If there’s one takeaway from the accidental test email reportedly sent by an HBO intern earlier this month, it’s that mistakes happen with automation. Your own digital marketing is no exception. Your leads might get the wrong email with a typo here, a piece of coding there, a “[First name]” at the introduction when it should simply be “Jane,” etc. That these periodic errors happen isn’t nearly as important as how well you respond to them — because, at the end of the day, they might actually benefit your social presence.
They make you look human
Most marketing emails are typically very polished because you want to look professional for your audience, establish your credibility, and demonstrate that you value your material enough to proofread it. But you also want that material to seem real, personalized, and directed at your audience. While that’s usually done through targeted messaging, you may find that occasional typos or formatting goofs can lend an unintentional air of authenticity. These mistakes may even prompt your leads to respond when they wouldn’t normally have. Again, our HBO intern is a good example, considering how many people showed their solidarity after the company issued a statement.
They can help your open rate
Email corrections are nothing new. You see them issued when a previous one had a discount code that was inaccurate, or a link that may have been faulty. And sometimes you simply send the wrong email to the wrong audience. Throwing “Correction” into your subject line and resending the appropriate message can sometimes improve your open rate. That’s because even the people who didn’t notice your first email may feel a sense of urgency from seeing the word correction, believe that they’ve missed something important, and are now prompted to read about it.
Give them a positive spin
The one thing you shouldn’t do is panic. Emails go out every day, sometimes to the wrong people, sometimes with the wrong message. While you might be afraid this will somehow pull the curtain back and reveal your secret — you haven’t really been the one single-handedly sending those carefully crafted messages every week — your leads will understand, and even expect it. They’re already the recipients of plenty of automated emails from other marketers, after all. When you’re proactive and put a positive spin on these mistakes, two things are more likely to happen: people will either respond to them and you can all share goodwill in the “oops” moment together, or they’ll be completely overlooked and forgotten. Either way, no big deal.
Am I saying we should throw caution to the wind and just send whatever we feel like, the stranger the better, in hopes of generating new opens, clicks, and responses? Probably not. That’s pushing into clickbait territory, which can certainly be eye-catching, but ultimately lacking substance and detrimental to your brand. Instead, acknowledge that not everything you send will be perfect, and turn those noticeable “mistakes” into teachable moments and marketing opportunities.
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