Note: This was featured as part of our Web Wednesday segment on Charleston’s 105.5 The Bridge with Box in the Morning. You can catch us every Wednesday morning at 8:20 am ET for your dose of social media & digital marketing news. You can listen to the segment below:

It happens to the best of us: you’re going to send out a marketing email and accidentally send it to the wrong segment, there’s a life-changing typo in the midst of your email, or you send out a broken link by accident. It’s frustrating and embarrassing, but there are ways to come back from it.

There are several ways to go about your apology email:

  • Say you’re sorry and say it sincerely.
  • Let customers know it won’t happen again (and if necessary depending on the type of email you sent out, assure them no confidential information was compromised).
  • Offer something in return.

Here are a few examples of great apology emails from big brands.


Fab is an eCommerce giant that sells design-focused art, home decor, tech accessories, and more. They recently sent out a test email to their entire database on accident (and when you consider how large that email list must be, you can imagine how much of a catastrophe their marketing team was facing).

To make up for the error, they used humor in their follow-up email to apologize and explain the mistake:

#WebWeds: Top Apology Emails for Email Marketing Mishaps

They also offered a discount code for their customers to use in order to make up for the mistake. Sending out an email of only a cat picture can be pretty annoying to people on their email list, and they acknowledged that with their “litter” comment.

Pro Tip: If your brand isn’t known for having a sense of humor, don’t try to use this tactic in your apology. Instead, be sincere and use the voice your brand normally takes on.


Back in 2014, Shutterfly sent out an email to congratulate new moms. However, instead of sending it only to the list of women they’d segmented off as just having had a baby, it was accidentally sent to their entire email list.

This got some serious negative press on social media (mainly from women who had recently suffered from miscarriages or were dealing with infertility issues and were deeply hurt by the email), and the story was also picked up by major news outlets.

They sent this email out to apologize to their audience:

#WebWeds: Top Apology Emails for Email Marketing Mishaps

By sending out an email that was completely textual, they were able to convey the sincerity of their apology. They also had their CMO personally sign off on the email so they knew it was from a specific person at the company, and not just the brand spouting off an obligatory apology.

#WebWeds: Top Apology Emails for Email Marketing Mishaps

It’s important to note that sometimes the best apology for an email marketing mistake is none at all. If you sent out an email containing a minor mistake (like a small typo), there’s really no need to apologize. Simple errors like that happen, and people are all too aware of that fact.

Sending out an apology email can sometimes cause more people to notice the mishap than would have otherwise. If you’ve made a mistake in your email marketing, sit down with your marketing team and decide if it was major enough to warrant an apology, and use these examples to help craft yours.

If you’d like help with best practices in your email marketing, give us a call at (888) 632-4499 or fill out our free consultation form.

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