Retailers, both online and brick-and-mortar, have discovered the “punch” of email marketing. It’s effective and low-cost compared to many traditional marketing outlets.

Using email is a good way to stay in touch with existing customers and offer incentives to make another purchase or upgrade purchased services. When you have a relationship with a customer, keep it going with email “specials” such as free shipping to re-engage your business.

It’s important that your email marketing and communications be letter perfect. They should provide useful information and a strong incentive to contact your office or visit your store again.

So, what do you do when, despite numerous revisions and proofs, you send out an email with a major goof? How do you handle it?

Now is not the time to panic. Recognize that mistakes happen even after extensive review by lots of stakeholders. It happens, so keep calm as you develop a plan to address the error.

Analyze the impact of the goof. Determine if the error warrants a follow-up. A misspelling, while unprofessional, can be overlooked occasionally, and shouldn’t warrant sending out another message. Your customers may resent too many emails, even if you’re correcting a minor mistake and offering an additional 15% off purchases.

However, if you list the wrong price on an item, or make errors in other factors that impact consumer buying decisions, you have to fix the error or risk making prospects angry – never a good thing.

Act quickly. Once the email mistake is discovered, move quickly but methodically. The worst thing you can do is ignore a serious mistake in an email promotion. If your email contains a serious mistake, draft a well-written correction email and get it delivered quickly to prevent creating ill-will among prospects and customers.   

Skip the excuses. Recipients don’t want excuses. They want fixes and accurate information. Don’t make excuses. Don’t blame a system error or a new hire. Own up and start working to make things right.

Fix it. Give the prospective buyer a discount, free shipping, an upgrade, or dessert on the house. An unhappy customer or prospect will tell others about your services. Fix it to the customer’s satisfaction and they’re likely to say nice things about your company. Don’t fix it and they’re sure to say bad things. Delivering customer satisfaction by fixing problems is critical to maintaining a stable client base. Keep buyers coming back by making things right when they’re wrong.

Don’t do it again. Learn from email mistakes. Determine why the mistake occurred. Bad communications between in-house managers and outsources? An unreasonable deadline? Too many editors? Make sure you have a process in place that requires approval from the appropriate departments or officers before someone hits “send.”


The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice.