Monday, April 23, 2012

First Impressions

I received a marketing email today from one of the online jewelry suppliers and was disappointed to read, “Each Wednesday, you have the oppertunity to save big….”.   Now, I know we all make mistakes from time to time, but this is the second instance of this same mistake, from the same vendor. 
First Impressions
The purpose of this blog post is not to call out a particular vendor but to emphasize the importance of making a good first impression.  What do you think about a company when their marketing materials have misspelled words, grammar errors, or terrible formatting?  To me it is a poor reflection on the company and I wonder what my experience will be like as a customer.  As the old saying goes, “You won’t get a second chance to make a first impression.” 
There’s a graphic floating around the Internet that is a perfect example of how one small mistake can be a game changer.  Imagine your first impression if you received the first sentence (below) in an email!
It doesn’t really matter that you are a one-person operation; a good first impression is how you make and retain customers.  I don’t profess to be perfect, and I cringe when I find a mistake that has slipped into a customer facing email, blog, marketing piece, etc.  To minimize the risk of this happening, I follow a few simple steps:
  • First and foremost – I run spell check on EVERY document, no matter how small.  I have spell check enabled in every application that offers it.  Spell check won’t catch everything but it will flag “oppertunity” as a misspelled word.
  • I don’t send or post my message right away.  I walk away for awhile and then go back and re-read it.  Does it still make sense?  Is my grammar correct?  How is the spacing?  Are my fonts consistent?  Do all of my links work?
  • I read and re-read my message several times to make sure it has the right tone. It is very hard to convey emotion and tone of voice in electronic format.  If possible, I will ask someone else read my document and provide feedback.
  • I ALWAYS print a hard copy of my message and read it out loud.  It’s amazing how different it sounds when read aloud vs. silently in my head. 
What are your thoughts on this topic?  What other things contribute to first impressions?  Do you have any great suggestions to share?


  1. I think you are spot-on. Nothing looks more dumb than a word spelled wrong. Or something not formatted, right. Still, it takes skill and time to get it all down perfectly. In my case---and I hate to make excuses---but it's many times going too fast because my NUMBER ONE is customer service, formatting and spelling errors later. Fortunately enough people can look past the faux pas and things not optimized at B'sue Boutiques, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't be attended to. I agree first impressions are essential. Sometimes I don't want to even know how many I may have lost because of errors like this. On the other hand, I know I have kept MANY because of the way we treat them. That reputation gets around. For me, those things may not be the FIRST impression, but they are the BEST impression you'll ever make.

  2. I am so happy you are pointing this out. I have clawed my way back to good spelling, after having a stroke in 2004. I strongly feel, if a vendor doesn't care enough about the details (spelling, grammar, their photos, the quality of craftsmanship in their work, etc.), what does it say about how they will care for a potential customer? Right? This is a great blog post. Thanks!