How to Handle Email Mistakes Appropriately and Efficiently
We’re Only Human
Email marketers are only human. As a result, they have made a variety of different email mistakes when sending off an email campaign.
Email marketing, though often questioned in today’s social-media-focused environment, remains one of the top ways to communicate with customers and owns the highest ROI for many companies.
Understanding how to respond to the inevitable email mistakes quickly and effectively will help your brand recover and come out on top.
The Top 5 Most Common Email Mistakes
While the list of potential email mistakes is endless, these five are the most commonly made by email marketers:
- Spelling Errors
- Grammatical Errors
- Invalid or Erroneous Offers
- Broken Links
- Broken Images
Take Steps to Limit the Scope of the Problem
If your email hasn’t been deployed to the entire deployment file, you can attempt to pause or stop the campaign to minimize the effect of the error.
Try to fix the problem internally. It may be easy to repair a landing page, link, or image that didn’t display correctly and you may be able to avoid having to change anything in your email schedule.
Take Control of the Problem on Social Media
Take the wheel on your social media dashboard and monitoring tools to keep a close eye on your customer base. Mistakes can quickly blow out of proportion if not handled quickly and effectively.
Be socially savvy and attempt to defuse negative remarks while answering questions about the problem honestly. The more serious the problem is, the more important your dedication to customer service should be.
Remember that social media is your digital storefront. What you say and the tone in which you supply your answers will forever live on the internet. Having to deal with one fire will be bad enough, so try not to turn it into a company meltdown.
Undergo a Company Risk Assessment
Understanding the severity of the problem and how it can adversely affect your customers is an important step in assessing how you and your company should respond. Your email mistakes can range anywhere from simple grammatical or spelling errors to critical errors such as a pricing mistake or an invalid offer.
Here are the 5 degrees of severity and how you should deal with them:
- Risk Level Blue: Email mistakes that recipients are likely to glaze over. Minor spelling errors, minor grammatical errors, minor levels of missing punctuation. Response: An error which in most cases can be ignored.
- Risk Level Green: Embarrassing errors customers will notice but will not adversely affect business. Technical errors such as broken images, rendering issues, major spelling errors, grammatical errors, and punctuation. Response: An error that can sometimes be ignored. Depending on the severity of the issue, it is up to your department to offer a follow-up email. Offer guidance to customer service representatives on how to deal with any incoming complaints.
- Risk Level Yellow: Errors that cause missed revenue. Major technical problems include site being down, broken links, and erroneous offers. Response: An error that will most likely require a follow-up email informing customers of the mistake and a suitable solution. Offer guidance to customer service representatives on how to deal with any incoming complaints and grant limited power to offer coupons or bonuses to customers seeking retribution.
- Risk Level Orange: Oversight which causes brand negativity. At this point, we are beyond technical errors and into a team or company-wide missteps. This includes a miscalculation of your audience which leads to an inadvertent offensive message or stance and other like events. Response: Consider hiring a public relations team skilled in handling your specific type of error. Unless there is already a plan in place for such an occurrence, do not hastily create one. Retreat, regroup, and carefully consider crafting your response within 48 hours.
- Risk Level Red: Major communication errors which cause irreparable harm to your business. This level of error is rarely achieved and most companies will never face such critical errors. One example includes an insensitive ad with racist undertones for Just for Feet being played during the Super Bowl. Within months of running the ad the company closed its doors for good. Response: Hire a lawyer and a public relations team. The future of your company hinges on attempting to salvage what you can from this mistake.
Luckily the realm of email marketing rarely leaves the mid-tier of risk levels.
Making Amends With Your Customers
For arguement’s sake, we’ll assume your oversight did leave the realm of your email marketing campaigns and that the oversight was either human or technical. Remember, so long as your email mistakes did not pass the mid-tier level of risk, your customers will most likely be receptive to your organization taking the steps to acknowledge and solve the problem. Email mistakes rarely leave the yellow tier unless the marketing push was connected to an ill-informed company-wide campaign.
Diffuse the situation by offering a correction or apology to those subscribers affected by the email mistakes. You can limit your contact to those that received the original faulty email, opened the email, or that may have clicked on the broken link.
Crafting your apology isn’t difficult, but your copywriter must still be mindful of how to approach your audience while keeping in line with the spirit of your organization and the sensibilities of your clientele. Address the email mistake honestly, provide a viable alternative, offer a fix or complementary coupon, and thank your customers for their understanding.
Your message should be upbeat and positive in the face of adversity. Take careful measures not to give the impression the response was thrown together or insincere.
Any Press Is Good Press, Right?
Every cloud has a silver lining. Depending on the nature of your email mistakes, a well-placed apology email might actually outperform your initial blast. It brings variety and some human personality to your email program, which stands out and breaks the standard cycle of advertising and marketing campaigns. However, always remember to proceed with caution.