Email mishaps happen. I remember sending out my first email newsletter. My palms were sweating and I was quite nervous.I had checked, rechecked, and had three sets of eyes do more checks to ensure everything was up to par. I had even sent out an internal test to my co-workers who had deemed it good enough to send to our customers.
But yet, I was still nervous that I would somehow include someone who hadn’t consented to the newsletter and be whisked off to jail or forced to pay an enormous fine or worse, that I had made some awful spelling error.
I quickly hit the back button and decided to do one last check over the HTML, the text, the images and the contacts. Everything looked good. I bit my tongue and hit “send to contacts” and closed my eyes as if bracing myself for an explosion.
And then…nothing happened. The email was sent off to a couple hundred customers and I had just sent out my first perfect email newsletter with zero mistakes – email mishaps avoided!
As I was about to exit out of the application I noticed something out of the corner of my eye – the subject line remained “Newsletter Test”. I quietly panicked, realizing that I had messed up my first email newsletter. I had forgotten to change the subject from my internal test.
This mistake was small given the circumstances, and lucky for me we were able to let it go and move on after we had a little laugh.
So what are some of the other email mishaps you can encounter and more importantly, what should you do?
Email Went Out At The Wrong Time
Take a look at how far out you are from the date the message should have been sent. Sending out your Halloween email a week early is ok because you are close enough to the time that your customers will understand. Sending your Happy Halloween email out two weeks after Halloween makes no sense. Similarly, sending our a Christmas greeting in July also makes no sense and requires a little bit of a follow up explanation.
Sending Duplicate Emails
Did you accidently send that email twice? In this instance it’s best just to leave it. Your customers don’t need a bunch of duplicates and then your apology on top of that. They’ll understand the duplicate but might get irritated if you begin to send even more emails to explain.
This entirely depends on the type of formatting error. If you’ve forgot to include a space between a paragraph and your formatting error is relatively minor, you can avoid sending a duplicate. However, if your formatting error is more severe, for example it doesn’t allow mobile users to open the email, you will need to correct it and resend.
Mail Merge Errors
Although not a huge error, I once got an email from a company saying “Hey Kathy!”. The next email I got was one apologizing for getting my name wrong. Maybe it’s because I’m horrible with names as well but the error gave me a laugh and warmed me up to the company. After all, what is more human than making a harmless mistake?
Links in Email Are Erroneous
If the link goes to a dead page try using a 301 redirect before you send out another email. But if the link is apart of a call to action (CTA) and you can’t use a simple 301 redirect, you will want to resend an email with the correct link.
A simple typo can usually go unexplained, however, if the type was an offensive word then you’ll need to send a follow up email apologizing. See the example below from Webit Congress:
Subjects to Use For Apologies
Subjects for your error depend on the error itself. If it was a small error that didn’t offen anyone you can use a subject such as: “Oops! We made a mistake” “Correction!” and “Sorry”. These let the customers know right away that the email before had some kind of error. If your error was offensive you’ll want to avoid using exclamation points and will want to be as sincere as possible.
If you need to implement full damage control, don’t include graphics and colorful fonts in your apology email. A plain text email to express your sincerest apologies is what you need. BackCountry.com sent out their monthly newsletter with the subject: “Mother Nature hates you. Deal with it”. Their email was meant to coincide with April showers but actually coincided with deadly tornado outbreak in the U.S. In this case, a sincere apology was needed.
Have you ever sent out a mistake in the email? How did you solve your email mishaps? Let me know in the comments below!
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