Email Mishaps and Remedies

It is inevitable that sometime in an email marketer’s life, there will be a mistake in a live email deployment. This could come in the form of the wrong subject line, missing or broken images, mismatched offer codes, incorrect content, a down website just to name a few.

How should mistakes be handled? Yes, sticking your head in the sand or pretending that the mistake did not happen sounds like a good idea, but facing the error head-on might be the better option.

Before you send a knee-jerk apology email (which could compound the original mistake) or yell at your fellow email marketers, take a deep breath and review these questions:

  1. What was the result of this error? Is the error worthy of an apology email? If there is not any harm in the mistake it might be best to do nothing.
  2. What is the upside of sending an apology email?
  3. What is the downside of sending an apology email?
  4. What should the apology email look like? What about the subject line? Should I use humor? Should I be serious? Should I include an offer? How much information should be included about the error?
  5. Who should receive the apology email? Openers, clickers, purchasers, best customers, or everyone?

Here is recent example of an apology email a friend of mine sent me. Not only did this email deploy with a test in the subject line but it was also sent twice – at the exact same time!

In this case Boingo Wireless sent a very heartfelt and humorous apology. They did not include an offer and did not ask the recipient to do anything. In the end this might benefit Boingo Wireless as this “mistake” makes it rounds amongst email marketing circles.

Here are some other well-executed ‘whoops moment’ emails and subject lines that have graced my inbox recently. Try to imagine the thought process these companies used when they designed their apology campaigns. A little acknowledgment can go a long way to keeping customers happy in the long run.


Subject Line: Oops, that was embarrassing… FREE SHIPPING EXTENDED


Subject Line: Whoops, now it’s working

Newport News

Subject Line: We’re So Sorry: Take 20% off TODAY

Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau

Subject Line: RESEND: Be Our Guest in Scottsdale


Subject Line: We’re Sorry…Take 20% off ANY PURCHASE!


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