How to Write an Email Correcting a Typo or Other Mistakes

How to Write an Email Correcting a Typo or Other Mistakes
18 September, 2023 • ... • 15861 views
Daria Zhuravleva
by Daria Zhuravleva

Last night Nina was in a hurry and sent an email with a typo to a contact list of 7,000 customers. She only found that out in the morning, and she’s terrified! But are typos in mass emails really a big deal?

Follow Nina’s story and learn all you need to know about typos in emails and what to do if you found yourself in a similar situation.

Common email mistakes

Nina has anxiety and maybe some attention issues — but at least she knows how to ask for support. She wrote a message in the group chat of email marketers and she found out she’s not alone. Even experts in marketing make mistakes too, and they can be way more serious! Let’s explore the most common email mistakes Nina’s colleagues told her about.

Spelling and grammar mistakes

No morning coffee, general clumsiness, the lack of time for preparing the campaign, like in Nina’s case — and now thousands of your subscribers received an email with the subject line that says “Your going to love this”.

Spelling and grammar mistakes in marketing emails may vary in severity. This one is, for example, just unprofessional but it doesn’t radically change the meaning of the sentence: people will understand what you were trying to say. 

However, it doesn’t mean you should relax. According to Tidio’s 2022 survey, 97.2% of customers would change their opinion on a company if they found a grammar mistake in its branded content — including emails! That’s why proofreading is important.

Wrong recipient

Nina’s friend Ally sent an upsell email to the contact list of partners who already claimed the offer — that was embarrassing! The human factor or technical issues, sending an email to the wrong segment or the wrong list can happen to anyone. Even automated marketing emails can go wrong. For example, Emma’s subscribers received confirmation emails although they already opted in the brand’s newsletter:

An apology email from Emma where Kalyn, Director of Customer Marketing, apologizes for subscription confirmation emails sent to active subscribers
Source: Really Good Emails

The cut-off subject line

Mobile email clients don’t have a lot of space for subject lines — and, if there’s not enough space, they get cut off to fit in the page layout. And, sometimes, trimmed subject lines can become misleading or even embarrassing…

A screenshot of a cut-off subject line that says “Celebrate the long weekend with cock…”
Most people won’t think about cocktails when they see it. Source: Litmus

The secure info leak

This one is the most serious email mistake on the list and may end up in a lawsuit against your company. Data security issues can be as consequential as accidentally violating your company’s NDA or mass mailing customer information, or as minor as using a street picture with no blur over cars’ license plates. 

Data leaks can be detrimental to the success of your business — but it doesn’t mean you can’t recover from them. A right correction email and crisis PR efforts can get you out of many things. However, better safe than sorry — we’d suggest proper email testing and improving data security before hitting send instead.

The broken image

Imagine working hard to design a good-looking email, choosing beautiful, carefully curated pictures — but your subscribers will see an email that looks like this:

Broken image in email demonstration: instead of a picture there’s a blank outline of an image with an icon that looks like a sheet of paper with a drawing and a cut-off corner
The recipient won’t have a great day. Source: Google Help

It may happen because of HTML code errors or tricky email clients that don’t support certain image formats. To prevent that from happening, you can use image validation tools like the one from Email on Acid to ensure that all your content displays correctly regardless of the device. And for better email accessibility, make sure to write proper alternative text for visual content so people with visual impairments or poor internet connection don’t miss out. This is how you can ensure the success of your email design efforts — even if something happens on the recipient’s side.

The broken or missing link

Broken or missing links in marketing emails can seriously plummet your revenue and worsen customer experience. For example, if you send a pre-order link that leads to a 404 page or an announcement of a new collection with an unclickable CTA button, your subscribers will be frustrated. In this case, an apology email is a must — like this one from Mi Piaci:

A correction email from Mi Piaci where the brand apologizes for broken product links in their previous campaign
Source: Milled

How to send a correction email

After talking to her colleagues, Nina is less worried about the mistake itself — now she knows that a typo in an email is not a catastrophic obstacle on the way to success. However, what’s done is done, and she still has to deal with the consequences. She was thinking of sending a correction email to everyone affected by the mistake, including the company’s business partners. If you’re in a similar situation, you might do the same — let’s walk through the process.

