Everyone makes mistakes, but it's how you handle them that will leave a lasting impression on your audience (either positive or negative!). Email as a medium is prized for it's quick nature--though when you rush through preparation, the likelihood of errors increases.
With email there are basically three routes you can take when you've made an 'uh-oh'. The correct method usually depends on the severity of your error.
- Leave it be - Perhaps you've spelled something incorrectly, used the wrong title, typo in the subject line, made in error in the personalized greeting... These are usually embarrassing blunders, but honestly not worth taking any action on. In this case, sending an apology/correction email is likely to either draw attention to the error to those who may have not noticed or even annoy subscribers who may have not noticed/not cared about the error. Move on and learn your lesson for the next one!
- Make good with some
- In the case of an incorrect link, a strategic approach to fixing the
mistake is to contact only those who attempted to click on the link.
Again, for those who did not click on that particular link, you are
just drawing attention to the fact you made an error. Especially if
there are many links in the email, it's likely not crucial that
everyone know you made a mistake. Worried future clickers might miss
the message? Set up a mailing to trigger the message each time someone
tries to click… Your ESP probably has this capability-ask if you're not
sure. Another side of this is to subtly apologize or correct your error in a future mailing.
- Mass apology - Although I believe sending more email should be avoided, there are circumstances--such as the inspirational email for this post--where it's absolutely necessary to send a correction email. In this particular case, a national retailer was holding a contest; it selected finalists for each region and sent those people an email to invite them to the private party for finalists. I think you can see where I'm going with this… EVERYONE received the finalist email for one region. I'm sure chaos ensued for this poor retailer--who issued an explanation and apology email within half an hour of the first. Certainly the right course of action, except, the email simply placed blame on the email service provider for the error. While I don't doubt the ESP was responsible, given the nature of the error it would have been appropriate for the retailer to take responsibility and provide a peace offering (we're so embarrassed-we're giving you a 10% off coupon) or some other sort of small gesture. Truth be told-this probably would have resulted in more sales than the contest anyway, and it would pay for itself pretty quickly!
If you make a mistake, chances are your subscribers will only remember how you handled it. If you take no action when necessary, then you don't care. If you apologize for something trivial, you're annoying. It's a fine line, so planning your strategy before it happens will ensure you make the right choice in the heat of the moment. Hopefully it's one strategy you will never have to use!