What to do when you send an email by mistake and ways to prevent it from happening
Email is a valuable tool for business. It enables quick and easy communication between employees and customers, offering a fantastic way to generate new leads, enhance sales, and improve your brand marketing.
However, with email marketing, we often send numerous emails a day in large batches and they can be sent instantly. So naturally, errors can occur. We’re only human, after all.
You might be panicking and frantically Googling, ‘how do I correct an email mistake?’ Don’t fret. We’ve put together some helpful advice on how to correct an email after you’ve sent it and the steps to follow. Plus, some tips for sending error correction emails.
Here’s how to fix email errors and prevent yourself from making the same mistake again.
How can you go about fixing email errors?
It's important to remember that everybody makes mistakes, and accidents happen. So, if you find yourself on the wrong side of an email error, the first thing to remember is to stop, take a breath, and don't panic. By stopping and giving yourself the time to think, you'll be able to consider and calmly plan the next steps for correcting the email mistake in the best way. Acting right away while you are stressed can sometimes cause more harm than good. Take your time to think about how you want to respond and what you want to say.
You don't need to fix every email mistake, so when an error happens, considering if a correction email is the appropriate course of action is essential. For example, if it's something small like a spelling error or something that won't cause any confusion/problems, you most likely won't need to do anything. If it bothers you, though, you can always send a quick follow-up highlighting what you meant to say.
However, a correction email would be required if the issue is incorrect information or a broken link/wrong time for a meeting. If that’s the case, the following advice should be followed:
- Ensure correction emails are sent promptly (after taking enough time to think clearly about how to respond) for best effect, and remember to apologise for any inconvenience caused.
- Be clear and concise with your correction email: clarify the mistake, explaining what corrections have been made and why. If necessary, explain any actions that the recipient may require.
How to Prevent Email Mistakes
It's impossible to prevent email errors and mistakes 100% of the time, but you can take steps to minimise the frequency. One of the most important ones is to always proofread your email before sending it. This is essential. However, there are some difficulties worth noting.
We often see what we expect to see rather than what is actually there. As you are the one who wrote the email, you know what message you are trying to convey and what should be written. As such, you will not only understand the meaning being conveyed but also see the words as they are supposed to be written, missing specific spelling errors.
To prevent and/or reduce email error rate, follow these tips.
Read It Aloud
By reading your work aloud, you'll bypass the problems that come with proofreading in your head. Reading aloud slows you down, allowing more time for your brain to notice errors. You’ll see the words as they are written rather than as your brain predicts they should be written. Giving you time to see things that you would otherwise miss.
In addition, you'll be able to hear how your work sounds. Reading aloud enables you to notice the writing’s tone. Letting you hear how the content sounds and, therefore, gives you a better understanding of how it may land with the recipient.
Have Someone Else Read Over Your Work
Never underestimate how valuable a second pair of eyes can be. It's easy for mistakes to slip through the cracks when proofreading our own work. Asking someone else to read the email before you send it is a great way to reduce the likelihood of errors slipping through. They bring a fresh pair of eyes and, because they are not as close to the content, are much more likely to see things we missed and notice when sentence construction does not make sense, or we have repeated things we did not need to.
Take a Minute
If no one is available and the email needs to go, ‘Take A Minute’. Get the email ready to go but let it sit in the Drafts for at least a minute. Do something else, for example, make a tea or walk away from your desk for a short time. Let the email sit in Drafts and then, when back at your desk, read it one more time before sending. You will be surprised how many things you notice the second time around.
A.I.L is an acronym for Address In Last. The purpose of the acronym is to remind you to put the recipient's email address in last. The reason? Because you can't send an email without an address. So, by remembering A.I.L, you will only be able to send the email when you are 100% sure that it is ready to be sent.
A.I.L isn't just for new emails; you can also use it when crafting reply emails. Delete the email address of the person you are replying to, and when you're sure there are no errors, and it's ready, add it back in. This process ensures the email only goes to who it is intended for and it has not been sent ‘Reply All’ by mistake, which, depending on the content, may or may not be appropriate.
As a follow-up to this tip, it’s vital to double-check check WHO you are sending the email to. So try and get into the habit of not only doing a proofread, but double checking carefully who you are sending the email to before you click send.
Spelling and grammar tools
Tools like Grammarly and Hemmingway can highlight spelling issues and typos that you wouldn’t otherwise have spotted. They are more advanced than standard spell checks, and they can be used for everything you write online, from emails to LinkedIn messages and blog articles. Having a tool like this hooked up to your email can help reduce errors.
Hopefully, these brand and email marketing tips and strategies will have provided you with a better understanding of the best methods to use when email mistakes happen, and by following the tips outlined above, you will know the best approach to professionally correct them and all the ways to prevent them from happening again in the future.