Yikes! When Mistakes Happen in Your Email Marketing…

Yikes! When Mistakes Happen in Your Email Marketing… image iStock 000021713236XSmall 300x199Email Marketing MistakesMistakes happen. We’ve all been there, we’re only human right? When it comes to email marketing everyone, including the big guys, has a slip up every now and then. When this happens don’t panic!

Here are 4 steps to help your biz minimize the damage of an email mistake:

1. Assess – Before you do anything take a moment to see what the impact of the email mistake is. Ask yourself these questions before you act:

How many people received the email? What is the open/click-through rate? – It’s possible that you caught the error early and can send out a follow-up with minimal impact.

How big is the mistake? And how will it impact your business? – A minor typo, misspelling or coding error probably won’t impact you much, other than some embarrassment and a few people pointing out the error. In this case, sending out a follow-up could irritate your readers. On the other hand, a pricing error or the wrong date for an event could have a major impact on your biz so sending out a follow-up email is a must.

2. Response – Once you’ve assessed the situation it’s time to figure out how to respond.
Keep these tips in mind if you need to send a follow-up email:

  • Be Quick – A quick follow-up can catch people before they see the first email
  • Be Clear – Subject/pre-header should be clear about the purpose
  • Apologize – Own up to the mistake, say you’re sorry for any error
  • Voice – Use an appropriate voice in the apology, but humor can be good thing, if applicable
  • Use Social Media – Consider acknowledging the error on social media to be transparent and help alleviate customer support issues.

You can also try to correct the email mistake, depending on where it occured in your email. If you’ve made an error in the subject line, in a link or in the content, these tips can help you correct it, even if you’ve already sent the email.

  • Subject Line – In follow-ups use the words Correction, Oops, or We Apologize in the subject line so your recipients know why they received another email. Also think about using the pre-header for the correction information
  • Link – Links can often be corrected if you use an ESP (email service provider). If you have a URL spelled incorrectly in the copy, it can’t be changed, but the underlying link can. Then those who click will go to the right page. Since your reporting will tell you how many clicks you have, and which links were clicked, consider mailing only to those who clicked the bad link, rather than your whole list.
  • Content – Images can be refreshed in most ESPs. If you’ve made a typo, or the mistake is not business impacting, you may be able to let sleeping dogs lie. If you’ve mailed to the wrong list, or have the wrong offer in the email, send an apology email with the correct info like in the example below from stella&dot.

    Yikes! When Mistakes Happen in Your Email Marketing… image Screen Shot 2013 05 07 at 5.36.12 PMYikes! When Mistakes Happen in Your Email Marketing…

    Stella & Dot’s awesome email correction.

3. Measure the Impact – Once you’ve mapped out your plan and taken action, or not, check out how things went. The reporting from your emails will give you insight into how your readers responded to the mistake:

  • Track your opens and clicks – Do you have a normal open rate for your emails? Did it change due to the error? Oops emails can often receive very high open rates.
  • Check the unsubscribe rate – Hopefully everything you’ve done has kept it low, but keep an eye on it.
  • Compare original and follow-up emails and see how the stats compare.

4. The Future – How can you avoid this in the future? Proofread, proofread, proofread. If you’re the only one looking at your emails, enlist help from someone else. Always send a test email and most importantly, look at it. Read it to make sure the copy makes sense, that you see the right images, and click all your links.
Try some of these content tactics:

  • Use auto-correct and spell check to discover grammar issues, but nothing beats a good old fashion proofread
  • Print out your emails and check for errors
  • Read each word out loud
  • For more ideas, check out Grammar Girls’ 10 Tips to Banish Typos

Everyone makes mistakes; the important thing is to learn from them. And you never know, a typo could be a boon to your biz! As Joan Collins once said “Show me a person who has never made a mistake and I’ll show you someone who has never achieved much.”

Have you accidentally sent out an email with a mistake? What did you do to fix it?

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