At Virtual Causeway, we talk a lot about the importance of having both a human and digital touch for effective sales and marketing. And honestly, what’s more human than to err?

One strategy we’ve talked about using, and that I want to share with you today, is the intentional typo. Letting a small error slip into a sales/marketing email to make it feel more personal, more human. If done right, to the one receiving the email, it can make it feel more personable, more authentic.

Now, if you do a quick Google search on the topic (because of course, I did), you’ll find many passionate naysayers. And for good reason. This tactic has often been used cheaply, making a glaring error in an attempt to get some quick engagement. What I’m proposing is a little different in a couple of ways.

Don’t do it in mass emails

And this goes two ways.

When people receive mass emails, they know they’re mass emails. Sure, with email marketing services like Constant Contact you can personalize the email to a degree based on individual data, but emails to a list still usually read as emails to a list. Personally, if I get an email with typos that I can tell went out to a lot of people… The grammar-lover in me feels second-hand embarrassment for the sender. Oof. How many hundreds of people did that go out to?

If emails are coming from the company – and not an individual – then an error tends to reflect on the company as a whole, having a greater impact on your brand. My advice if you’re sending an email to a big list? Proofread it. Proofread it like heck, and have someone else proofread it some more. Get that baby nice and clean and error-free!

So stick to the one-to-one emails. The emails that you’re sending to a single person. A follow-up to a voicemail, for example, or an email that specifically references a past conversation.

Stick to mistakes that won’t make people mad

If you mess up then and than, I’ll get mad at you. If you can’t even manage to get it’s and its straight (guys, it’s super easy: it’s for ‘it is’ or ‘it has,’ and its for literally everything else, no exceptions), then how do I know I can trust you in a professional or learned context? That may sound a little extreme to some, but I promise I’m not the only one who will react this way!

Maybe it’s just a grammar vs. spelling thing. A small misspelling should do the trick. Just make sure it’s not a technical word to do with your product/service, that you had better know how to spell.

There’s an art to it

This is definitely an art, not a science. I can’t give you definitive, precise rules to determine exactly when to use this strategy. I’m just giving my grammar-obsessive (Seriously, you should have heard what they called me in high school. Proofreading classmates’ work for fun? That was my jam!) two cents, and offering a few helpful suggestions.

But if you’re reading this, I’m assuming you’re a marketing or sales professional. And in so assuming, I’m also assuming you have the savvy and know-how to feel it out and make the right call. I believe in you, and I’m sure you’ll be able to handle it!

Thomas Krol, Marketing Associate| |