How to write apology emails: is sorry really the hardest word to say?

We’re all human, we all make mistakes, but sometimes it’s hard to say sorry – especially if it means embarrassing yourself. Think back to the EU referendum with Ryanair’s awkward “Celebrate remaining in the European Union” sale that blew up massively on Twitter. It’s just something that happens. But what can you do if it happens to you?

Really, you need to swallow your pride. Apology emails aren’t as bad as they may seem. Everyone can recognise the familiarity of human error. In fact, there’s sometimes a more positive response to these emails than campaigns that don’t go wrong.

Research has seen that there can still be a conversion rate of 9.1%, even from campaigns that list an inaccurate price. These campaigns saw a 76% open rate – which is quite high, considering. So how do you write the apology email to clean up whatever mistake you made?

Respond quickly and clearly

As soon as you realise you’ve made a mistake, send out a correction email. Use a clear title that will immediately let your contacts know what it is you’re following up so quickly for, then get straight into the content.

Fess up to what you did

Be dignified and point out that you noticed your error and will rectify it in future emails. It might be an idea to attach a corrected email to the end of your apology, but this isn’t entirely necessary – unless the mistake was drastic. You don’t need to write streams and streams of copy, just be quick and to the point. It’s an apology, not an essay.

Keep your tone consistent

If humour isn’t something you usually do, don’t throw it into this email. You want to keep your brand tone consistent and strong and avoid coming across as unprofessional.

Follow the response rate on your apology emails

See if people click through, open or respond to your email more. Not only do you want to watch your apology email, but you also want to keep an eye on the original. Is there more or less engagement after your blunder? Does it stay about the same? This should tell you how badly this issue has affected your campaign and if whether or not you were able to fix it.

The best thing to do is to apologise and put it all behind you. Everyone makes mistakes in email marketing – they really are unavoidable. What matters is the fact that, as a company, you care enough to point out your mistake and correct it for your contacts instead of assuming it just doesn’t matter.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for any other advice when it comes to building your email campaigns, feel free to check out this guide we wrote!


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