(the sound of me screaming) Email Marketing Mess Ups & How to Recover

15 Oct 2013
Best Practices
Ian Marshall

The sound of me screaming - one of the best subject lines ever

Have you ever found yourself understaffed, under the gun and having to juggle waaaaay too many things in a day?

All of us have been there. And somewhere in a dark corner of our minds we know that something’s gonna break. You're gonna drop the ball. It’s inevitable.

So what do you do when you find yourself in this situaton and you've messed up big time with your email marketing?

Ignore the issue and hope it blows over?

Or tackle it head on?

This was the conundrum that the direct response copywriting legend and genius Andy Maslen faced recently.

He messed up.

Not a HUGE mess up. But it was an error that needed to be fixed fast. Why? Because he was in the middle of a launch for an upcoming workshop he was hosting.

Here’s the initial mess up…

Andy Maslen - Email Marketing Mess Up's

Not an earth shattering, the stock market is going to crash and walruses are gonna start falling from the sky kinda mistake.

But it was an oversight that would confuse his subscribers and potentially siphon out any potential revenue he was hoping to snag from the workshop.

So how did Andy recover from this gaffe?

By addressing the screw up head on and in the process creating one of the best subject lines I've seen in a very long time (the subject line's below).

Here's the email he sent out...

Andy Maslen's recovery email

And here’s the subject line...

Awesome subject line


<the sound of me screaming>

Pure genius. It was so intriguing and different that I was compelled to open the email. Like some unseen force was controlling my actions and thoughts (must open email. must open email).

And even if I wasn't able to check his message right then and there - the uniqueness of it would have driven a wedge in my brain so deep that eventually I would have done whatever was in my power to wrestle myself free from the world so I could read it.

So many times we think that we can't be human with our marketing efforts. That there's no room for error. And that if we do mess up somehow that we'll be shunned by the world. Forever walking around with our own scarlet letter of shame for everyone to see (especially our boss).

But in reality that's rarely the case.

We all screw up from time to time. The key though is how you handle it and what you do to recover. What kind of grace and humilty do you show to the world as you shine a light on your moment of oversight.

We all have a tremendous capacity to forgive. This includes your current and potential customers.

And maybe the mess up and how you bumble your way through the recovery will actually endear those people to you even more.

I know in this instance it did for me.

I'm already a fan-boy of Andy. His book, "Write to Sell" fundamentally shifted the way I approach copywriting. I even went on to register and study from this Master directly when he released his first ever online copywriting course.

And when this email hit my inbox the subject line stopped me cold. It was so intriguing that I HAD to open the message. And how he handled the whole situation actually made me go and check out what the course was all about (even though I live in Canada and the workshop was taking place in the UK).

So what can you learn from Andy if you happen to screw up with your own email marketing campaigns?

First off breathe (or scream). Then address the issue directly and honestly - baking into the moment your humanity.

And like Alexander Pope said, "To err is human." and we all need a little more humanity injected into our email marketing and business efforts.

(I want to say a HUGE thank you to Andy for being so super awesome and letting me share this story with you. Andy Maslen is the Managing Director of the copywriting agency Sunfish and the founder of The Copywriting Academy.)

The MyBizMailer Team

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