Sometimes, things do not go as planned. Perhaps you sent the wrong email campaign. Maybe a partner accidentally sent an email to your mailing list. Or maybe a link you sent is broken. Or perhaps your server is down and a lot of people could not access your online stores in time. The point is that marketing emergencies happen. You need to make sure that you and your marketing team are prepared to handle unpredictable mishaps.
Here are 13 tips on how you can win your subscribers after a mishap:
1. Keep your cool
When it comes to mishaps, the main thing you need to remember is that we’re only human. We make mistakes. It is how we own up to our mistakes that makes a huge difference to our subscribers. Like in any other life situations, it is really important to keep your cool. You will only be able to create an effective strategy if you are looking at the current challenges with a level head.
2. Decide if it’s worth sending an apology email
Regardless of what went wrong, you need to decide if this mistake is negligible or if you need to send a response to your subscribers. For instance, a misspelling in a newsletter is a negligible mistake. It will not affect your relationship with your subscribers. Remember, you do not need to send an apology email for every minor mistake that most people will not hold against you. When it comes to small mistakes, launching an apology email may bring more unwanted attention to a minor error that the majority of people may not even have noticed.
On the other hand, if you sent a limited-time deal and your servers are not prepared to handle the traffic, then this may harm your relationship with your subscribers. In cases when a lot of your customers are affected, you should consider sending an apology email to your subscribers.
Depending on the gravity of the situation, not responding or acknowledging the mistake can actually hurt you more than help you. You should consider how much brand damage occurred from the mistake and whether or not it angered or offended subscribers.
3. Write a concise subject line
A short and sweet subject line is ideal for an apology email. Even writing “We’re Sorry” as your subject line is enough to let your subscribers know what the email is about. It is specific enough to indicate that this is an apology email, but it is vague enough that readers will want to open the email to find out more.
4. Keep your email design simple
When sending an apology email, you need to keep the email simple. This is the time to cut back on photos and fancy design details. Your words are the most crucial part. A well-thought out email apology can easily put you back in your subscribers’ good graces.
Extra tip: We recommend choosing one of the pastel-colored textures, subtle textures, or even a simple color as your background.
5. No pointing fingers
Let your subscribers know that the incident should not have happened - plain and simple. There is no room for blame. Blaming an individual or another company may put your brand and company in a worse light. This may also suggest that you are trying to dodge responsibility. Instead, we recommend focusing on the apology and learning from the mishap.
6. Always put yourself in your customer’s shoes
The easiest way to write an apology email is to put yourself in your customer’s shoes. What kind of things would you like to hear if you were a customer. Think about the type of information that you may want from the brand. Lastly, think about how you, if you were subscriber, would like to be appeased by the situation.
Extra tip: Create a list. A list will make it easier for you to visually see what types of information you will need to include in your apology newsletter.
7. Stay positive because a mishap can be a blessing in disguise
Sometimes a mishap can lead to something positive. Apology emails can benefit your brand image because it shows that you care about your customers. They can also show that your business and/or team stays informed about current events that surround your brand. Last but not least, apology emails can show that your business is quick to respond or address issues.
8. Give your subscribers a reason to forgive you
Whether you want to reiterate your brand values or remind them that this mistake will never happen again, you should consider giving your subscribers other reasons to forgive you. This could be a coupon or a discount code. The main purpose of this is to show that you value their business and that your relationship with them is important to you.
Here is an example from Crate & Barrel
Crate & Barrel extended their promotion one more day because of problems handling the traffic. They also added free shipping that their customers can take advantage off along with the promotional discount.
9. Add humor when appropriate
Humor help lighten up the mood. Mistakes show people the brand’s human side. In a similar sense, humor also adds a human element. But first, think about how serious the problem is. If you have to navigate through very angry consumers, then humor may not be the best solution. However, if the mistake is caused by things that are outside of your control (like natural disasters), then a little of humour may help alleviate the situation. Also, if the mistake is not that serious, then being funny can really help. Another important aspect to think about is your brand tone and brand image. If your brand is normally serious, then refrain from trying to be funny. Brand consistency matters, especially when trying to do damage control.
10. React in a timely manner
When email marketing mishaps happen, you typically need to react fast and send that apology email as soon as possible. Not sending a timely response can lead to even more confusion.
11. Remind them that your intentions were not to hurt
Sometimes, an error occurs and it upsets people. Maybe the event was preventable. Maybe not. But once the mistake has happened, then what if and what could have been no longer matters. What matters is your apology. You need to let them know that you did not mean to upset anyone.
Here is an example from New York Magazine
New York Magazine explained clearly that the message they sent out was in error and that they respect their subscribers's inboxes. They also added a re-subscribe link to make it easier for readers to get back on their mailing list.
12. Clarify on landing pages
In very serious situations, you may need to give a long explanation of what caused the problem and what are your company’s plan to address the issues. For long explanations, we recommend linking to a landing page with all the necessary information. Use the apology email to apologize and give a brief explanation, but do not forget to add your call-to-action button to the in-depth explanation.
13. Learn from your mistakes
If a mistake happened, learn from it. Figure out what went wrong and what steps can be taken to prevent it from happening. Otherwise, making the same mistake again and again will be detrimental to your brand image and reputation.
- Decide whether or not it is necessary to send an apology email based on the gravity of the situation
- Apology emails show that you care and that you pay attention to your customers
- Being calm is important in formulating an effective mitigation strategy
- When handled correctly, apology emails can help improve overall brand image
Until next time,
Your Mail Designer 365 team
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