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Making Apologies Easy: 4 Steps for Crafting a Great Apology Email

In my last post I talked about the kinds of mistakes you can make in an email that definitely do require an apology. The natural follow up to that is “Okay, I’ll apologize…but….how?”, and that’s precisely what today’s post is about:

Step 1: Subject Line

Let’s start with your subject line. First and foremost, you need to make it clear that there has been a mistake and you’re sorry. Consider using a very simple subject line, such as “We apologize for our earlier mistake”. Using something like “whoops!” or “oopsies” doesn’t help get the point across and can potentially undermine the point of your apology.

Step 2: Make it personal

Next, consider who you’re sending it from. If you’ve made a really big mistake (sending to your opt outs or sending a deal meant for someone else, for example), consider having it sent from an executive of the company. That apology will carry a lot more weight simply by virtue of having that executive’s name and signature attached to it. Don’t send from a “noreply” or “marketing” or any sort of generic address. You want this to be personal, so now is not the time to send from a role based account. That person will need to monitor their inbox for responses, so make sure you’re working directly with your IT team to do the appropriate filtering and monitoring.

Step 3: Hold the Sales Pitch

As far as content goes, *do not try and sell them anything*. I often see an apology email surrounded by CTAs touting a product or encouraging recipients to go to the site and check out an offer. Now isn’t the time for marketing your product, so keep your copy as simple, brief, and to the point as possible. The email can match your brand in copy and in your overall design, but try to keep the email as clean and free of clutter and sales pitches as you possibly can. The one exception to this is if you are planning on compensating subscribers for the inconvenience with some sort of discount. You can highlight the discount, but we recommend putting it once at the bottom of the email after the apology text.

Step 4: Try to Avoid Making Any New Mistakes

Finally, proofread. And when you’re done with that, proofread it again. Hand it off to at least three other sets of eyes to proofread that email. The last thing you want to do is send an apology that’s covered in mistakes. Send it as a test email to multiple people, send it as a live email to a different group of people, and make absolutely sure your links are working properly. The last thing you want to do is to have to send another apology email for your first apology email being full of mistakes!

That’s all for today’s post! Have you received any particularly good apology emails lately? Feel free to tweet them to me @holobachgirl!