In life, people mess up. However, it’s the saying “I’m sorry” part and making it right that’s important, right? If you can’t say it, won’t say it, or don’t say it, the lack of remorse says a lot about you, as well as your organization. Check your pride and your ego; do the right thing. You may lose a sale, but you’ll likely keep the customer.
The same goes for email marketing. If you’ve sent out a poorly timed email, a blast with an error in the subject line, or an incorrect offer, an apology email is a must.
Mistakes can’t be always avoided. Especially if you send a lot of emails, errors are bound to happen sometimes. In the event that your marketing department pushed the send button on an erroneous email, timeliness is essential to saving face and maintaining customer loyalty.
Knowing how to write a great mea culpa email is a great skill to have, as you’ll never know when you’ll need to send one out (and you’ll need to send it fast). Mea culpa is a Latin phrase that roughly translates to “through my fault.” In English, it’s often used as an admission of one’s guilt or error and as a way of issuing an apology.
Very briefly, here are a few pointers for composing a good mea culpa email:
Address Your Mistake Through the Subject Line
Make it clear and concise. A variation of “Oops. We messed up,” works well with more minor mistakes, while something a little more formal is better for a major email error that may have been tasteless or timed wrong.
Explain Your Side and Try To Make Amends
The content should be concise, but it should address several things: what happened, why it happened, whom and what are affected, and how sorry you are. If it was a tasteless or badly timed email, it may come off as crass to include a special offer in your email – make sure to put yourself in the customer’s shoes.
However, if you sent something out that included a wrong sale date or erroneous pricing, include an offer in your apology message. Done right, this will most likely increase conversions as well as customer appreciation.
Make Sure You Get the Apology Across
The email should apologize more than once for the incident, while the tone of the copy will depend on your email campaigns as well as the nature of the mistake. It’s okay to be a little bit repetitive here to get your point across.
Be as Genuine as Possible
Regardless of the tone of your email campaigns, find a way to get your message across in the most genuine way that you can. You can even use humor if your campaigns are not too formal or serious. Being authentic in your language will help your users see your brand or company in a better light, as an organization composed of people just like them.
Have a High-Level Executive Sign the Email
The signature of the email is extremely important too. An apology from the CEO or a higher-up holds a lot of water because responsibility ultimately falls on their shoulders.
Sure, Dave the marketing assistant, may have made the mistake. But in the eyes of the consumer, the apology would sound much more sincere coming from someone in a higher position.
These are just a few tips for creating an apology email. Circumstances will bring a lot more ideas to light because each situation needs to be handled differently. And as with all mistakes, they’re learning experiences in themselves and will make you appear human to your audience.
Before you send your next email out, make sure you plan for the future better. Check, double-check, have others look it over, and always send yourself a preview email first.
After all, it’s better to be safe rather than sorry.
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