So, your business accidentally sent your entire marketing email list a 95% coupon that was supposed to be a joke for your boss. We’ve all been there. Well, maybe not that situation exactly, but something pretty close. It all starts with an email you meant to send to Mr. Andrews, but the whole email list is listed under [email protected], and those are right next to each other in your address book.
Plus, it was a Friday night and you’d already had a glass of wine. Red-faced and dreading Monday morning, you resign yourself to dying a penniless hermit on an island made out of shame and hubris.
Email blunders happen to everyone (even us!), and while it can feel like the end of the world, handling it with grace and dignity can save your skin in the most awkward of situations.
If you’re frantically Googling how to fake your own death and start over in Cancun to avoid becoming an embarrassment to your company, try these tips before you spend all of that money on a forged birth certificate and fake ID:
For the Love of All That is Good, Check Your Recipient Line
We’re going to be honest because we love you. Most of your mis-sent email mistakes would never happen if you just checked who you were talking to before you hit send. The awesome thing about email is that it’s instantaneous. The terrible thing about email is that it’s instantaneous. Take the proper precautions before you send your message on its way, so that you can enjoy the best parts of email without that icky “I want to smash my phone” feeling. Make it a habit to study your “To:” box every time you send an email. Don’t just glance. Really take a good look at who’s going to be getting your message.
If you’ve implemented a “chain of responsibility” rule, there’s no excuses for a recipient line to go unchecked.
If Appropriate, Handle It with Humor
While this tactic probably won’t work if you just sent out a list of possible layoffs to all of the people on the possible layoffs list, there are certain situations where humor is the way to go. If, for example, you sent your entire marketing list a blank newsletter template, send out another email explaining what happened, genuinely apologize, and write a blog post series on how to not be like you.
Of course, that’s just one approach, but humor and laughing at yourself can break the tension and remind your customers that your business is made of real people who make real mistakes.
Just Fess Up, No Excuses
It’s going to be hard, but you’ve got to own up. Any attempt to subvert responsibility or hide your mistakes is going to put you in an even more awkward situation than just admitting that you messed up. Begging the unintended recipients to ignore the message isn’t going to cut it, and attempting to hide the intentions of the email won’t work either. Just say what you did, apologize, grovel, and promise it’ll never happen again. There’s no guarantee that there won’t be consequences, but there’s something admirable about owning up to what you did and showing that your business has learned from the mistake.
Outsource Your Newsletters and Regular Emails
If you find that the pressure of putting out emails is too much responsibility on top of everything else you do for your business, there’s no shame in hiring someone else to handle it. There are plenty of web development and digital marketing companies who spend their whole day fine tuning marketing emails for clients just like you.