We’re Only Human!

Messed up an email campaign? Here’s how to deal with it like a grown up…

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, getting an email send ready should involve an awful lot more than getting a colleague to glance over your work for errors.

As we wrote in this post earlier in the year, ‘in order to make sure that your marketing material reaches your prospects mistake free, you should be following a strict well thought out proofreading process’.

However, we know that sometimes regardless of the numerous rigorous checks and proofs you put your email copy through; mistakes do sometimes slip through the net, we’re only human after all!

As Cara Olsen in a post on Marketing Land recently wrote, ‘on occasion, an email makes it to the inbox that isn’t 100% right’.

Spotting The Slip Up:

There will be those times when you notice the mistake yourself (usually just a few moments after hitting send), it’s just sod’s law. But if you fail to notice your mistake post send, how can you ensure that it comes to your attention so that you can rectify the situation?

  • If the mistake was particularly noticeable, it’s likely that a few of your subscribers will point out your blunder by replying to the send. Some will do it because they’re being helpful, some because they revel in other peoples mistakes; it takes all sorts!
  • If your subscribers haven’t thought to make you aware then if your list is home to a few twitter happy subscribers, and they think that your mistake is worthy of their next 140 characters, then you may find that they’ll be talking about it via the social network.
  • Make sure that your team members are receiving (and reading) all of your company’s email sends. That way they can point out any slip ups internally so that you can set about putting your apology and/or recovery plan into action as early as possible.
  • Keep an eye on your unsubscribes and/or complaints log, if it’s particularly high on one particular send, then that could be signalling that there is a mistake or misdemeanor lurking in there somewhere.

Time For The ‘Oops Email’?

Hold your horses, before you decide that the best way to rectify your blunder by sending your entire database an ‘oops’ email, consider the following:

  • You’ve noticed the mistake, your manager has noticed it too, but is it really that visible to your recipients? Skim-reading is a way of life in this fast-paced world that we live in and even though you’ve spent hours crafting beautifully written sentences and phrases, it won’t ever get read by many in its entirety.
  • Think about how critical the error is to the performance of the email overall – if you’ve got a  discount code wrong or have sent recipients to an irrelevant landing page then an ‘oops’ send might salvage the campaign, but if it’s a misplaced comma we’re talking about then I wouldn’t sweat it too much.
  • If you think that it won’t possibly go unnoticed, consider how your slip up will make your recipients feel? Will they think you’re a bit careless? A little dopey? Will it make them giggle? Might you have caused offence? The answer to these questions will help you to decide whether to act or not to act. Don’t forget that within dotMailer, links and even some images can be updated after send, AND you there might just be something you can do on the landing pages to rectify things.
  • I’d only send an ‘Oops’ email to recipients who have opened the campaign (or in the case of a broken / incorrect link, those who have clicked). Then set up a quick behavioral trigger to send the ‘oops’ to anyone who clicks or opens after your first ‘oops’ batch.
  • Call your account manager as a sound board. We see these kinds of errors from time to time so you’re guaranteed a calm ear. They’ll be able to explain your options, too. There will be instances that simply doing nothing is the best option – but sometimes it’s hard to consider this when you’re panicking!

 Turning A Mistake Into An Opportunity:

 If you do opt for the ‘oops’ option, while primarily it announces to recipients that you’ve stuffed up, you’re sorry, and you want to make it up to them, it might also have other concealed opportunities too.

Some experts have talked about the increased lead gen potential of ‘oops’ emails because of the better open rates they enjoy (often down to recipient curiosity as to what the mistake was). Once you’ve got more people opening, you might want to consider offering a discount by means of an apology, you may very well find that it returns better results than the ‘would be’ copy-perfect send would have done anyway.


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