Dear *Firstname*: How to bounce back from an embarrassing email blunder

Published 01 Oct 2018 by Alice Jones, CANDDi
Read this in about 2 minutes

It’s every email marketer’s worst nightmare. You’ve finely crafted the perfect copy, and written a brilliant subject line that’s bound to get people opening your latest campaign. Then you hit send. Seconds later, as your email hits the inboxes of thousands of people, you realize you’ve made perhaps the most common mistake in marketing: it starts with ‘Dear *Firstname*.’

Your blood runs cold. The sheer embarrassment. You’ll never work in this town again.

But relax. This is an easy mistake to make. *Firstname* is a battle scar many marketers bear. Sometimes it’s worse; many journalists will tell you they’ve received emails saying things like ‘Dear *Potential Media Outlet*.’ Journalists do not like that kind of pitch.

Sometimes it doesn’t matter. It’s not unheard of for an email featuring the *Firstname* snafu to get a better click through rate than one that’s set up properly. But it still looks unprofessional and you should do everything in your power to avoid it.

Dear *Firstname*: How to bounce back from an embarrassing email blunder

It’s every email marketer’s worst nightmare. You’ve finely crafted the perfect copy, and written a brilliant subject line that’s bound to get people opening your latest campaign. Then you hit send. Seconds later, as your email hits the inboxes of thousands of people, you realize you’ve made perhaps the most common mistake in marketing: it starts with ‘Dear *Firstname*.’

Your blood runs cold. The sheer embarrassment. You’ll never work in this town again.

But relax. This is an easy mistake to make. *Firstname* is a battle scar many marketers bear. Sometimes it’s worse; many journalists will tell you they’ve received emails saying things like ‘Dear *Potential Media Outlet*.’ Journalists do not like that kind of pitch.

Sometimes it doesn’t matter. It’s not unheard of for an email featuring the *Firstname* snafu to get a better click through rate than one that’s set up properly. But it still looks unprofessional and you should do everything in your power to avoid it.

Here are three simple steps to making sure it never happens again:

1. Forgive yourself

As we’ve already said, everybody’s done it at some point. It’s embarrassing, but it’s really not the end of the world – just a lesson to learn from.

2. Understand your email software

The first step is to understand what went wrong. Did you enter the text format incorrectly? Sometimes, something as simple as accidentally using a different font can screw things up. Maybe it was a spacing issue.

Whatever it is, make sure you never do it again. If you’re not sure what the problem was, work with your email software provider to figure it out.

3. Set up a robust checking process

At CANDDi, one of the principles of our agile marketing strategy is that we share responsibility for both successes and failures across the whole team. If an email has been sent out containing ‘Dear *Firstname*,’ it’s everyone’s fault that we let it happen.

When we sent out a ‘Dear *Firstname*’ email, we introduced an improved checking process to make sure that it was the last one.

Every marketing email now needs written approval from at least two people, including one of two senior people in the marketing command chain, before it can go out. Not only that, but where possible, we prepare each email well in advance, print it out and put it on the wall in the office. This means everyone knows what’s due to go out, and everyone can check it. If any mistake makes its way into a prospect’s or customer’s inbox, it’s the whole team’s fault.

In the future, let’s hope that email marketing platforms improve their language analysis to the point where they can spot a ‘*firstname* blooper every time before it goes out. Until then, more eyes solve more problems.

Try CANDDi today

Book a demo now