Avios made a great big email marketing mistake today:  they sent me an email message alerting me to their forthcoming sale… that had already expired.

I can hear somebody saying “oops.”  Technically, this is what we marketing professionals call a “goof up”.

email marketing mistake


I said to myself, this email must be a mistake. The deal is over. But I clicked through:


email mistake - offer expired



As every marketer knows, mistakes like these happen.

But the big question is:  what should you do next to fix things when an email marketing mistake happens?

You have a number of options to consider.

Send an email correcting the situation

I would suggest using this option with caution: the more emails you send to me, the more likely I am to be annoyed and unsubscribe.  So if it is something minor like a typo or a broken image, don’t annoy your readers with a follow up email.

Only send a correction for substantial errors that will impact your business, and be sure to send messages designed to make life easier for your customers.  Corrections that should be made might include dates that are wrong, incorrect phone numbers, or misleading information that impacts on our relationship.  If the mistake isn’t substantial and can wait til the next newsletter, then it might be best to wait.

Should Avios send an email correcting the situation?  Almost certainly.  I clicked through to make sure I wasn’t missing their offer, and was annoyed by the resulting landing page.

That leads us to the next step.

Fix the landing page

In this case, the Avios  email has a link to an all purpose “this offer is no longer valid page.”

I would suggest immediately creating a bespoke landing page that makes the apology, explains the situation, and if possible redirects me to the latest offer or some other positive user experience.

Could light hearted humour be appropriate here? It depends on your brand, but it often works well in these situations.

Monitor the situation

When a mistake like this happens, it is essential to monitor the resulting Unsubscribes, Click Thrus, and other measures that you think are important.

Of course the plan is to prevent things like this happening, but when it does you need to know what is the aftermath and what impact has it had on your relationships.

Use your social media channels

Your email subscribers are likely to pop right over to Twitter or Facebook and start asking questions, so be prepared with your response.

You are likely to have unhappy customers, so a swift and factual apology is the best course of action.  In this example, Emily at Avios has done a great job difusing the situation, and signposted to alternative offers:

Email Mistakes - handling using Twitter


And I’m sure Avios are handling the other complaints on Twitter, perhaps by using private Direct Messaging?

avois email mistake


Mistakes happen… and what really matters is what you do next to fix the situation.

I will update this post once I see what steps Avios takes to fix their email marketing problem!


Just a few hours later, I received the following apology.  Perhaps a bit terse… but something is better than nothing!

Well done, Avios, for handling the situation well on social media, and addressing the issue promptly.

avois apology

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