Decide if you need to send a correction

A typo is a minor error, and sending an apology email may draw more attention to something most people wouldn’t even notice. Yet, not all typos are alike — ask yourself these questions for making a decision:

  • Did the typo cause misinformation? For example, you’re promoting a webinar that starts at 12 PM but you made a typo and told your subscribers that it starts at 11 PM.
  • Is the typo offensive? For example, you misspelled a word and now it looks like a swear word or a slur.
  • Did the typo prevent subscribers from performing the target action? For example, a misspelled link to your store led to an error page, or you sent a misspelled discount code that didn’t work and your subscribers were left without the offer you promoted.
  • Did the typo change the meaning of your message? For example, “Free shopping” is not the same as “Free shipping”.

Build a list of everyone who received the previous campaign

Nina used behavior-based contact list segmentation to promote certain products to different people. One of these segments received a marketing email with a critical typo that requires corrections, the rest of your list received emails with no mistakes. Does it mean she has to send an apology email to everyone?

Admitting you messed up doesn’t mean screaming about it all over the internet. Drawing unnecessary attention to an error in your newsletter can make it worse and rob your business of potential success. In this case, Nina should send a correction email only to those subscribers who were affected by the mistake in question.

Determine how to address the error

Nina’s friend Ally wrote an apology email after sending an offer to a wrong contact list segment. After a private chat with her, Nina understood that a baseline apology email consists of these four elements:

  • An error explanation in a clear and concise way. For example, “Last night we sent you an email with a broken link”. 
  • A short instruction for subscribers that explains what they should do, considering the fixed mistake — for example, “The correct link to our new collection is here”. 
  • Reassurance it won’t happen again — for example, “Sorry for the inconvenience, we’ll test links in our emails better next time”.
  • A compensation for the mistake — for example, “Use our one-time code OOPS3879 to get 10% off any item you couldn’t check out because of the broken link”.

Write a proper response

How to write a perfect correction email that adheres to email etiquette and wouldn’t annoy your subscribers even more? Ally shared some great tips for effective apologies:

  • Keep it short. A correction email is another email, and your subscribers don’t have time to read a long story of how you messed up. Explaining what went wrong, proving you fixed it, and optionally making up for your mistake is enough.
  • Send your email as a reply. Your subscribers’ inboxes are probably cluttered and if you send a correction email out of nowhere, they won’t be able to link this correction to the initial campaign.  By the time they read the correction, the email with a mistake will be already down to the void of 600 unread notifications. Sending it as a reply is a way to clarify the situation to your customers. 
  • Don’t shift the blame. Please refrain from phrases like “Sorry, our intern/my colleague did it” — don’t use them even as a joke. Your customers are not interested in reading a whodunit novel of an email, and, if anything, blame-shifting looks like your company has accountability issues. Saying “Yes, we messed up” is more honest and worthy of respect.
  • Keep it light-hearted. It depends on a mistake — for example, if it’s related to data security issues, throwing jokes here and there is inappropriate. But if it’s a minor inconvenience for customers, don’t sprinkle ashes on your head. It’s not the end of the world and no one died because of a typo — just admit you made a mistake without dramatization. Even better, a funny and friendly email will make subscribers feel genuine sympathy for you.
  • Maintain your tone of voice. Correction emails count as branded messages. Use them as an opportunity to express your brand personality. For example, if your promotional emails are playful and informal, an apology email written in bureaucratese would seem out of place.

