Damage Control: The Apology Email

July 12, 2016
Written by
Opinions expressed by Twilio contributors are their own

Damage Control: The Apology Email

How to write an apology email

Mistakes happen to everyone, even the most seasoned email marketers. Whether it’s a customer or a coworker who notices, the important thing is to recognize when you’ve made a mistake and to be prepared to fix it.

Bloopers big and small have caused email marketers to stress outbut have no fear,  SendGrid is here to help. Consider these tips and tricks as part of your emergency kit for keeping your head above water.

Divide and conquer

So you’ve made a mistake, now what? Keep calm and carry on. It’s time to take a step back and assess who it affects and how you can get ahead of the problem. Our best advice?

  • Use your in-house resources - Find team members who can help you fix the mistake and determine the next course of action.
  • Keep it on a need to know basis - Instead of announcing your mistake to everyone, make conscious decisions about who to inform and how they can help.
  • Think one step ahead - Alert your customer-facing support teams if you’re expecting lots of customer questions and concerns.

To send, or not to send

We believe there's a time and place to send a follow-up email to correct your mistake. As a general rule of thumb, a follow-up email should only be sent after you have ruled out all possible workarounds. Keep in mind, you need to know when to address the blunder; just because you notice your mistake doesn’t mean your subscribers have. We’ve broken down the appropriate times to apologize, and when to hold back:

  • When you should send - Apologize for mistakes regarding missing links or calls-to-action, misleading offers and promotions, and any time data is compromised.
  • Keep it to yourself if - If it’s just a silly misspelled word or grammatical error in the copy of your email, your subscribers probably won’t hold it against you.
  • Sent to the wrong list - Don’t apologize to everyone! Instead, look over your lists for any overlap to see if anyone on the wrong list got the right email. Suppress those contacts from your apology email to save everyone a headache.

Is it too late now to say sorry?

If you decide your situation warrants it, a timely apology email can make all the difference to your subscribers. While the content of your email will depend totally on your brand, company, and client base, here are some ideas to keep in mind:

  • Clear, concise subject line - Make sure your subscriber knows right away that you’re apologizing for your mistake. A short and sweet “We’re sorry!” will do the trick.
  • Get to the point - Like the subject line, keep the email itself brief. Apologize with a few lines of text, and maybe a call-to-action.
  • Stay on brand - This is important in both the design and tone of your email. Even if it lines up with your brand, always be cautious with humor. Sincerity is the best policy when it comes to sending apology emails.
  • Send from a legit address - An apology coming from a “no reply” sender address suddenly feels a lot less sincere. Send from an address that will allow subscribers to respond with comments or complaints. Check out our blog post for more on sending identity. 
  • Proofread - Please, don’t send an apology email riddled with errors. Take the time to get several people to proofread your email.

As you become more experienced in the email marketing world, the more comfortable you get. With comfort comes the tendency to cut corners. When you make a mistake, don’t panic. Follow these guidelines to help you correct your errors, but always learn from your mistakes.

For more tips on how to navigate the tricky waters of email marketing, check out our Email Marketing Mistakes webcast.

Recommended For You

Most Popular

Send With Confidence

Partner with the email service trusted by developers and marketers for time-savings, scalability, and delivery expertise.