You create a beautiful, well-designed email. You test the message for how it will render in the major email clients. You review and revise until you are cross-eyed. You hit the send button and sit back and breathe a sigh of relief. All of a sudden, your heart stops -- the email went out with a mistake in it. Has this ever happened to you?

What do you do now?

First, relax. Mistakes happen. It's what you do after the mistake that makes all the difference. Second, stop the send, if possible, so that you can correct the mistake and then send out the revised email to the remainder of your list.

Next, determine if it will be necessary to send a correction email. The only type of mistake that should warrant a correction email is one that impacts your business. A broken image may not necessarily need a follow-up email, for example. However, an incorrect phone number, wrong sale start date, or wacky HTML coding issue that causes the entire email to be unintelligible would certainly be cause for a follow-up correction email.

A recent example of a "must remedy" email was from Lindblad Expeditions, an expedition cruise line and Bronto client. Lindblad sent out an email promoting a cruise along the Danube. One of the ways to book is by calling an 800 number, making it vital to have the appropriate phone number in all promotions. Unfortunately, this email went out with the incorrect phone number. As soon as the mistake was realized, a correction email was sent out. 

 

Here's what Lindblad did really well:

 

1. Sent out a corrected version within hours of the original email. Timing is everything when a mistake is made. In order to reduce complaints and curb potential lost sales, send out a correction email as soon as possible.

2. Used the original subject line and appended with "Correction to" so that those contacts that had already opened the original message could quickly tell two things: First - that it was not a duplicate of the original email; and second - there was content from the original message that was incorrect and they should open the correction email to find out what the mistake was.

3. Placed the correction at the very top of the message in the preheader space so it couldn't be missed.

4. Copied the original email beneath the correction so that if the recipients of the correction email hadn't opened the original, they wouldn't miss the content.

The only thing I'd have liked to see was the correction text in red or bolded or something along those lines to make it stand out from the rest of the content; but all told, Lindblad handled the situation like a champ.

The moral of the story is that after the storm passes, be sure to put a plan in place so that you are prepared when the next mistake happens. You want to be able to act quickly on an error to minimize damage. Have you seen positive results after sending a correction email?

 

Do you have any stories of your own where you saved the day after the mistake? Share them below. Kelly Lorenz Account Manager at Bronto