Whether you’re an email novice or a pro, we’ve all been there.

Just after hitting send you, or even worse, someone else, notices a mistake in your email that is currently being sent to hundreds or even thousands of recipients.

Whether it be a typo, a broken link, or the wrong information. Sending out a broken email can look bad for a brand. It can decrease email click-throughs, and increase email unsubscribes.

How brands deal with broken emails can speak volumes about their professionalism and competence as marketers. And if handled well, can be an opportunity to show off a brand’s excellent customer service and engagement skills.

So, to offer you a lifeline if you have sent out that dreaded broken email, here are our tips for how to turn that human error around.

Act quickly

Don’t panic. You’re only human and mistakes happen.

That being said, as soon as you realise a broken email has been sent, don’t delay in considering your next steps.

We know it can be tempting, but if there is a serious issue with an email, there’s little point in burying your head in the sand and hoping the issue will go away. In doing so, you risk your brand reputation. Implying that you haven’t noticed the mistake, or you don’t care about the customer experience enough to rectify it.

So instead, take a deep breath, remain calm, and move onto our next suggestion.

Body Shop - Oops email example

Does it really need a response?

The first question you need to ask yourself is whether your broken email requires a response.

The answer is totally dependent on how broken an email is.

As mentioned, serious errors in emails, such as the wrong content or link, need to be acted upon immediately.

However, if your mistake is a simple typo or spelling error. It is likely not worth drawing attention to.

Create a redirect

One of the most common errors made in emails is a broken link.

For instance, instead of linking to website.com/sale you may have mistakenly linked to website.com/sales.

Yes, once the email is sent you cannot go back and edit the link. But all is not lost.

In this instance, if you have created a 404 error (page not found) in a link to your domain, then you can simply use a redirect to fix this broken link. If you jump on this quickly, you may be able to rectify the link before anyone notices.

This means that recipients will be linked to website.com/sales but they will immediately be redirected to website.com/sale without them even noticing.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that if you are using WordPress, you will want to create a 301 redirect. This will create a permanent redirect for this broken link, and can easily be done with plugins such as Yoast SEO Premium or Simple 301 Redirects.

Automate a pop up

Alternatively, perhaps the error in your email is that you linked to the wrong landing page, as opposed to including a broken link.

This landing page may work perfectly well but is just not relevant to the information you wanted to send your recipients to.

In this instance, you can create a popup on this landing page to engage with email traffic as soon as they land.

For example, if a beauty brand has linked to the wrong moisturiser, they can include a pop up suggesting that recipients may be interested in the correct moisturiser.

Brands can even personalise the landing page pop-up based on the traffic referral. Ensuring it is only shown to those who have come from email.

Charlotte Tilbury - Oops broken email

Admit your mistake

If none of the above is doable, your broken email is due to more than just a link, or you simply are unable to remedy this error, then it may be time to hold your hands up and say you’re sorry.

A great place to start is by sending out a sorry email, explaining the mistake, and offering up the correct information.

In this instance, choosing a suitable subject line is key to ensuring your subscribers can quickly understand the communication and open it.

So if for instance, you sent out the completely wrong email, then you can use this opportunity to send the correct email, and notify your recipients of this in the subject line.

Misguided - Broken Email Subject line

Misguided - Oops email example

However, if the mistake was only subtle, then you may be better off sending an entirely new email with the amends clearly included, such as a correct link or information.

Artist Resident - Oops broken email subject line

It's OK you're only human. What to do when you've sent that dreaded broken email!

Monitor social media

If you’ve made a mistake in your email, then don’t forget to keep an eye on your social media channels too.

For brands with a significant social following, it is not unusual for email recipients to take to social media to question mistakes in marketing campaigns, such as email.

So be sure to identify any posts and respond to them quickly with your chosen resolution.

Alternatively, if your mistake felt significant, you may wish to apologise or offer up the correct information on your social media channels as well as via email. This is particularly successful for brands with audiences who are more engaged on social channels.

Prepare for future emails

And of course, one of the best takeaways when it comes to broken emails is to ensure they don’t happen again.

To achieve this, identify your email processes and understand what went wrong within this particular email.

For some brands, this may mean putting written processes in place for the first time. Including a clear sign-off procedure before the send.

For others, it may simply mean tweaking their sign-off processes, added others to test sends, or even creating standardised templates to ensure fewer mistakes in the future.