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The Oops Email: How To Fix Email Marketing Mistakes

Jul 28, 2020 12:15:00 AM

So what happens if you make a mistake? Today we’re going to talk about the oops email. If you’ve done email marketing long enough, there will come a point where you will make a mistake.

Minor mistakes here and there aren’t the end of the world. Bigger mistakes (like emailing to subscribers who opted out or sending your emails to purchased lists) will reduce your deliverability and you on blocklists.

But if the mistakes are minor, like forgetting to include an attachment or using "To First Name" in the greeting, sending an "oops" email may be the way to fix it. The purpose of an "oops" email is to apologize for the mistake, then let the user know that you are actually human and (hopefully) win them over with your charm.


Oops Email Do's and Don'ts

This type of message can be useful, or it can make matters worse, so be careful how you approach it. The number one thing to remember is to be 100% genuine.

When you do make a mistake, people are very very forgiving. That is, if you do it in the correct way. Be real. Be human. 

Compose an email that is 100 percent text (this isn't the time for flashy graphics and snazzy design).

While this might seem trivial, picking the right subject line is important to set the right tone from the start. Sometimes a simple “oops” is all you need.

Of course, you don’t want to make a mistake on purpose and then try to send out an oops email. That’s not being genuine.


  • Apologize
  • Own up to the mistake
  • Put a real person behind the message


  • Upsell
  • Send another offer
  • Wait to send the email

Oops Email Example

Here’s a great example of an oops email. It’s text heavy, it’s personalized. You’ll see the person’s name at the bottom and you'll see that it calls attention directly to the mistake. It’s not offering a coupon; it's simply saying “hey, we’re sorry. Mistakes happen. We hope you forgive us.”

An example of an Oops Email in Email Marketing

So if you’re writing an oops email, make sure it's genuine and to the point.

But also make sure you send it out as soon possible, once you realize the mistake happened. Don’t wait until the next day, two days, three days, four days. Do it as soon as possible. That’s why I always recommend text-based emails.

Avoiding Email Mistakes

All humans make mistakes. But we also tend to be forgiving when someone apologizes. That's why It’s important to address the situation, correct the record, and own the mistake.

But the best approach is to avoid the mistakes to begin with. Test your messages before sending them! It’s the best way to put yourself in your subscribers’ shoes to see messages the way they will see them. You should make a checklist that covers:

  • Spelling and grammar
  • Images
  • Links (are they working?)
  • List/Segment (are you sending the right message to the right people?)

There’s a reason email marketing is still the most effective marketing channel; the ROI can be impressive and it's not hard to build a targeted audience of qualified leads. Still, marketers are only human, and sometimes mistakes do happen.

But if we respond the right way, making a few mistakes along the way can help us learn, grow, and ultimately become better marketers.

Written by Jason Boehle