When Good Emails Go Bad

February 18, 2014 at 6:03 PM

We’ve all seen them – the hastily corrected emails that come out moments after a company has sent out their latest piece of e-marketing glory.

Whether it was a wrong date, a wrong price or a link that just wouldn’t open, you can bet the mistake has a marketing team somewhere in a flurry of corrective activity.

For businesses engaged in regular email marketing campaigns, here are a few tips to help ensure you’re not on the business end of an email drama:

Test, test, test!  Set up a test group for your marketing emails, ideally made up of half a dozen email addresses – at least half of which are outside of your organisation. For example, in addition to sending test emails to a couple of colleagues, also send to your personal (home) email address, and a couple of trusted business partners – for example your graphic designer, bookkeeper or marketing email provider. If you are using Apple Macs in your office, make sure at least a couple of your testers are using PC (and vice versa). 

Read from the bottom up. When you open your test emails, proof read them from the bottom up. In fact, the best way to proof is to read the email backwards – that way your eyes are less likely to scan the text and skip over errors. When you are proof reading, take the approach that you are looking for the mistake, not checking everything is correct. It sounds silly, but this simple change in mindset will make you much more likely to pick up errors.

Check your links – on every test! You may end up sending two or three (or more!) test emails. Make sure you check the links every time – and double check them before you hit send to your database.

Check your numbers. Whether it’s a price, a phone number or a date – numbers have a nasty habit of getting marketers in trouble. So make sure you check and double check these before you hit send.

If things do go bad, the best approach is to acknowledge and correct your mistake as quickly as possible. 

Aim to get a corrected email out within 30 minutes of the first one, but don’t rush it through without testing it properly! It’s bad enough sending out one flawed email, but a flawed correction... *Shudder*

Ensure you clearly identify the update as a correction – change the email title so your customers know straight away why they’ve received a second communication.

Strike the right tone with your apology – often a light-hearted acknowledgement that email gremlins have been at work can do the trick, though with more serious subject matter a less casual tone will be in order.

Once you’ve got your correction out and finished the campaign, take some time to debrief and figure out why the mistake happened – that way you can avoid making it again.


Tags: email oops
Category: Digital Marketing


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