You sent 100,000 emails to the wrong list... You directed people to last year’s action... You addressed everyone as “Jane”... It happens. Stop hyperventilating. It’s time to focus.
Here’s your action plan.
- Assess the damage. If the error was only minor—if you messed up a link that few people are clicking on—let it slide. You’ll just annoy people if you draw attention to a tiny thing that they missed.
- Be responsive. If the damage warrants an apology broadcast, get onto it, quick.
- Be human. Some of the most endearing emails are mass apologies. This may be an opportunity in disguise to build connection and show your supporters that they’re hearing from a real person. There’s nothing more human than making a mistake!
- Be reassuring. People get nervous around digital mishaps, especially when they involve emails going to the wrong recipients. Unless your glitch was caused by a security breach (poor you), assure your readers that their information remains safe and secure.
- Expect it to get noticed. Apologies, vulnerability, candid moments—these things don’t hit our inboxes very often. It’s not uncommon for an apology to gain more attention than the thing it’s apologizing for! (If you’re thinking there must be a lesson in here for other broadcasts, well spotted there is).
- Include the original. Your apology will reach people who might have missed the original message. This is a bonus if your aim is to draw attention to the original message. Include the (corrected) original for the benefit of everyone.
Don’t think it won’t happen to you. Send emails for long enough and eventually something will go terribly wrong... If you do find yourself needing to send out an apology, join the club. Then look on the bright side: you’ll probably give your engagement a little kick. And you’ll never make the same mistake again!