How to Execute an Oops Campaign

How to Execute an Oops Campaign

An important email campaign regarding your business has gone out with errors. What is the appropriate next step for your business to take? This article examines different solutions based on the email error that has occurred.

It can be frustrating to realize that an important email campaign has been sent to your subscribers with incorrect information, the incorrect URL was used, or worse, information sent to the wrong list of subscribers. After the initial shock and shame has worn off, assess the magnitude of the error, and decide whether it is necessary to send another campaign as a response to the error.

When sending out an email campaign, have a checklist or extra set of eyes on the campaign to minimize errors. However, we are all human, and mistakes happen.

Errors that Don’t Require an Oops Campaign

If you’ve sent out an email campaign with a few grammatical errors, an image didn’t load properly, or one of the images was incorrect, it may not be necessary to send out a correction campaign. This would only bring negative attention towards those mistakes. Therefore, an “Oops Campaign” is unnecessary.

If you’ve linked an image or text with the wrong URL, most email platforms allow you to instantly update the link within the live campaign. Moving forward, when someone clicks on the link, it will go to the correct URL. Create a filter for those that have opened the campaign before fixing the link, and if necessary, send an Oops Campaign with the revised information to just that small group.

Errors that Require an Oops Campaign

If a campaign has been sent out that contains the wrong date/location for an important event, or sent a campaign out to the incorrect subscriber target, it now becomes necessary to send out a secondary campaign to highlight the misinformation.

Years back, a company I worked with sent out an email campaign expressing the reader won a prize, and could claim their prize pack valued at $50 through a particular link. However, the email was intended for a select group of 100 people and was sent to the entire mailing list. Once the mistake was realized, the company had to issue prizes for anyone who responded. A $50,000 mistake occurred at the click a button. Every email mistake is not a costly one but added stress at the least.


After it has been determined a correction email, or “oops” campaign, needs to be deployed, send out the corrected campaign to subscribers affected immediately. The faster you can get the correct information in front of your subscribers’ eyes, the better.

Transparency in Subject Lines
Make sure that the message is clear that this is a corrective measure, and that the initial campaign should be disregarded. If the subject line is identical or similar without attention to error your subscriber could mistake the email as a duplicate and delete before opening. Be transparent and honest to your audience of your mistake. It will build reliability and trust in the long run, which is a great silver lining.

A resort company sent an email campaign out with the incorrect URL to its return customers and included the correctional information in all caps within the subject line of the email.

Once you opened the email, it begins in paragraph form highlighting the mistake. Making it easier to identify with the corrected link as a button image below.

Subject Line Chaos
A few years ago, an airline company sent out a premature campaign to its customers that seemed to still be in development. The subject line was listed as “SMOKE TEST > Halloween” and upon realizing their mistake, sent out an Oops Campaign only highlighting the mistake in letter form. This is a difficult decision in whether it was necessary to send out a corrective campaign or let the subject line mistake go.

Unfortunately, their execution failed. The corrective campaign was sent out to include those that did not receive the first email campaign, therefore not knowing about the original mistake, as I was one of those that received the corrective campaign. Oops.


Error Checklist

To avoid the stress of letting mistakes go unnoticed, create a standard checklist of items to look for when in the testing phase of your email campaign. Rely on this list every time an email campaign is getting close to deploy. Add additional measures as errors occur to make sure the same error does not happen twice. Here are a few to get your checklist started:

  • Check all spelling and sentence syntax. Have a few set of eyes on this.
  • Are all URLs within the email correct and working?
  • Are the images loading correctly on desktop and mobile version?
  • Are the dates and locational information correct?
  • Is the campaign scheduled to send to the correct target of subscribers?
  • Is my subject line appropriate and correct?

It is important to remember that mistakes will happen and the only way to become a better marketer is to grow from those mistakes. Your subscribers will remember you for your transparency, honesty, and the idea that your brand is human too.