If you’ve made an email marketing mistake—or want to know what to do when you eventually do make one—then watch this video. During the first five minutes or less, you’ll determine whether you need to send a correction or apology email. You’ll also figure out whether you need to send it to everyone you emailed or just a portion of them.
Now that you’ve watched the video, you have your answer—and much more. If you decide it’s best that your company sends a correction or apology email, then pay attention to these best practices:
For correction emails, where you’re simply correcting the functionality or content of an email:
In most cases, reuse the subject line of the email you’re correcting, but preface it with “CORRECTION:”, “UPDATED:”, or something similar. That clearly associates this new email with the previous one to help those that opened the other, while also making it clear to people who didn’t open to focus on this one instead.
Typically, your body content will just be the updated, error-free body copy of the email. However, depending on the nature of the mistake, you may want to call the error out in the body of the email, which is generally done via a banner at the top of the email. If you place this banner at the very top of your email, it will be displayed as preview text next to your subject line in the inbox, providing more context for the email before it’s opened. Keep this text to a minimum so as to keep people focused on the primary message of your email.
For apology emails, where you’re apologizing for the insensitivity of your email content or similar offenses:
Use your apology email template, which should be simple, uncluttered, and optimized for legibility. The longer your copy is, the more you should be using subheads and bullets and bolding key passages to facilitate skimming.
Take responsibility for the error or lapse in judgment, but don’t dwell on the mistake. Pivot to how you will do better in the future, including changes in process or policy, and reassert your brand values.
Apology emails are a form of crisis messaging. For advice on those, check out Disaster and Crisis Messaging Best Practices.
Whether you’re sending a correction or apology, review the emails carefully. You don’t want to follow up a mistake by making another mistake, which would make an already troubling situation go from bad to worse.
We hope you enjoyed “Do I Need to Send an Apology Email Because of This?”. Our other on-demand webinars include:
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Chad S. White
Head of Research, Oracle Digital Experience Agency
Chad S. White is the Head of Research at Oracle Digital Experience Agency and the author of four editions of Email Marketing Rules and nearly 4,000 posts about digital and email marketing. A former journalist, he’s been featured in more than 100 publications, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Advertising Age. Chad was named the ANA's 2018 Email Marketer Thought Leader of the Year. Follow him on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Mastodon.