What Match.com Taught Me About First Email Impressions

Did I just send an email with a major typo?

Did I just send an email with a major typo?

I had one rule when I was on Match.com.

If I saw misspellings, typos or the wrong form of a word (like “they’re” when he meant to type “there,”) that person was no longer a candidate.

Harsh? Yes. But here’s my theory. First impressions count. If a person can’t spend two minutes proofing their email, they weren’t overly invested in meeting me in the first place.

I thought of my “Match rule” after receiving an email from a possible vendor. I was searching for solutions and had asked some pretty specific questions.

When I finally received an email, I noticed a number of typos:

– The customer service representative had misspelled the company name. YES. THE COMPANY NAME!

– He would Randomly capitalize words That didn’t need Capitalization.

– On the flip side, some words that should have been capitalized were not.

My response was an immediate “I’m not impressed.” If a company couldn’t be bothered to spell their company name correctly, how could I trust them as a vendor?

I immediately went from being hot to trot about this company to throwing them in the “undatable” pile.

Companies need to realize that good copywriting means more than having great SEO copy. It also means that all auto responder copy is top notch. All newsletters are proofed. And yes, all customer service emails are free from major typos, they’re easy-to-read and they address the recipients’ needs.

Otherwise, your company may also be considered “undatable” – and you’ll lose the sale.

Don’t let this happen to you! Here are some copywriting tips to consider:

– Comb through all of your auto responder content. Do you see any typos or grammatical errors? Can you see ways to make a good email even better? This is a task you can do in house, or you can hire a copywriter to help. An outside person can often see opportunities and mistakes you may not notice anymore. Like the Febreeze commercial that talks about being “nose-blind,” it’s easy to be “content-blind” when it comes to your own copy.

– Review your sales teams’ email correspondence. There are some folks out there who are great talkers, but their emails are full of mistakes. It could be because they’re writing fast and they need to take some additional email time. Or, it could be that they just aren’t good writers. In that case, you may want to consider other avenues (pre-written templates, hiring an email editor, pairing them with another sales person) to make sure the job is done right.

– Are you a business owner? If you know that email writing isn’t your strong suit, don’t take chances. Hire an assistant who can write your emails for you (as well as take on other duties.) It may seem like a luxury. It’s not. You’ll free up time and know that everything is written correctly.

What about you? What do you think when you see an email typo from a vendor? Are you forgiving? Or does it depend on the situation?

Photo thanks to © Spaxia | Dreamstime.com – Oh Boss That Are You Doing? Photo

18 replies
  1. Joan says:

    most typos, misspellings and wrong usages, I write them off… Unless they’re really funny… I have a friend who receives excerpts of the good ones.

  2. Steve Lee says:

    Right on Heather, I am with you 100%. All those typos seem even more annoying when they are done by someone who definitely should have known better.
    Browse through the professional websites of some big name copywriters and it soon becomes obvious that the proofreading part got skipped.

  3. Jen says:

    This is a great article; I couldn’t agree more.
    And, no, I don’t agree with the BBC News article Geraldine mentions either.
    Thanks Heather.

  4. Marty Rogers says:

    Well said, Heather, people should put in the effort to ensure that every first impression is a good, memorable and favourable one. That’s how you begin ‘winning’, as Charlie Sheen would put it.

    Keep up the super duper work.


  5. Elizabeth says:

    I agree about the first email impressions being important. I have definitely unsubscribed to new-to-me email newsletters because of typos. (As a writer/editor, I know I should probably view them as potential clients…)

    Heather, I think your examples are perfect. (The random capitalization is especially impossible!)

  6. Dan says:

    Absolutely right.

    In fact, I met my wife through eharmony, and I developed the exact same criteria. Bad spelling and grammar, and sparse writing — I closed the match. It took me a few months to figure this out, but it proved an accurate predictor of the quality and interest of the person.

    And I am on some email list of organizations that regularly have bad or unprofessional grammar. It just doesn’t speak well of an organization when this happens regularly.

  7. Cris says:

    And another thing: like on dating sites, it’s good if the other person has mentioned something he/she remembered about your profile. So if I receive an email at the right time (like after work), that person either 1) has studied my schedule and knows when I’m not busy; OR 2) is probably a stalker.


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