Making a public mistake can be a bad feeling. Fortunately, the conversational nature of email is on your side, and you can correct yourself as soon as you realize your error. A prompt correction and apology lets you show a nice flicker of personality. If you do it with a touch of class and maybe even a little humor, your apology can even strengthen the bond between you and your subscribers.
Keep these five things in mind:
Listen to your readers. The RSVP name and email address you associate with your email marketing strategy isn’t just there to let your readers know who they’re hearing from — it’s also there so they can get in touch with you. If your loyal readers spot a mistake in your email, an email reply is the handiest way for them to let you know about it, so use an active email address and keep a close eye on your inbox.
Be prompt. You’ll probably see one of the highest spikes in activity in the two hours immediately after you send your campaign. The sooner you send a correction message, the more likely these early respondents are to connect with your correction rather than your error.
Be specific. You don’t always have to craft a completely new message to address a mistake — sometimes it’s better to correct your original content and send it out again. If you send a revised version of your original message, be clear about the correction you’re making, starting with the subject line. If your audience clearly sees “correction” there, they’ll probably skip the first message and go directly to the follow-up. In the introduction to your email, it’s a good idea to specifically address the error, just in case some folks were puzzled by your earlier message.
Be courteous. Anne Holland’s web site, whichtestwon.com, offers readers a fun opportunity to play armchair web consultant to a new split test every week and then test their guesses against real-life results. Her weekly email notifications are critical to her operation, so when she misidentified a guest speaker she’d invited to host a webinar, she quickly realized her faux pas and issued a humble but humorous apology. Then, in a show of solidarity, she deliberately misspelled her own name. The correction message addressed an earlier mistake and showcased her own graciousness.
Be accommodating. If your error affected the audience’s experience — say, for example, a broken link to a limited-time offer — you may want to take an extra step, like extending the deadline on the offer to accommodate your readers.
Remember, email is one of the more personal communication channels available to you, and if someone has invited you to share information with them regularly, they’re likely to be forgiving of the occasional mistake. A prompt correction and apology will go a long way toward showing your customers the human side of your business.
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