Four Tips to Prevent That Oops Email…..
It’s that time of the year where you wake up to 10-20 emails with catchy headlines and offers from retailers begging for your attention. While most are likely to remain unopened and head straight to trash, I’m always inclined to open the ones that call out a mistake with an “oops” headline.
Take for instance one of the smoothie giants. They sent out an email on Sunday announcing their “Customer Appreciation Week” noting a 20% off offer valid from Nov. 18– 24, this was an enticing deal that I shared with my fellow smoothie-loving co-worker on Monday. I woke up to a second email from the smoothie company on Tuesday with the subject line “Well this is awkward…” and HAD to open to see what they needed to clarify. To no surprise, it was the 20% offer. They explained how the original email mentioned the deal was all week, when it was only supposed to be a one-day deal. I immediately screenshotted the email and shared it with my co-worker with this emoji (eyeroll). Was it likely that we were going to there every day for a smoothie? No, but I was planning to stop by at least once to save $1 since there’s a location conveniently near our office.
Mistakes happen, especially in marketing where things are changing at lightening speed, so it’s important to keep it all in perspective. Some of these “mistakes” are potentially even intentional to drive higher open rates. But beyond open rates, you must consider the brand impact. Before rushing to correct the mistake with a follow-up “oops” or “whoops” email that could cause more damage to your brand than just standing by the original offer (given the offer was reasonable and not an overly obvious typo where the deal was unrealistic to stand behind), consider using the situation as an opportunity to A/B test messaging within two markets. One market would get the correction email that the offer is only valid on Sunday and another market wouldn’t get a corrected offer. At the end of the week a YOY sales analysis could be done for both markets to see if the weeklong offer helped lift and drive more sales than they would have seen from a one-day offer.
In a quick search of my email for “oops,” there are five other emails from various companies – both large and small – correcting and clarifying their offers. Here are four quick tips to follow before deploying emails so that you aren’t blending your profits away.
1. Plan ahead. Create a promotional email editorial calendar. Planning out offers in advance will lessen last minute scrambling and will allow for more time for review.
2. Proof, proof, and proof again. Have emails proofed by a minimum of two people.
3. Keep it simple. Create a list of default offers where profit margins have already been calculated and are approved by all stakeholders, including franchisees.
4. When possible, segment. Deploy emails in segments, so that if something does fall through the cracks an email can be stopped before it’s sent to your entire list.