Making Good On Your Mistake

DMA Email Marketing Council Blog

Making Good On Your Mistake

Posted: 17 Sep 2008 11:14 AM CDT

Here’s what I found in just one day’s worth of email messages recently:

1. Wrong landing page
2. Spelling mistake in the subject line
3. Test subject line not removed
4. Email sent to the wrong company division list
5. Personalisation code showing instead of name
6. 2007 copyright date
7. Broken link to Web version
8. Images failed to load even when enabled
9. Brand name misspelled

Yes, everyone makes mistakes. But how you recover from them will either save your reputation and business or make readers think you’re unprofessional and untrustworthy.

A good recovery isn’t enough, though. Know where your greatest vulnerabilities are in your email program and what you have to do to make sure errors either don’t happen or get caught before you click “send.”

First Rule: Don’t rush out an immediate email correction!

Your first instinct probably is to send out a second email immediately, before readers can act on the wrong one, but this can make the effects of your mistake much worse. Sending a second email to your entire list right after the first one can make you look like a spammer to ISPs if your list has too undeliverable email addresses. You look like you’re pounding on addresses that don’t exist, belong to closed accounts, have become inactive or are temporarily unavailable.

If the mistake doesn’t involve an email function – broken or wrong links, wrong price, incorrect image, wrong copy — or won’t mislead your readers, don’t send out a follow-up to the whole list. Instead, include a short apology in your next regular email.

Second Rule: Fix the Mistake

You must correct the mistake if it could mislead readers or if it breaks the email’s functionality. Also, if you are sending the email on an advertiser’s or partner’s behalf, you have to make good. However, it’s still not time to rush out a correction email to your entire list.

If the mistake involves your Web site –- the landing-page link is broken, or you published the wrong link or the wrong offer –- post a note on the page with an apology and a link to the correct page. Post a similar note on your front page, again with a link to the correct page.

How to send follow-up emails:

1. Send a follow-up email only to those who either opened or clicked within 24 hours. This is a typical watch period for most ISPs and spares you from hitting all those inactive or undeliverable addresses again.

Note: Don’t send just to addresses that opened the message. If the reader views your email in the preview pane or doesn’t download images, the open won’t show up – so include those who click.

2. Send a follow-up email after 24 hours to your list if you can’t segment out your openers and clickers. If you email more often than weekly, wait until your next regular email, then including an apology and the correct information.

Yes, you could lose some sales, but that will motivate you to make sure your emails are correct before they go out,

Third Rule: Apologise the Right Way

What not to say: “Ooops! We goofed!” or “Did you ever have one of those days when nothing goes right?” if you mail to a business list. It looks unprofessional.

Better: “We apologise for the mistake and the inconvenience. Here is the correct link/information/price.” Imagine what your typical reader would say, and match your apology to that.

Fourth Rule: Look for List Churn

Scrutinise your list metrics for higher unsubscribes and changes in open or click rates. Also, watch for more spam complaints and act on those immediately.

Fifth Rule: Step Up Your Quality Control

These steps can help you spot mistakes better without adding too much time to your publishing schedule:

1. Create a checklist that includes all relevant information for the email, including deadlines, who’s responsible for it and who signs off that the information is correct. Include the offer, price, images, graphics/design, lists/sublists/segments the email will go to and any other relevant information.

2. Create a fresh email message every time, using an error-proofed template. You won’t forget to change the subject line or placeholder copy or images.

3. Create a test message before it goes live. Spelling and format mistakes will stand out. Unlike the test you use to try out subject lines and offers, this test goes only to a few people inside your company.

4. Have others review this message in different Web browsers, on different platforms (Mac, PC, smartphone and not just iPhone) and in different email clients (desktop, Web client and smartphone).

5. View message without images and in preview pane. Then, turn on images and open message, view content and click all links.

6. Watch all mailboxes to spot bounces or customer complaints about mistakes as soon as the message goes out.

Sixth Rule: Know the Traps

1. Content:

  • Old/placeholder subject line left in final mailing
  • Wrong/placeholder pictures
  • Old content retained in reused message (headlines, head shots, graphics)
  • Spelling/grammar/punctuation errors
  • Wrong offer in mailing (old, not approved by client or sales team, etc.)
  • Outdated contact information

2. Format:

  • Errors in links
  • Coding incompatibility resulting in unreadable or broken formats in different browsers or on different platforms

3. Landing page:

  • Page not updated to reflect offer or before articles are uploaded
  • Link error redirects to homepage or an interior page
  • Page taken down too soon

