Email Thursday – When Good Emails Go Bad



You may put a lot of faith in email marketing and the technology behind it, but even with the best of intentions, mistakes happen. Some of these mistakes are due to limitations in technology. More often than naught, these mistakes can be attributed to human oversight.

In today’s discussion, I would like to highlight three mistakes that you should look out for and approaches that you can take to spin them. In short, turn email failures into opportunities to exemplify your strong selling points.

When you send the right offer to the wrong person, you are sending out the wrong offer.

This is especially prevalent when your email marketing is heavily involved with segmentation. You may divide up your subscriber pool into multiple segments and create personalized email offers specifically for each respective segment.

You may come across a situation where you send out an offer originally intended for Segment A to Segment B and vice versa.

The first instinct of many marketers is to deny this and move on with life. Hope for the best – and the best being that the segments did not notice the mistake.

I recommend against denial or sweeping things under the rug.

A responsible marketer will send a follow-up email to the segments in error with a explanation of the error. Keep in mind, you don’t have to provide a detailed explanation nor be overly apologetic. A simple statement that acknowledges a mistake had been made should be sufficient.

Be sure to position your statement in a way that reinforces your control over the situation(without sounding conceited), emphasizes your respect for the customer relationship, and your ability to address these sorts of oversights in a timely and conclusive manner.

So we are on the same page, by typos, I am referring to spelling and grammatical errors as well as misinformation – wrong places, dates, and prices, etc.

Of course, the best way to prevent these sorts of mistakes is to proof-read, proof-read, and proof-read again. In that order.

Ask one of your colleagues to read the email after you have read it over several times. A fresh pair of eyes makes a world of difference.

But if a spelling error slips past the cracks, don’t sweat the small stuff. Even in the digital age, people understand that errors happen.

In case an email presents the wrong place or time for an event, send out a follow-up email that prevalently and boldly states the corrected place or time.

Perhaps the most worrisome error for many online marketers is the placement of the wrong price. Did you mean to give a 99 cent discount, and the email gave customers a 99 dollar discount instead?

A safeguard against this type of mistake is to place, in small font, a disclaimer at the bottom on your email. Perhaps something to the effect of “prices subject to change”.

But if the discrepancy is small, it may be best to honor the discount and chalk the loss up to the cost of learning.

Another common error the befalls many email marketers is HTML misformatting. This occurs when HTML-based emails do not display properly due to errors in code (such as unclosed HTML tags), or due to the fact that an email software platform cannot interpret the HTML correctly.

When this occurs, your links could lead the reader to unintended websites and landing pages.
In other cases, images may appear in the middle of text, text may experience variations in font sizes and styles.

In short, you intended to create an email Mona Lisa, but it ended up looking like a Picasso.

Unfortunately, there is not a cleancut way to retract this mistake. You can send a follow-up campaign that provides slightly different content, and fixes the formatting errors.

At the very least, you can also learn from it and fix it for future campaigns.

To avoid this error, you should stringently test your emails by sending them to the major email platforms – gmail, hotmail, yahoo, msn.

After you send them to the respective platforms, make sure that they function and display properly.