We hosted a webcast Email Marketing Mistakes last Thursday, where we discussed mistakes email marketers often make, what to do after a mistake is made, and then reviewed our pre-send checklist. We didn’t have time to get to all of the questions asked during our live Q&A, so our presenters, Jill Guest and Matt Rushing, and I are tackling the questions left unanswered on the blog. Jill answered the first half of questions on Tuesday and Matt’s answering the second half today.

If you mess up your sending list in Excel, how would you go about rebuilding it?

MR: The safest answer to this question would be to go back to the original source file and start over. If you know specifically where you went wrong, however, you may be able to just take a couple cntl-Z steps back, fix your error, and continue forward. It’s very important to spot check your rows of data before saving your .csv and uploading, regardless of how comfortable you are in Excel or how simple the data manipulation was. Be sure to check a few rows at the beginning, middle, and end of your list, as some errors in sorting, etc. may only affect a few rows of data.

What are the consequences of spamming?

KS: We view spam as any email that is determined to be unwanted by any entity between the sender and the recipient. Some spammers have malicious intent, while some spammers may not even know they’re spamming! Unfortunately even senders with good intentions could end up spamming their recipients, which is why it’s so important to keep a sharp eye on your engagement metrics to make sure you’re sending wanted mail.

There are many negative consequences of spamming, but in short, you’ll upset people who never opted-in to receive your messages causing them to disengage or mark your mail as spam, you’ll ruin your reputation and the IP address you’re sending from, and your deliverability will tank. Essentially, you’re emails will not make it to the inbox.

How should I handle an email that has been sent without the button hyperlinked?

MR: This is one of those common mistakes that’s avoidable if you complete all of your testing steps prior to pressing send. In the event you overlook clicking all of the links in your email and send with a “dead” button, there’s a not much you can do after it hits inboxes. The recommended next step would be to craft a genuine apology email, as described in part one of this series. If the broken button is of dire importance to your audience, you’ll probably want to send the apology to the entire list. The less aggressive option would be to just send to recipients who opened the email and were more likely to experience the mistake.

In a related case, if the link is just wrong, you may be able to limit the damage by setting up a redirect. Just keep in mind that it will redirect all traffic hitting the page, so if you need to use the page for other purposes, or if it’s navigable from your website, the redirect would not be a good option.

Is there a way to stop a campaign after it’s been launched?

MR: The ability to pause or abort campaigns varies greatly between email solutions. The option also depends on the size of your campaign and how long it takes to process. In SendGrid’s Marketing Campaigns feature set, for example, you can stop a campaign while it is still processing by clicking a red “X” in your campaigns list. Due to the rate at which SendGrid processes campaigns, the window during which you can abort is very short, and by the time you notice the mistake it’s usually too late to stop it. Our advice is to be diligent on the front end so you don’t have to worry about stopping it part-way through.

If you’d like to watch our full presentation about email marketing mistakes, check out the webcast on-demand!

Kate Schmeisser
When Kate isn't trying to teach herself the ukelele, make it through the mountain of books on her nightstand, or figure out if they are actually being serious about suggested serving sizes on ice cream, she is the Creative Content Manager.