Email Thursday – What To Do When You Miss Your Target… Audience That Is



Welcome to Your Daily Concept – Get smarter everyday. Today is email Thursday.

My name is Andy and I’m the Email Marketing Manager here at Exclusive Concepts.

Being in the Email industry, I am on a few email lists where we all share our experiences, ask each other questions, and generally discuss what is happening in the email world at any given time.

Recently on one of my email discussion lists, a topic came up that made me think about how to deal with a particular situation. Here’s the low-down on what happened: A large company, a VERY large company, recently sent a geo-targeted email campaign to a subset of users. This company happens to have very detailed information about exactly where their users live and exactly where they use particular devices and thus they have the ability to send a communication to, say, everyone in the greater Houston, Atlanta, and Boise Metro areas. Now, in crafting and sending this campaign, something went awry and the message, which was tailored to the specific geographic regions which were the intended targets, went to users who were in completely different areas than the areas designated to receive the emails. So the question that came out of this is what should this company do once they realized their mistake? There were a few options that were bandied about and, although I don’t know the final outcome, here are some of the suggestions about how to best deal with this error and I should probably mention that the email was used to announce the redesign of a local store:

  • Send an email to everyone who received the email by accident apologizing for the error – Not my favorite choice for a few reasons. One, many people on this list would not frequent the brick and mortar store and instead would use the online store. Since this was about brick and mortar, I’d guess that most of the recipients just wouldn’t care that much. And if they didn’t open the first email and/or didn’t pay attention to what it said, you may be bringing even more attention to the error.
  • Send an email to only those who opened the email apologizing for the error – This is not a bad tactic, but it’s kinda the same as the one above.
  • Send an apology email offering an incentive to hopefully defray the damage to the brand – This one makes sense to me… especially since it’s announcing the redesign of a physical store. Offer the users a coupon for IN STORE USE and not only do you incentivize the email but you are driving traffic directly to the store you just spent gobs of money redesigning.
  • Do nothing – Kinda like this one too, but not as much as the above choice. If you live in Atlanta and receive an email about a newly designed store in Des Moines, you’re likely to shrug it off and think “idiot email marketers” and simply move on. Especially if you aren’t very likely to use the store anyway since everything is cheaper online and you don’t need a snazzy store to buy, I don’t know, a case for your phone…

So if it was me and I made the error, I’d probably offer a coupon along with an apology… I might even try to flip it around and not only push the intent behind the original message but also have fun with it. There are lots of ways to apologize for making a mistake and weaving some humor into any apology makes the error a little easier to forgive. I know this because I’m married.

Everyone makes mistakes. Hitting the send button and realizing you mis-targeted millions of email addresses is bad, but you’ve got to keep it in perspective. A few bucks in CPM fees is nothing compared to some other types of mistakes.

So to sum it up, admit to your mistakes and instead of lamenting a mis-step and the potential damage it may have done to your brand, turn it into an opportunity to strengthen your brand by being honest and upfront and back it all up with some good-natured self-ribbing and a little offer to sweeten the deal.

At Exclusive Concepts, we offer Optimized Lifecycle Email Marketing for our clients who are looking to maximize their revenue through this unique and ever-growing channel. If you are looking for a way to get a lot more revenue from your e-mail approach, consider our Optimized Lifecycle Email Marketing service to augment your other marketing efforts. We’ll show you how it works if you’d like – just give us a call at 800-504-4324.

Thank you for listening – have a wonderful Email Thursday!