When bad emails happen to good people

Let’s face it, few activities are more nerve wracking for marketing professionals than sending out email campaigns. There are a huge number of variables that could impact your email marketing and make all the difference between a successful campaign and a not-so-successful campaign. Did you send to the right list? Are all your links working? Is your landing page up? Did you proofread it? Did you get someone else to check your work just to catch all the mistakes you missed after the first time you proofed it? Did your designer remember to use inline CSS?

And let’s not forget the actual development of content and design!

All too often marketers (myself included) have fallen victim to these types of issues.

The truth of the matter is that process is half the battle when it comes to email marketing (a topic highlighted at our users conference last year by both UCONN and FIU Business), but even the most well-planned campaigns can have their hiccups.

One key to avoiding mistakes is to know whether or not to do your campaign in the first place. Karlyn Morissette offers some good advice today at .eduGuru on when NOT to send out campaigns.  And there are few in the higher ed space that write more than Karlyn about the do’s and dont’s of higher ed marketing in general.

However, what if it’s too late and that send button has already been clicked?  You may want to think about an apology.

In light of this month’s rather high-profile incidents involving email SNAFUs at both West and East coast institutions, I thought it would be appropriate to point our readers to some advice published today by MediaPost on “What Makes a Good Email Apology.”

In the piece, Chad White of marketing agency Smith-Harmon outlines 7 tips on how to apologize gracefully via email.  His tips include:

  1. Send the apology email as soon as you can.
  2. Make it clear in the subject line that you’re apologizing.
  3. Give them a reason to forgive you.
  4. Know when to use humor and when to be serious.
  5. When it’s really bad, have it signed by an executive.
  6. Don’t make excuses. Just fix the problem.
  7. Don’t make a mistake in the apology email.

Having an avoidable error occur is always frustrating and agonizing, but how you recover from it is what matters.  Own up to mistakes, be responsive and (more importantly) learn from them.