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Oops! How to survive email mistakes

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Oops! How to survive email mistakes

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Shame, discouragement, frustration, PANIC!

These are just some of the emotions that you feel when you’ve just sent an email containing one or more mistakes to hundreds of people. But do not yield to these emotions. After all, to err is human. Everybody makes a mistake at one point. If you’re involved in email sending, you’ll make a mistake too, sooner or later.

Sometimes, mistakes are small, like a typo or an image misalignment. And sometimes more serious, like wrong product pricing, an inappropriate sentence that you forgot to change or the use of a wrong mailing list. This is when an erratum should be used.

You made a mistake? Why not try to turn this embarrassing situation to your advantage? Some “Oops” messages even get better results than the originals. You just need to get this one right.

When to send an erratum?

Ideally, send it as soon as possible after the mistake was made. But don’t rush it too much. The last thing you want is to make a second mistake! Take the time to assess the situation, check who is impacted and whether a correction is needed. Only send an erratum for the bigger mistakes like, for example:

  • Broken links
  • Error in critical information (date, venue, time, promotion, etc.)
  • Non-functional landing page

Who to send an erratum to?

Think of who received the error in the first place. If you sent the original email to all your contacts, it’s logical to send the correction to all of them too. Same thing if you targeted a segment. You will then want to target the same segment again. But if the problem was a broken link or a landing page in error, it might be a good idea to send the correction only to those who clicked on the link or visited the page.

What to include in an erratum?

  • An apology
  • A clear indication of the correction
  • A special offer (if appropriate)

Humor works well in excuse emails. Whether you use it in your subject line, your text or your images, a light and humoristic tone allows to ease the impact of the previous mistake and show your company’s personality.

Here are some examples to inspire you:

Red Envelope

Red Envelope – Website access problems



Moosejaw – Error in registering for the newsletter



Fab – Wrong email sent



Friendly’s – Wrong promo sent

We would all love to never make any mistakes. But since they’re inevitable, it’s always better to be prepared.  Here are a few bonus subject lines you could use when sending an erratum:

  • Oops
  • Oops, we made a mistake
  • Oops! Here’s an offer for you to forgive us
  • Nobody’s perfect…
  • Date correction
  • Correction – [original subject line]
  • Oh oh, an error occured in our previous email
  • This time will be the right one
  • Our apologies
  • We are really sorry


1 comment
  • Joe July 19, 2017

    Really important thing to note here, too, is that within Dialog Insight’s platform, it’s possible to correct a tracked link once an email has been sent. Depending on how many people have opened/clicked, you may have caught the error in time, and can simply update the link!

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