Oops! I Did It Again – How to Recover from Mistakes in Your Email Campaign – Email Thursday

TOPICSEmail Marketing

Get the most of your email mistakes by learning how to recover with grace!

Mistakes Happen

Mistakes happen. And mistakes in email campaigns happen more often than you think.

As a consumer, I receive dozens of email campaigns each day. As an email marketer, I tend to notice mistakes from campaigns.

These mistakes can be minor, such as misspelling. I have also come across some major mistakes, such as sending an internal memo to the customer subscriber list.

The second example may seem like hyperbole. I wish it was. But sadly, I have received internal email communications on more than one occasion.

But I empathize.

As an email marketer, there is nothing as nerve-wracking as working hard on an email campaign and wasting that opportunity due to a typo, product inaccuracy, or incorrect detail on a pricing promotion.

Today, I will review three common pitfalls that happen to most email marketers at some point in their careers.

Finger Point is so 1990’s!

And rather than point and laugh, I will include some potential solutions to turn your mistakes into an opportunity to positively differentiate your brand, stem a mass exodus from your subscriber pool, and ensure future campaigns will maintain a high level of accuracy and integrity.

I will review three nightmare scenarios that occur more frequently than necessary:

  1. Typos
  2. Incorrect offer
  3. Torrential Downpour of Spam

Mistake #1: Typos

One common mistake is errors that pertain to words. Traditionally, this would just refer to typos, or spelling errors. In the world email marketing, I would extend this category of mistake to include misdirected links, HTML mistakes, and broken links (404 errors).

This type of mistake is common, as there are multiple people writing, editing, and coding email campaigns. In short, there are many cooks in the kitchen.

The dangers to typos are that they erode customer confidence, divert attention from the featured offer or products, and they may incur the wrath of spam traps of major email platforms.

What to do Typos Happen

When you first realize that a typo was broadcast to your readers, you may begin to panic.

Thoughts, such as, “What will my client think?”, or, “Will my readers complain?” may run through your mind.

What ever you do, don’t hit the PANIC button quite yet.

First, take a deep breath. Mistakes happen.

Secondly, assess the damage. Is it an innocent typo. Perhaps you forgot a “c” in “accessory.”

If it’s a minor typo, most people will not notice.

You may think that this approach is one rooted in ignorance. “Stick your head in the sand and hope for the best.” This is hardly the case.

But as business guru Richard Carlson reminds us, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”

By attempting to fix the problem (i.e. resend the same campaign with the typo fixed) may end up exacerbate the problem and annoy your readers.

If it’s a major typo (or series of typos), consult your team leader or your client to devise a coordinated solution.

Mistake 2: Wrong Offer, Buddy

The second mistake that I want to highlight is promoting the wrong offer. Promoting the wrong offer to your readers may anger them and lead them to think that you’re running a high-tech con game – the old bait-and-switch.

I can see this scenario playing out. An overworked email marketer at an agency is working on campaigns for the Gap and Vitamin Water at the same time. Bleary-eyed, the marketer enters in the coupon code for the Gap campaign in the Vitamin Water email, and vice versa.

Disaster strikes! The best case scenario is that the coupon code does not work. The worst case scenario is that the incorrect coupon code triggers a massive discount which negatively impacts the bottom line.

Either end of the spectrum does not seem to have a silver lining… Or does it?

What to do When You Make the Incorrect Offer

When you make the incorrect offer to your readers, your readers will notice.

Needless to say, this is a major mistake and not a mistake that can be swept under the rug.

After you inform the parties who need to know (ex. client, your manager, etc.), you should push for a subsequent email campaign to acknowledge the mistake and make amends.

You need to go into full-repair mode to not only redeem your credibility as a marketer, but to repair the damage caused to your brand and to the confidence of your consumers.

Don’t grovel. Even the most hard-hearted customer understands that mistakes happen. You certainly don’t need to divulge details on why this mistake happened.

If you do it right, you could even put a humorous spin on the “goof”. Humor is dangerous because you also don’t want your readers to feel disrespected. You want your readers to feel as if you take the email campaigns seriously.

A simple acknowledgement of the mistake is sufficient. And keep in mind, nothing says, “I’m sorry,” like a gift.

If possible, extend a coupon or discount offer. Use the transaction to go above-and-beyond expectations to rebuild customer trust and loyalty.

And as with all mistakes, take time to think about how the mistake happened and devise a plan to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.

Mistake #3: Torrential Downpour of SPAM

There is almost nothing as aggravating as signing up for an email newsletter, only to have those newsletters consistently fall into my Junk folder.

Personally, I think that campaigns that are consistently trapped by a spam filter is the hallmark of a sloppy email marketer. Simply put, there is no excuse for your email campaign to fall into spam traps each and every time you broadcast.

Not only is a spammy campaign a wasted effort, it’s a lost opportunity to communicate with your customers and generate incremental revenue. Over time, spammy campaigns will decimate your email program and drastically reduce your deliverability rating.

What to do When You’re Sending Out SPAM

If you’re sending out spam… STOP!

Take time to look into your situation and figure out why your emails are landing with a, “Thud!”

The issue could be related to technology:

Are you sending out campaigns on a domain that is deemed malicious by major email platforms?

Or perhaps you have an issue with your email creative:

Are you overly reliant on spammy words, such as “Coupon” or “Sale?”

I have also found that many email marketers don’t maintain their subscriber lists.

Many major email platforms assess the number of hard and soft bounces that a campaign occurs. If the number of hard and soft bounces is consistently high, the major email platform may suspect that your campaigns are spam.

Whatever the root cause is, be sure to fix it before it gets worse. And this is a problem that doesn’t miraculously go away!

Conclusion: Good Luck!

In conclusion, these are merely three mistakes out of thousands that befall email campaigns every day.

Remember is to learn from your mistakes so that they don’t happen again. Moreover, share your mistakes and successes with your colleagues so that they can learn as well.

As a wise man once said, “Falling is secondary to getting back up to walk again.”

Best of luck!