ emails. This could lead to a damaged sender reputation and decreased email deliverability as a result.

So, how can you ensure that your emails are free of errors?

1) Start with your word processor’s spell checker. Just don’t end with it. Spell check programs catch common spelling errors but they don’t catch words used incorrectly (e.g., “your” for “you’re,” “its” for “it’s,” or common grammatical mistakes (e.g., one of the most common: “effect” for “affect”). Oh, and if you’re unsure of which word is correct in which context, or the vagaries of any specific grammar rule, make sure to consult a grammatical reference guide.

2) Use another pair of eyes: There’s a reason there are two different roles in the publishing world: writer and editor. As a writer, I can say that though I’m fairly confident in my spelling, knowledge of grammar rules, vocabulary usage, and well, overall writing ability, I always have an editor review what I’ve written to catch and fix small things like strange punctuation usage, typos I’ve missed, and “flow.” As an email marketer, sometimes you may be spending too much time in your garden of content to see the occasional weed that crops up.

3) Print it out: There is something about how our language processing centers work in our brain that make typos jump out much more visibly in hard copy than on screen. And then you can whip out a red pen and play English teacher to your copy.

Common errors: The little words and contractions often get missed as our eyes sweep over them. They are so common that we barely notice them. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pay attention to them. Watch out for the following common word pairs that are often mistaken for each other:  “for” and “from”; “its” “it’s” “it” and “is,” and “if”; “you” “your” and “you’re”; and the word choice error that gives every grammar fiend hives: “their” and “there.” Also watch those homonyms (words that sound the same but are spelled differently and mean different things!)

For a humorous homonym example (until you see your ScoreHigh sales plummet):
This week: 50% off sale on ScoreHigh sports gear to help make your team sore!

(You wanted to say “ScoreHigh sports gear will help your team SOAR,” not make them SORE… two very different things)!

Don’t have a “D’Oh!” moment when it’s too late: Re-read, proofread and then do it again before you send!

Published On: September 21st, 2011Categories: Email marketing best practices

About the Author: Sharon

Sharon Ernst from is on a mission to improve the business and marketing writing skills of today’s workforce with her blog, newsletter and online classes. Her newest class on intermediate email copywriting covers 19 tips and techniques non-copywriters can put to use right away for better results. The class has real-life examples and before/after comparisons to make the lessons stick. Find her class at When she’s not busy helping employees, managers and marketers master their writing skills, she and her husband are busy raising pigs, cows, chickens and vegetables on their 20-acre farm.

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