How an Apology Can Increase Your Email Open Rate

Alli Tunell

open rate


April 30, 2018

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Confession time … my name is Alli Menor and I’m the Content Marketing Manager for BombBomb in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I have more than ten years of professional writing experience. I received my BS in Nutrition Communications from Arizona State University and my MPS from the University of Denver in Marketing and Public Relations. And I … STILL send out an email campaign with a dreaded typo sometimes.

open rate

I work to avoid it of course. I’ve learned to quadruple-check all of my work. As BombBomb has gotten bigger, our lists have become more segmented, and our email sends are even more personalized. In fact, twice a month I send SEVEN versions of one email. And because of the magnitude of these sends, and the small margin for error, I’ve began relying on other professional writers on our team to keep me in line, and make sure our communication is seamless. Nonetheless, no matter how hard I try, that dreaded typo can still appear.

But you know what I’ve realized? Sometimes, a typo can be a good thing.

Just like some accidents can turn out better in the long run, some typos can lead you to better engagement – if you of course, apologize.

See the Stats

Apology emails in general are a good idea. The company MailGen, explains that after an issue that affected the usability of their site, they sent an apology email with a simple subject line of “I’m Sorry [first name]”

And guess what? That email received an 85.1% open rate. For information on average Open Rates, segmented by industries check out the MailChimp Email BenchMarks.

Moreover, Mike Minervini, of of RE/MAX Generations in Red Bank, New Jersey once earned $45,000 in commissions by sending an apology.

In the article linked above, BombBomb VP of Marketing, Ethan Beute, discusses the benefits on an apology.

“When we apologize, we release any guilt or shame we may feel for the error. We humble ourselves. And we’re less likely to repeat the mistake.

When we apologize, the recipients empathize with us and begin to forgive the error. They move past the mistake and stop dwelling in the past.”

My Mortifying Error

Earlier this year, I was given the amazing opportunity to attend R4, the annual, international RE/MAX conference, to connect and record videos with some of our current customers. I wanted to talk to people who were using BombBomb everyday to hear what they were doing, and how it was working for them.

So I sent out an email using the variable code that would pull “profile_firstname” and add that information into the subject line of the email. For example – “Hey Jesse, we’ll see you at R4!”

Of course, I tested the email by sending it to myself. It worked (to my knowledge at the time)! I received a typo-free email that said “Hey Alli, we’ll see you at R4!” So I confidently sent the email, only to later realize that everyone received an email – with my first name in the subject line … not their names!

How mortifying… I sent an email with my own name in the subject line and intro to 218 BombBomb power users in the RE/MAX community!

The 66% Email Open Rate

I couldn’t just let this remain the case. I had to acknowledge that I’d made a major mistake, so I prepared to own up to it with a light-hearted and fun apology.

With the subject line of course being: “You’re not Alli, I’m Alli.”

See my email below:

Snip20180327 2 | BombBomb

The video above was embedded inside my email – a benefit of BombBomb. The video allowed me to showcase my sincerity and total embarrassment. I even used a white board with a hand drawn sad face :( and the word “no” to make light of the situation.

The most effective quality of the video was that it showed humility, a core value here at BombBomb. We’ve all tried our best and still unfortunately made an error. Everyone knows that feeling, and in many cases, they will be understanding of the error if you handle yourself well in the aftermath.

So you want to know the response from my apology email? A 66% open rate! And several friendly, positive replies. And a couple additional R4 connections.

Open Rate

What to Do Next Time You Make an Email Mistake

Video is clearly the best way to convey your sincerity when sending a digital apology.

It’s important to remember that the words we say aren’t nearly as important as the way we deliver them. The eye contact. The body language. The vocal tone. It all works together.

Sending a video to apologize is the next best thing to delivering an apology in person. The message comes through far better than if you communicated through typed out text or even by phone.

The next time you make a mistake or an error, apologize in a simple video. It’s one of the top 10 times video says it better for you than plain, typed out text.

You’ll enjoy a nice open rate. You’ll get some nice replies. And you’ll give people one more shot at taking you up on the opportunity you provided in the initial send!

Try BombBomb Free

We communicate, connect, and convert most effectively in person. When you can’t be there in person, simple video messages are the next best thing. BombBomb makes it easy to record, send, and track the results of videos.

Click here to try it absolutely free for 2 weeks with no credit card information required.

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