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Oops! How to Deal with Email Mistakes

Everyone makes mistakes – it's a fact of life. With email marketing, those mistakes might seem harder to rectify or hide because the threshold for errors is fairly low. But fear not. It's not the end of the world, and you can recover from the mistake. Here's what to do in the event of an email marketing gaffe:

Step 1: Assess the situation quickly

Common email marketing mistakes include broken links, incorrect subject lines, technical difficulties (for example, an email had a link to your website but the website was experiencing issues with the host), sending the incorrect version of an email or even sending to the wrong list.

Once you identify your mistake, try to ward off knee-jerk reactions to immediately send a follow-up email to correct the previous email. When mistakes happen, you want to respond quickly, but it's also important to be thoughtful about how you're going to fix the issue. Sure, in the short term, it might seem better to immediately correct the mistake, but in the long run, it's better to assess the problem and determine if and how the issue is detrimental for your company. Ask yourself these questions:

1. Could the mistake cause a significant loss in revenue?

2. Is your brand's reputation damaged?

3. Are your subscribers offended or confused by the error?

If you said "Yes" to any of these questions, be ready to come up with a response. What if you said "No" to these questions? Keep reading.

Step 2. Respond

Once you have determined the cause of the issue, it's time to come up with a plan on how to address your recipients. Some tips to keep in mind when sending a follow-up email:

1. Be swift. A quick (but well thought out) follow up can catch your readers before they even get to the first email. The longer you wait, the more damage can be done.

2. Be clear. Your readers will likely want to know why they're receiving another email so soon. Make your intentions clear in your subject line and pre-header so your email's purpose is as transparent as possible. Subject lines with "Oops," "Correction" and "We Apologize" are attention grabbers.

3. Own up to your mistake. A quick apology goes a long way. It doesn't need to be long; in fact, the longer your apology is, the more it may highlight the fact that a mistake was made in the first place.

4. Stay true to your image. Your apology should maintain your company's brand. Humor is usually appreciated, but if it doesn't fit in with your image, then it shouldn't be forced.

5. Offer an incentive. If your email is promoting a product or service, consider providing a limited time offer as part of your apology. This can even drive up your open rates and web traffic.

Note: Depending on the nature of the mistake, you might choose to skip this step entirely. Sometimes, pointing out that you made a mistake might be a mistake in itself, since you're highlighting something that might have otherwise gone unnoticed. And sending another email so quickly after your first one could generate unsubscribes or customer complaints. However, you should exercise caution when not responding, and it should only be reserved for the most minor mistakes (a missing punctuation mark, a misspelled word or another small typo, for example).

Step 3. Measure the impact

ClickDimensions offers tools that allow you to follow and assess your email's success through email send and email event records. And you can use this opportunity to measure the impact of an email marketing mistake. Is the click rate greater or less than your average email send? Are there more unsubscribes? What about social shares and linking? Metrics of subsequent email sends should be looked at as well so you can see if those statistics were affected by a previous email. Not only does analyzing your email allow you to understand the impact of your actions, it may also be an indicator of whether your readers are truly paying attention to your emails.

Step 4. Quality control

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"Oops! I did it again!" should not be something that you're saying (or singing) often in regards to email marketing mistakes. To help you avoid future mistakes, make a checklist of everything that should be scrutinized before each deployment such as checking personalization fields, reviewing subject lines, testing links and, of course, proofreading everything.

Happy Marketing!

Written by Louella Lugo, Marketing Success Manager Team Lead

About the Author:

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Louella Lugo is a Lead Marketing Success Manager at ClickDimensions.

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