Online Grammar Gaffes Can Cost You B2B Sales

We have all seen it. Surfing online, whether it’s for a business solution or the perfect bed and breakfast – poor spelling, incorrect use of punctuation and overall bad grammar is out there.

When you are writing copy for your website or company blog, you need to take care that you are leaving the right impression on potential buyers. Your online presence can make or break a sale. I often research my purchases and make final decisions, at least in part, based on a company’s website. And I know I’m not alone.

Yes, I’m a writer, so I can be a bit hard-headed about the whole grammar thing. But it’s a competitive world. In today’s economy, can you afford to lose a client over something that could have been easily avoided?

Here are three online marketing grammar gaffes to avoid:

1. Incorrect use of quotations:

Do not use quotation marks to emphasize a word. Instead, make it bold or italic. Otherwise, you are indicating irony. I recall walking past a barber shop that advertised:


For a chuckle, have a look at The “Blog” of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks.

2. Punctuation overuse and abuse:

Commas and exclamation marks are particularly abused. Though I could dedicate an entire series of blogs to this matter, here are a couple of pointers:

If you are writing a list, you don’t need a comma before the final ‘and’ – e.g. “The quick brown fox jumped over the fence, ditch and shrub.”

The exception to this rule is in the case that there is an ‘and’ in the second-last item of your list – e.g. “The hockey game left fans in laughter, shock and awe, and tears.” OWL is a good resource if you are experiencing comma confusion.

As for exclamation marks, I think that one is pretty self-explanatory!!! Don’t you?! If the writing is compelling, you won’t need all those exclamation marks to emphasize your point!

3. Homonym confusion:

Their, they’re, there; your, you’re; and it’s, its are the biggest offenders in the words that sound alike but indeed are very different. Sadly, incorrect usage of these words is popping up everywhere, including online marketing. When in doubt, consult your (not you’re) dictionary.

– Software Delivered as Promised. No Surprises.

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Brandee Barker

Insight written by Brandee Barker

Communications Director at Rand Group

Marketing and communications professional with a background in working with enterprise level software publishers and their resellers. Extensive experience conceptualizing, developing and launching multi-touch marketing campaigns which include direct mail, email marketing, nurture marketing, and pay-per-click advertising. Marketing planning development, asset creation, product branding and brand platform creation, as well as press releases and press management and planning.

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