Ben Settle

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Your Daily Email Addiction

File under: Email Marketing

Remember yesterday’s “typos” email?

The one about how typos can help your sales?

If you saw some of the inane, emotionally-charged responses I got from the spelling nazis to that email, you’d think I blasphemed a major religion!

(Hey, maybe I did…)

It was quite amusing, too.

So let’s see if I can’t piss ’em off again today…

It’s been my observation that people who pound their chests hardest over typos or refuse to buy anything from an ad or email with bad grammar are almost always anal retentive writers, editors or loser intellectuals who can’t sell their way out of a paper bag, so they make up for it by becoming overly obnoxious spelling nazis.

And it’s funny, too.

Because most customers really don’t care.

They don’t even think about it.

Fact is, the majority of the population reads at a 5th grade level and wouldn’t know the difference between “their” and “there” or “who” or “whom” or even “goo-roo” and “guru” anyway.

It’s just not an issue for them.

It’s only an issue to the spelling nazis.


Many years ago I remember world class copywriter John Carlton (who’s also one of the best “writers” I’ve ever seen — he can practically turn water into wine with his keyboard) talking about this.

This may not be exactly how he put it.

So don’t quote me on this.

(It was in a forum waaay back in like 2004.)

But he basically said in all his years of writing ads (for probably hundreds — if not thousands — of different markets and products) he’s never lost a known sale due to bad grammar or typos.

Instead, it was just the opposite.

He’s had ads missing entire PAGES mail without losing response.

How is that possible?

What’s going on?

Because if you know your market and how to write a decent ad, you have the reader in an almost trance-like state, where they don’t even notice they’re “reading” at all. They’re blowing through your ad/sales letter/email (whatever it is) and unconsciously filling in missing words, correcting spelling, typos, etc.

They’re not sitting there reading it word-for-word.

They’re skimming and skipping, etc.

In other words, they ain’t spelling nazis.

They’re regular people (who have lives).

And those who DO complain about a typo?

They’re NOT your customers.

First, those types rarely ever buy.

And secondly, I have noticed even if they do buy, they’re almost always the kind of nightmare customers who suck up your time and resources, and complain about dumb things (like the color of the packaging, a typo in the middle of the book, etc — instead of USING the product to solve whatever problem they bought it for in the first place).

Spelling nazis are a very needy bunch, after all.

Typically not very pleasant.

And prone to emotional meltdowns about little things.

(Like when they see a typo…)

That’s why their shtick is always:

“Well, if you don’t take the time to spellcheck or proofread, what else didn’t you take the time to do…”

That’s the main argument in their playbook.

To which I retort:

“If you’re whining about a typo in an informal email, then what else are you going to whine about when you buy the product… The color of the packaging? The thickness of the tape to seal the box? The book binding? The font? The copyright date?”

OK, one more thing.

The spelling nazis will NEVER admit this.

Probably, they don’t even realize it.

But the vast majority of people on planet Earth are FAR more comfortable buying from those who are “un-okay.” In other words: Real human beings, with flaws and who make the occasional mistake (and — GASP! — typo). At the same time, these same earthlings are very suspicious of (and uncomfortable buying from) people who are too perfect — especially anal retentive grammar storm troopers who can’t sell to save their lives, but (by cracky!) they sure cleaned up them typos…

This is one reason why ugly often out-sells pretty.

Why sloppy often out-sells clean.

And why a few accidental (or deliberate) typos in ads have been shown to out-sell perfectly “written” ads that follow all the rules of grammar, syntax and spelling to the letter.

Am I saying to riddle your emails with typos?


That’d be stoopid.

Just don’t obsess over them.

And if a spelling nazi haunts you about it?

Tell ’em to bugger off.

After all…

Email is about being a best selling writer.

Not a best spelling writer.

For more email training, go to:

Ben Settle

  • Book & Newsletter Tabloid Publisher
  • Email Supremacist
  • Anti-Professional
  • Pulp Novelist
  • Alt-Copywriter

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