If you’re a perfectionist when it comes to your emails, then sending out mistakes drives you nuts. But, as we all know, mistakes are part of life. They happen. So when they inevitably occur, what should you do? Here’s a quick checklist of things we consider when our clients experience “broken” emails.
- Severity — How important was the mistake? If it’s not a big deal, then don’t do anything to correct it. People understand that mistakes happen. Raise your hand if you’ve never made one. Since both of your hands are still down, ask yourself “is it worth sending another message to correct the mistake?” Here’s a recent example where we recommended to not send a correction. A small retailer sent a message on a Friday morning for a sale that was the next day, Saturday. The message unfortunately gave the wrong date (December 5th, when it should have been the 4th). Since the message prominently featured “Saturday Only” about 4 times and mentioned the date just once in smaller print, we didn’t expect much confusion. No correction was sent. The sale went off without a hitch.
- Customer confusion/inability to do something — If your email mistake prevents the recipient from doing something noteworthy, an apology message is totally appropriate. Let’s say a coupon code doesn’t work or your site is down, by all means, let your clients know you’re sorry. If you have caused inconvenience for your customers or provided them a bad experience, saying “Ooops, we goofed” and solving the problem will, more often than not, be welcome.
- Brand — What kind of apology will work well with your brand? Depending on your business, you should tailor the message accordingly. Check out the correction message that one of our agency accounts, Red Crow Marketing, sent on behalf of their client, Candy House. This is a great message because it admits error but does it in a fun, light-hearted way that works perfectly with the brand. It gave subscribers the ability to like the Candy House on Facebook (also very well done, but that’s a social media post that needs to be written) and used the persuasive language, “You like this.” Indeed, I do. If you ever find yourself in Joplin, MO, be sure to try the Sea Salt Caramels (or you can buy them online).
- Offer — In the unfortunate circumstance where you have to send a correction email, consider including an improved offer. For example, I recently received an email from SkyMall.com (I know you’ve perused their catalogs on a recent flight). They were running a 20% off promotion when their site went down. To make up for it, they extended the sale and increased the offer to 25% off. Even if the offer is small, think about the goodwill that can be generated by a solid, improved offer.
Sending an additional message to apologize for an issue or correcting a mistake can be very effective. Just be sure to consider the points above before you send so that you don’t needlessly fill up your customers’ inboxes. The last thing you want is to have good contacts unsubscribe because you’re sending too much.