The Best Apology Email Is The One You Never Send

Today wraps up our third post in our apology series, where we’ll be focusing on the best kind of apology email- the one you never have to write. The best way to never apologize is to have a checklist of tasks you need to complete and questions you need to be able to answer before that email ever goes out the door. Today, I’ll focus on the 5 W’s of sending an email.


First and foremost, decide why you’re sending an email. What’s the point of that send, and what outcome do you want? Are you trying to get people to buy something, are you looking to inform them about how terrible your competition is, or are you trying to provide them proactive support? Use that answer to drive your copy, your layout, and your overall messaging. By understanding the reasoning behind what your ultimate goal is by sending this email, you can help take a more critical look at your email when it comes time for final proofreading at the end. A good tip here is to write that goal down and refer back to it right before you send it out for testing to others in your company. Have you achieved the goal you set out to accomplish in the beginning with this email?

Who and Where

Great, now that you’ve got that decided, let’s tackle who it’s being sent to and where. Are you trying to target your Canadian prospects specifically? Great, create an automation rule to segment based on country data or .ca in their email address. Well, but, in this changing landscape of email, we’re moving more and more toward better personalization, so does “Canadians” cut it for your segmenting, or do you want “Canadians who have clicked or made a purchase in the last 6 months”? Or maybe “Canadians living in Vancouver”? Sit down with a piece of paper and a pen (not an ipad, an actual piece of paper). Take some time to really think through your marketplace, look through your database, and find common threads for people who click and open your emails. The better you can pinpoint your market and what your buyer looks like, the better your overall marketing program is going to be. You’ll also be able to avoid sending an email for a promo to someone in Orlando, when it’s meant for someone in Saskatchewan.


Next, let’s talk about when you’re sending it. First off, avoid sending anything on the hour, because that’s when everyone else is sending email too. Try sending email at weird times, like 9:32 am or 11:16 (and do that for your meetings too!). Not only are you dealing with less competition where inbox placement is concerned, it can occasionally help with deliverability if a recipient server is overloaded at those common email receiving times. You’ll also need to consider how you want people opening your mail, meaning, do you prefer them to open on mobile or on their computer? For B2B sending, early morning, 12:08, and after 5:36 are generally good times to send if you want your email opened on a mobile device, and any time between then is best if you want it read on a computer. “But Skyler,” you say, “What if everyone isn’t in my same time zone? I need it optimized for everyone!” The best way around that (if you can’t segment by time zone) is to optimize your email for mobile and a desktop, and not stress too much about sending in the optimal timeframe for everyone. You can only do so much, and worrying about send-time optimization simply isn’t worth it.


Finally, let’s tackle what it is you’re sending. You’re sending an email, yes, but what’s in the email? Is it still full of kitten pictures and Breaking Bad Lorem Ipsum? Have you looked it over multiple times and sent it as a live email to at least three people, to have them click your links and review your design? Does it look okay in different email clients? Ask yourself these questions as you review everything, to make sure you don’t make any crucial mistakes that could require an apology. Once you’ve done that, you’re ready to send!

That wraps up this series on apologizing! Did I miss anything, or do you want to chat about it? Feel free to tweet me @holobachgirl!

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