How to Send an Apology Email the Right Way

July 16, 2018 Henna Javed

guy with hands on head

When it comes to email marketing, a mistake can happen even if you proofread. Even if you double check. And even if you get your content peer-reviewed. Mistakes happen.

Whether you take action in the form of an apology email depends on the size and impact of your mistake. Perhaps you made a typo in the subject line. Or, maybe you sent out a hurricane awareness email in December. To 10,000 people. Who live in the Midwest!

It may seem urgent to send an apology. But, take a few minutes to think about if that apology email should go out or not.

What to do After Small Mistakes

In the case of a typo or a broken link or image, the best action to take is to avoid sending another email to the customer. A second email may end up annoying them. It also gives them another chance to unsubscribe from your correspondence.

As long as the message of the email was still clear, and there was no offensive content, it is best practice to let it go. This also ensures your mistake will not be pointed out to anyone who missed it in the first place.

Depending on the email marketing client you use, you may even be able to stop a campaign. You could then fix the typo or broken link once you notice it, and then continue with the campaign.

What to do After Bigger Mistakes

Sometimes you may make a bigger mistake, such as sending an email which is not applicable. You can send out an apology so your contacts are not left confused. As an example, here is an apology for a St. Patrick’s Day email that was accidentally sent in the middle of May.

apology email

As you can see, the email is short and sweet. They offered an apology. They explained why the mistake happened. They included a promise that it won’t happen again. And, they kept the channels open in case the recipient wanted to continue the conversation.

In such a case, it could be appropriate to include a humor in your apology email. Receiving an off-season email is not a very big deal. But, if you accidentally sent an offensive email, stay completely clear of anything except offering an apology.

What to do After an Offensive Mistake

If you did mistakenly send offensive content or something that could be viewed as in bad taste, the goal of your apology is to seem apologetic and sincere. You may try to control any damage that may have taken place by offering an explanation. But, in such a case, it is best to apologize and accept your mistake.

An offensive email could be anything from a typo which turned a non-offensive word into a something rude. Or, making light of an issue which some people may consider serious.

As an agent, one of the most important things you want from your clients (besides from their business) is their trust. In the case of a rogue email, it is best practice to gain that trust back by sending an apology with an explanation.

Mistakes Happen

Mistakes can happen. That is why it is always handy to have an apology email draft on hand. Then you can act fast, in case a mistake does happen.

You may be in a panic after sending an email with a mistake in it.  So take a minute (and consult with a team member) to make sure it even warrants an apology email.

Yes, your mistake may be embarrassing and feel like a huge deal. Especially if you sent out hundreds or even thousands of the email out. But, remember the customer already received one of those emails. So, it is probably not a very big deal to them.


About the Author

Henna Javed

Henna is a marketing automation expert at ITC, providing support to ITC's email marketing clients. Her work consists of AgencyBuzz training, helping design email templates and newsletters, blogging, and content creation. Henna holds a Bachelor of Science in political communications from the University of Texas, is a member of the Society of Professional Mediators, and is licensed in property and casualty insurance. Her passions include conservation, social media, photography, writing, gastronomy, travel, and beaches.

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