Oops! When & How You Should Send Correction Emails

Email marketing mistakes

It happens to the best of us.

After going through the steps of setting up an email marketing campaign, collecting engaging content, adding a clever photo, embedding links, viewing previews, etc., your campaign is ready to launch.

You schedule the marketing email out – It’s going to hundreds if not thousands of people.

Then, it happens. I’m not talking about the contacts and leads coming in like wildfire – no, this is the fateful moment that every email marketer dreads.

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The moment when someone, maybe yourself, finds an error in the email content. It could be as simple as misspelling Wednsday (see what I did there), or as serious as writing the wrong date of the event you’re marketing.

Either way, mistakes are never easy to swallow. Especially when the mistake was sent to 1,000 of your closest friends.

Once the email is sent, it’s sent.

The question is: what are you going to do about it now?

Correction Emails. To Send or Not to Send?

In order to determine what to do after sending a marketing email with grammatically or just plain incorrect information, there are a few steps to walk through. Assess, ask, and act (AAA).

  1. Assess – The first step is a fairly simple one, you need to assess the situation and make a judgment on whether or not the email success is going to be impacted by contacts receiving a revision.

Ask questions like:

  • Will this negatively affect the way the message is received?
  • How big is the email list?
  • Has anyone reached out pointing out the error?
  • What is the average open and click-through rate for that list?

These questions will help break down the decision into smaller, more manageable chunks.

Here’s an example: if the subject line has a misspelling or if the CTA link is broken, those are a bit more urgent than one small misspelling in the body text of the email. In some ways, typos in the body copy can be seen as relevant showing that the email was curated by an individual and not an automatic system.

Anyway, the point is, If the first impression of your email and the company you’re representing comes with a misspelling, that does not bode well on you or your company. Which means, you probably want to act quickly to clean up the mistake.

  1. Ask – It is a known fact that everyone makes mistakes, sorry for the bland announcement, but sadly it is true. If you’re reading this article, you have most likely made a mistake (perhaps in email marketing?). This should hopefully encourage you to go to someone who has more years in the industry, or who may have encountered the same problem once before and ask their opinion.

Asking for help is never a bad idea, humility outranks lying or telling a half-truth (and inherently getting found out later) every single time.

The more heads that can come together on an issue like this, the more likely you are to think of the possible outcomes and scenarios stemming from the email blunder. You can then effectively come up with a solution and move forward.

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  1. Act – Once you have had time to contemplate the ramifications of sending or not sending a correction email and have talked it through with coworkers or mentors, you will have a clearer path forward.

Not to say that it won’t happen again, or that you still are not completely confident in your decision to send or not to send – but it should give a bit more clarity on what would to do in that situation.

Now, because this article is meant to be a guide and not the email marketing law – there are a few other things I want to throw out there as you think through your email error.

Correction Email Faux Pas

I’m just going to jump right in – sorry for those who haven’t put their life vests on.

Here’s what NOT to do:

Correct a simple spelling or spacing mistake in the body copy.

A small spelling mistake (as long as it’s not an important person or location, etc.) is too insignificant to get worked up about and risk some unsubscribes.

Although you should be sure to fully and more intricately proofread your email next time, a small spelling error does not require a full correction email.

Send the exact same email (mistake fixed) without any explanation or “oops”.

Contacts will just feel annoyed and bothered if you send essentially the same email twice (especially if they didn’t notice the mistake in the first place) without any commentary.

Blameshift.

This is a big one – blaming someone else does not make you look better, even if you know it was someone else who gave you the information. Ultimately, you are the one who wrote the information out, tested, reviewed, and received approval on. Take the blame and if the mistake is big enough (wrong name, date, link, subject line, etc.), send a correction with your apologies.

Is There a Right Way?

Well, we know for sure that there is a wrong way, or should I say there are many wrong ways to send correction emails. But, we have not tackled the most crucial question yet: is there a right way?

I think there is; let’s get at it.

Be Real.

Again, no blame-shifting – pinning the mistake on your intern is not the way to go (as much as you want to).

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Side note: I think we should be kinder to interns, who does well and is confident in a position where everyone constantly makes jokes about them?! Who’s with me?

But on a real and serious note, I think being authentic and explaining where the error was and your sincerest apologies for that mistake is the way to go. Don’t sugar coat it, simply explain in real terms what happened and move forward.

Everyone has made a mistake in their field of work, I guarantee it. Although they may not be able to understand your mistake specifically, they know what it’s like to mess up and should give you a break for it. 

Keep It Light.

Don’t take the mistake too seriously, keep your head up and send that correction with a little humor to lighten the mood.

This method does depend a bit on the severity of your mistake and industry… However, for the most part, you should be able to make a fun subject line, correct the error, and send out the revision.

Here are some fun and lighthearted subject lines that you could modify for your correction email:

Oops! [Original Subject Line]

My Mistake! [Original Subject Line]

My Bad 🤦‍♀️ [Original Subject Line] 

Be Prompt.

Once you have assessed and asked, don’t be slow on the acting part. As long as you have thought it through enough – send that revision (or don’t) as close to the original send as possible.

Keep it Simple.

No need to write out sentences on what you did and all that you have learned from your mistake (your boss might want this, but I doubt the 1,000+ contacts in the list care about your life lessons learned).

Sorry, just write the facts.

The Bottom Line

Check, recheck, and triple-check your subject line, content, list, links, and sender information, test the email multiple times to ensure everything is working properly.

Ultimately, try not to make mistakes when performing email marketing.

But if you do, at least you’ll know how to handle them.

Looking for email marketing tactics and techniques that receive real results? Reach out today for a free marketing consultation.

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