4. Mailing list:

  • Mailed to the wrong list
  • Mailed test message to entire list
  • Mailed general message to single segment
  • Wrong segments identified for targeted mailing
  • Mailed live message to do-not-email database or to unsubscribe database


Mobile Email Marketing Tips

Mobile Email Marketing Tips

Posted by kim on Sep 17, 2008 in Mobile Marketing

Is he reading your email? This week I came across two excellent resources about email marketing specifically as it relates to mobile. Because so many people are now checking email on their mobile devices this advice is particularly timely. Any smart marketer would be wise to pay attention to this phenomenon and take appropriate action. read on…

The Email Marketing Reports Newsletter | Issue 92

Visit Email Marketing Reports“No man is an iland”
The Email Marketing Reports Newsletter | Issue 92

Jump to: Must read | Basics | Deliverability | List growth | Tips and Tactics

No need for 1984 in 2008

Accurate information about your subscribers lets you send more relevant emails. This issue has two articles that show you how to get that info without resorting to Big Brother approaches.

Those (like me) who fondly remember something called “face-to-face conversation” will also enjoy catching up on social networking and how that should change the way you market via email.

And there is, unsurprisingly, “more.” So take 2 minutes and dive in for your biweekly dose of email delights…

Enjoy the read,

Mark
Email Marketing Reports
P.S. Did you know you can get these articles delivered as they are published through the web feed?

Sponsored by:

EmailReach: Run diagnostics on your email now!
mobileStorm: SMS – the next step for email marketers
Campaigner: 100 tips to grow your business

Must read…

Email marketing and Web 2.0
If you’re terrified, confused, concerned or just intrigued by social networks and all the new Web 2.0 talk, take a deep breath and find contentment here.

It’s a collection of articles dealing with the interaction between email and new technologies like Facebook. For an immediate overview, see the latest in the New Email Marketing series, entitled Embracing Web 2.0.

Basics…

Some grounders
Try these recent nuggets from around the Web…

Email marketing for bloggers
A six-part series which covers the basics of list building, testing, tracking and copywriting.

Broken Graphics and the 40/40/20 Rule
Short, but poignant, reminder that email marketing can still learn from the basic understanding of direct response marketing that was developed years before anyone started using the @ symbol.

InformIT OnBizTech
Browse down the page for about 40 minutes across three podcasts, reviewing many of the key principles that go into a successful email marketing strategy and program.

Sweating the details
A collection of advice aimed at retailers on developing winning email marketing campaigns.

Deliverability…

B2C problems for B2B email
If you mail to business folk, when was the last time you checked the distribution of domains on your list? You may be surprised to see how many consumer webmail services appear.

This post explains why and offers help on deliverability issues at consumer ISPs.

List building…

How to get accurate subscriber information
The more you know about your subscribers, the more relevant emails you can send. And the better responses you get.

But how do you collect that data?

Part 1 of this article explores what you can do during the sign-up process.

And Part 2 explains six ways to get this information after people join your list.

Tactics and strategy…

5 ways to repeat yourself effectively
We’ve all had emails that worked particularly well, drawing an unusually high response. Pity, then, we can’t use that same email again and again.

Except we can…here are five ideas on how to do it right.

Good can still be better
A lot of marketers shrug at best practices because, hey, we’re doing well out of our email already…so why change anything? This article explains why.

That’s it for this issue – see you again September 22nd, with more on the new email marketing, copywriting, embedded design, etc…

Copyright Mark Brownlow 2008
Email Marketing Reports | Paschinggasse 8/28 | 1170 | Vienna | Austria

Pure email marketing

Making Good On Your Mistake

Posted by Kath Pay on Sep 09, 2008 | Permalink | Category: Email Tactics

Here’s what I found in just one day’s worth of email messages recently:

1. Wrong landing page
2. Spelling mistake in the subject line
3. Test subject line not removed
4. Email sent to the wrong company division list
5. Personalisation code showing instead of name
6. 2007 copyright date
7. Broken link to Web version
8. Images failed to load even when enabled
9. Brand name misspelled

Yes, everyone makes mistakes. But how you recover from them will either save your reputation and business or make readers think you’re unprofessional and untrustworthy.

A good recovery isn’t enough, though. Know where your greatest vulnerabilities are in your email program and what you have to do to make sure errors either don’t happen or get caught before you click “send.”

First Rule: Don’t Panic!

