Sent an Email Marketing by Mistake? Learn What to Do to Avoid Further Damage

In our busy day-to-day schedule, we do some tasks on automatic pilot and we don’t give them the attention they deserve. This can happen when delivering a report, responding to client or even with email marketing campaigns. And that carefully devised campaign, planned down to the finest detail, can be jeopardised.

It’s only human to make mistakes, and we all know that the sheer number of tasks, responsibilities and information has made such mistakes increasingly common. Who has never sent an email without mistakes, or even to the wrong people?

Whilst being part of any campaign’s checklist, we sometimes send a campaign without doing a test email to see if everything is correct. Yes, testing is crucial! There are some good ways to turn mistakes around and offer an original mea culpa. Let’s take a look at them!

Evaluate the situation

First of all, we need to evaluate the situation. If you’ve made a mistake, cancel the campaign immediately. Check how many people have received the email, and then how many people have opened it. You may have detected the mistake in good time and therefore, be able to minimise its negative effect.

Some mistakes affect only a part of your contact list. Should this be the case, the best solution is to send a new email with an apology or even resend the material to those affected, starting with a message explaining what happened. But before doing this, check your metrics to see if performance really has been affected. We sometimes think the situation is far worse than it really is.

Evaluate the seriousness of the mistake.


If the mistake was an unintended typo, spelling or special character, there will probably be little negative impact. In this situation, especially if concerning a secondary paragraph, it’s better to just see what happens and not attract your clients’ attention to the mistake. Evaluate whether the mistake will jeopardise your business’s image, or not.

It’s also fairly common to find email marketing campaigns with incorrect links that lead to the wrong place or are broken. It’s a relatively minor problem, but one that needs to be resolved as quickly as possible, so as not to hinder your campaign’s success.

In many cases, campaigns can be corrected by simply changing the incorrect image for the correct one on the host server, yet still keeping the same filename. This is another kind of mistake that does not necessarily involve changing the HTML coding and cancelling the campaign.

Moderate mistakes

Technical difficulties on the website cause frequent mistakes, often seen in online shops. These can be due to unforeseen technical glitches, with increased traffic the website speed becomes slower, when opening and browsing, sometimes going off-line, and damaging both sales and brand reputation.

It’s important to anticipate whether the website host server has the capacity for such traffic and the suitability of the coding used. That’s why marketing and IT departments should always be well-aligned.

Sending a campaign to the wrong email list, can lead to confusion for subscribers, who may even see it as spam, jeopardising deliverability as a result.


Mistakes in pricing or event dates, for example are more serious mistakes that could have untold consequences. Under these circumstances, think about sending a correction email and use your website to clarify the information. Another good alternative is to use social media networks to transmit the correct information and answer possible client queries.

Some countries, however, have strict laws in relation to incorrect pricing in advertising.

It’s better not take the risk and keep the client on your side. If necessary, talk to a lawyer to ensure that you take the most effective action.

Tips for avoiding mistakes

  • # Create a checklist with the most important points in email marketing creation and make this part of your routine.
  • # Revision is key. Decide on which member of the team will revise the email marketing text. The creator of the email should not be responsible for its revision. Start with the email subject line, as this is a fundamental factor for opening rate.
  • # Testing is mandatory. Once again, choose somebody to perform this task. They will need to access the campaign, and check that all images and links are valid.
  • # Prepare a list beforehand containing all of the possible mistakes, and the creative approaches to be taken for each one. This guarantees that the whole team will know what to do in the event of a mistake.
  • # Prepare some email templates that should be sent in the event of a mistake. This allows for speedy crisis management.

It’s important to understand that, however big the mistake, it’s not the end of the world (I hope?). The best course of action is to acknowledge the mistake and try to correct it as effectively, and as quickly as possible. When this kind of mistake happens, be prepared to turn a mistake into a great opportunity, with a large dose of intelligence and creativity.

I have made mistakes. What about you? Share your experience in the comments box below.

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