Email Marketing Lesson: If You Realize You Made A Mistake After You Press Send, Just Admit It

┐by: Joan Pasay

A few months ago I started getting a bunch of junk Spam messages. All the messages had the same subject line. Thinking that the emails were hocking cheap Ritalin, I left them in my Spam filter and continued with my daily tasks. Besides, my ADHD was under control with my five Starbucks lattes-a-day personal remedy. Within seconds, I totally forgot about the Spam messages.

When I was doing my up my Christmas list a few weeks later, I got to my Dad┐s name and thought, ┐Dad is pushing eighty, I wonder if he might like some Viagra as a stocking stuffer?┐ I suddenly remembered all those Ritalin emails. Maybe the online drug shops had a whole variety of pharmaceuticals other than Ritalin, and I could get a great deal on my Dad┐s Viagra.

I went back to my Spam filter and searched for all the messages with that same subject line. They weren┐t hard to find, the subject was only one word -


But there was no Viagra to be found. No Ritalin for that matter either. What a rip! Now what would I get my Dad for Christmas?

To make matters even worse, I realized all those Spam emails with the ┐Whoops!┐ subject line weren┐t Spam at all. They were a whack of messages from a whole bunch of email lists I actually subscribe to. It seems a ┐Whoops!┐ message is a legitimate message that really means,

┐I made a mistake, check within for details.┐

All my ┐Whoops!┐ email messages detailed URLs that had been mistyped, web addresses that had been moved, wrong dates, wrong product prices, incorrect phone numbers and a whole variety of other issues all covered under the subject line -- ┐Whoops!┐

I even had one message that had ┐Double Whoops!┐ as a subject line since this was the second email message from the same company in a two-day time period that was riddled with errors.

I don┐t know if ┐Whoops!┐ is the greatest way to admit you made an error. How many people even have ┐Whoops!┐ in their active vocabulary? I wonder what else might be a more effective email newsletter subject line when a mistake has been made?

- "Whoopsy daisy" -- No, too, childish.

- "My parents are cousins, I can┐t help it!" -- No, too personal.

- ┐Gall darn it, dagnamit, another error!┐ -- No, your subscribers will think you need a few sessions of anger therapy.

- ┐Sorry, I am too cheap to get an editor┐ -- No, that is what your subscribers will think, but it probably isn┐t the greatest option for your subject line.


*Sincerest apologies, URL error in [insert newsletter name here]

*Sorry to have wasted your time, telephone number error

*We will try harder next time, pricing error in [insert newsletter name here]

I asked a few business associates what they thought of the ┐Whoops!┐ subject line. They all agreed it sounded like someone attempting to be ┐down home┐ and trying to appear like a bumbling friend instead of a business who is having some difficulty with the e-newsletter editing process.

I guess the lesson here is to just admit you made an error and not try to cover it up with a ┐Gee wilickers, I think I just might be a moron┐ type subject line.

None of this gets me my Dad┐s Viagra, but it has lessened the load on my over-worked Spam software. I have set the software to rescue all ┐Whoops!┐ email marketing messages and put them in the Deleted box where they belong.

About The Author

Joan Pasay

Brought to you by the -- Email Marketing Club: The only place on the Internet where Email Marketing is FUN!

Earn good karma, forward this article to everyone you know who has an email address.

Copyright Joan Pasay - 2005

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