Don’t rush out an immediate email correction. Sending a second email to your entire list right after the first one can make you look like a spammer to ISPs if your list has too many undeliverable email addresses. You look like you’re pounding on addresses that don’t exist, belong to closed accounts, have become inactive or are temporarily unavailable.

If the mistake doesn’t involve an email function – broken or wrong links, wrong price, incorrect image, wrong copy — or won’t mislead your readers, don’t send out a follow-up to the whole list. Instead, include a short apology in your next regular email.

Second Rule: Fix the Mistake

You must correct the mistake if it could mislead readers or if it breaks the email’s functionality. Also, if you are sending the email on an advertiser’s or partner’s behalf, you have to make good. However, it’s still not time to rush out a correction email to your entire list.

If the mistake involves your Web site –- the landing-page link is broken, or you published the wrong link or the wrong offer –- post a note on the page with an apology and a link to the correct page. Post a similar note on your front page, again with a link to the correct page.

How to send follow-up emails:

1. Send a follow-up email only to those who either opened or clicked within 24 hours. This is a typical watch period for most ISPs and spares you from hitting all those inactive or undeliverable addresses again.

read on…

Tips for Sending a Welcome Message

ClickZ Expert - Derek Harding<!–
Derek
Harding–>

Tips for Sending a Welcome Message
More E-MAIL MARKETING E-MAIL MARKETING

By Derek Harding, The ClickZ Network, Sep 4, 2008
Columns | Contact Derek | Biography

As I wrote my last column, “Three Rules for Reconfirming E-mail Lists,” I realized that I haven’t written about the dos and don’ts for writing and delivering a welcome message to new subscribers. Whether you use, or should be using, confirmed opt-in (COI) depends on many factors. COI is the gold standard. It has many benefits and some disadvantages.

Regardless of what kind of opt-in you use, you’ll send a first message to each new subscriber. The what, when, and how of that first message is key. It sets the tone for the relationship. As with any relationship, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.

Explain Why

This takes on added importance if there’s a time lag between subscription and first message. Remind recipients when, where, and how they registered. Otherwise, they may not remember having subscribed or they may not connect your e-mail with the Web site they visited a few days earlier.

Sometimes an e-mail address is shared by two or more family members. Providing the details can avoid a situation where an angry spouse complains of spam. Whatever the reasons, the more you tell recipients about why they’re receiving your message, the fewer complaints and issues you’ll have.

The number one way to reduce complaints among new subscribers is to provide a clear and accurate explanation of why someone is receiving a message.

For example, something like this doesn’t count and won’t help: “You are receiving this message because you signed up on our Web site, or that of one of our affiliates, or contacted our customer support, or in some other way indicated a desire to receive e-mail from us.”

However, this will: “You are receiving this e-mail because on Saturday, August 24 at http://www.example.com you signed up for our product updates newsletter.”

Don’t Delay

Your confirmation message should be sent quickly. Ideally, that means immediately upon receipt of the subscription. There can be reasons why a message takes time to work its way through your internal systems, but it’s vital to make this happen as quickly as possible.

The greater the delay, the greater the disconnect among subscribers between their subscription behavior and the received e-mail. This leads directly to an increased complaint and opt-out rate.

Offer an Opt-Out

If you aren’t using confirmed (double) opt-in, at the very least ensure there’s a clear and easy opt-out mechanism in your confirmation message. Sure, it can be argued that this isn’t legally required because the message is transactional in nature, but this is when recipients are most likely to change their mind.

When someone wants off your mailing list, making it hard — or even fighting with that person — does more harm than good. If you don’t let them easily unsubscribe, many will use the TIS (this is spam) button instead, which harms your reputation, may result in delivery issues, and — most importantly — irritates your customers and prospects.

Explain What

This is your opportunity to set expectations. Even if your signup process discloses what someone signs up for, it’s worth repeating. If you send daily offers, yet subscribers don’t expect them, subscribers will find out pretty soon and may be upset. Tell them up front what they’re going to get, and how often, so they can choose to join or not.

If you offer a profile management center, this is also a great place to get new subscribers to ensure their profile is accurate and that their subscription preferences are what they really want. If you send a variety of communications, your subscribers may or may not realize just how many of them they agreed to when they first signed up. This is especially true for off-line subscription processes.

The first e-mail you send to a new subscriber is where you set and manage expectations. Your efforts will be rewarded if you do this successfully and then meet those expectations.

Until next time,

Derek

Join us for ClickZ Presents: Online Marketing Summit, September 25 at the Sheraton San Diego.

» Print this article » E-mail a colleague » Send feedback » Read feedback