Choose the right email subject line

Unlike promotional campaigns, correction emails leave less room for creativity when it comes to email subject lines. This type of email is more structured and it should be easily recognized in the inbox. Typical subjects for such emails include:

  • Let’s try this again
  • Oops, we made a mistake!
  • Sorry, we fixed the link
  • Sorry! Here’s the correct code
  • Sorry, we made a mistake
  • Apologies for the error
  • Oops, butter fingers! That’s what we meant to say

Correction email templates

Need to write a perfect correction email but you don’t know where to start? To help poor Nina, we found five correction email templates for different kinds of critical typos. You don’t need to follow them letter by letter but they can be a great starting point for your email.

Correction email for a typo that led to a broken link

Hi [Name],

We recently sent an email campaign with a subject line [subject] that had a broken link to [website]. You probably were upset and frustrated when you saw that 404 page, and we’re sorry about that. Here’s the correct [link].

We promise it won’t happen again — we misprinted the address in our previous email, and we’ll check all our links more attentively next time.

Thank you for your understanding.

Sincerely,  

[Sign-off]

Correction email for a typo that led to discount code issues

Hi [Name],

You probably noticed that the discount code from our last email didn’t work — it’s our fault! We made a typo, the correct one is [new code]. We apologize for the inconvenience. As a compensation for our mistake, we offer [gift/another discount code/etc]. 

We’re sorry and we’ll do better next time!

Sincerely,

[Sign-off]

Correction email for a typo that led to misinformation

Hi [Name],

If you see this message, it means we accidentally misinformed you! In our last email about [offer] with the subject line [subject], we wrote that [information]. It was a misprint — here’s what we meant to say: [information].

Please accept our apologies and we promise we’ll check our emails before sending better next time.

Sincerely,

[Sign-off]

Correction email for an offensive typo

Hi [Name],

You probably noticed a “funny” [subject/preheader/header/CTA/etc.] in one of our recent emails. We shouldn’t have said [the incorrect variant] in the first place — and that’s not what we meant! It was a typo, the correct [email element] is [the correct variant].

We’re aware we offended many people by this mistake, and we sincerely apologize. We have already optimized the email testing process before sending to ensure it won’t happen again.

Sincerely,

[Sign-off]

Correction email for a typo that caused misunderstanding

Hi [Name],

We recently sent an email that said [incorrect variant], which probably led to confusion and misunderstanding. It was a typo! Here’s what we wanted to say: [correct variant].

We’re sorry for the inconvenience and we’re aware that this typo made our initial message look weird and unprofessional. We’re working on improving our email testing process to ensure it won’t happen again.

Sincerely,

[Sign-off]

Final thoughts

Typos and other email mistakes look unprofessional, can lead to brand reputation issues, customer frustrations, money losses, higher opt-out rates — and hinder your company’s success in general. But making a mistake in your mass emails doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world and your business. The solution is addressing your mistake with a right correction email — here’s how to do it the right way:

  • Decide if you need to send it in the first place. Address only serious mistakes that actually got noticed and frustrated your subscribers.
  • Build a list of everyone who received the previous campaign. Don’t draw unnecessary attention to your mistake — only send the email to those affected by it.
  • Determine how to address the error. Briefly explain what went wrong, instruct your subscribers on what to do, fix the issue, and say that it won’t happen again. You can also offer compensation for your mistake — for example, a discount code.
  • Write a proper response. Keep it short, don’t shift the blame, address the issue in a light-hearted manner unless it’s a grave mistake like data security issues, and maintain your brand’s tone of voice.
  • Choose the right email subject line. Your correction email should be quickly recognized as one. Use words like “Oops”, “Sorry” or “Let’s try this again” to mark your email as an apology.
18 September, 2023
Article by
Daria Zhuravleva
I'm a writer with 3 years of experience, knowledge and interest in all things IT and marketing, and a passion for the English language. As a staff author at Selzy, I see my mission as an educator who makes your life easier by explaining complex topics in a digestible and somewhat entertaining way. Hobbies include birdwatching, all things music and art, writing freeform poetry, and hiding in the woods.
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