January 12, 2014

No One is Immune from Mistakes

photo by andrea quixtán/Flickr

Mistakes will happen. I've seen obvious mistakes in emails sent out by marketing agencies and email service providers when promoting their own products. I've even made a few myself - but I won’t point them out. A recent article on the Vocus blog inspired me to weigh in on the issue because, of course, I don’t completely agree with all of their advice.

There is a point of no return. Once we hit send, we’re stuck living with the mistakes in our newsletters. Likely you won’t even notice the mistake until someone points it out or asks a question.

Sometimes they’re just small errors, like typos, a missing word or the wrong preposition. Other times they can be disastrous:
  • a big promotion to hype a new product and, oops, the link goes to the wrong product or an error page
  • an event invitation that asks you to register but the link takes you to an event that’s already gone by
  • the wrong phone number, especially when phoning you is your primary call to action
  • the wrong address or date for an event or appointment
  • the wrong day/date combination, which is sure to generate a ton of emails requiring replies
  • incomplete information, which will also generate incoming emails or disengagement
  • an obvious typo in the subject line

So, what do you do? Stop and think before you send out a correction.

First, you should realize that most people will view correction emails as an annoyance.  Corrections also point out your mistake to readers who may not have noticed, drawing yet more attention to it. So, be thrifty with your corrections.

Think relevance. If a mistake is essentially irrelevant, ignore it and move on.

In some cases, you may be able to come up with another reason to send the corrected information along with a fresh call to action. Give this some serious thought. It is one of very few good correction strategies.

Keep in mind that even though you send a correction, not everyone will read it. If the information is important, like a date or location, watch your statistics and registrations to make sure those who need it get the correct info.

If you use your newsletter archive as a resource, depending on the bulk email service provider you use, you may be able to correct your archived version.

Preventing a mistake from happening is the best way to ensure you never have to fix a mistake. Always send yourself a test message and check your newsletter before sending it out.

photo by andrea quixtán/Flickr

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