Publishing an email newsletter or ezine regularly is a lot of work. And if you think that you’ll never make a mistake, think again. Even experienced publishers can make mistakes because of technology or human error. It’s all too easy to press the wrong button and have a disastrous “oops moment.”
When the mouse is quicker than the brain or you pull a really bonehead maneuver, here are five simple tips for making amends to your readership:
1. Apologize. A little old fashioned groveling never hurts anything but your pride. In today’s spam-phobic world, just a few irate readers can cause an entire ISP ban your newsletter or land your ezine on one of the many spam-blocking lists. So before anyone can accuse you of doing something wrong, beat them to the punch. Suck up your pride and send an “I’m sorry” email to your entire list. Make it humble, human, and heartfelt.
2. Hurry! Alert your entire mailing list about the mistake as soon as you can. This advice is especially important if you’re struggling with a crisis, like a hacked list server that’s cramming inboxes with multiple repeat messages. Showing readers and advertisers that you’re paying attention and really working on the problem reestablishes their confidence in you (and keeps them on your list).
3. Get Personal. Customize the subject line of your apology so it demands attention. For example, an informative subject line like “Apology For Mistake In MyEzine” works better than “Read Immediately” (which sounds like spam).
4. Explain. Tell your readers and advertisers the reasons “why” the mistake happened. Whether it was human error, a bug in your mailing software, or bad luck, give your readers a few details. Just make sure you don’t over do it trying to explain really technical problems or ramble on about your personal stress level.
5. Bribe. If your ezine blooper is threatening to send readers and advertisers packing, offer enticing perks to make up for the mistake. Maybe a free report, a coupon, some nice templates, or software can save your list and your reputation. Just make sure the freebie is good quality and original that people can’t just pick up anywhere.
An ezine publishing mistake can threaten your list. So remember that prevention is the best medicine. Be sure to test every single mailing. Also invest in a quality list server and secure hosting, and always monitor everything that’s automated.
Just in case, you also might want to use the tips above to develop your own ezine “disaster plan checklist.” That way, when the Ezine Gods get cranky, you’ll be one step ahead of them!
Susan Daffron is the President of Logical Expressions, Inc. (http://www.logicalexpressions.com) and has written more than 300 newspaper and national magazine articles. She regularly publishes ezines on computers (http://www.LogicalTips.com), pet care (http://www.Pet-Tails.com), and other topics.