Shit…Did I just accidentally send out that email?

You thought you were sending a test email but accidentally sent a live one to your entire subscriber list.

Oh crap…Did I just send an email with an error in the subject line?

You could’ve sworn you checked, but instead, you’re experiencing every marketer’s worst nightmare.

Of course, these are just examples of some of the tiny (and not so tiny) slip-ups that can occur in email marketing. Mistakes happen all the time. On a daily, if not hourly, basis.

Especially if you’re a brand that’s used to sending multiple emails a day or week.

In fact, look at this email that Mailchimp recently sent out…➡️


See, even brands that specialize in email marketing make mistakes in their emails.

The point is, you can try as hard as you want, but mistakes are going to happen eventually.

The key is not to dwell on the mistake, but rather to come up with a lightning-fast way to fix it.

Let’s have a look at a few of the most common email marketing mistakes brands make, and most importantly, HOW TO FIX THEM.

Bad Subject Line

Maybe it’s the wrong % Off, maybe it’s the wrong date, or maybe there’s just a plain-old spelling error. Either way, you’re bummed and you’re pissed.

But don’t stay down for long. An error in the subject line should be fixed IMMEDIATELY.

As the first touchpoint of communication to an email subscriber, the subject line should be dialed in as best you can, with accurate information, grammar, and spelling. And don’t forget about being creative, your open rate depends on it.

Recommended Fix: The Tiny Bully team recently made a mistake in a subject line and our solution was to FIX and RESEND it IMMEDIATELY. In this case, the mistake was the wrong date in our monthly newsletter, so it wasn’t a huge deal. It’s ultimately up to you to decide if a simple mistake like that, or say a small spelling error rises to the occasion. But because we caught it in time, we decided to act fast.

It only took three minutes between the first email and the second email and in this case we didn’t pretend like it didn’t happen — we owned up to it.


There is nothing more deflating than sending out a sales-driving email and finding out that the coupon code or promo you’ve built is not functioning properly. The good news is you’re going to know about it very quickly.

You can bet that when your customer has a bad experience with attempting to purchase your product(s) that it will result in some instantaneous feedback.

Recommended Fix: You don’t have a choice here, you need to send a new email with the correct code. Otherwise, your sales-driving email will be all for not. While it will ultimately depend upon when you get to the root of the problem, you’ll want to resend your email as soon as you can, potentially with some added text owning up to the snafu.

Macy’s recently made a similar mistake (see above), and not only did they resend the email and own up to the mistake (only in the subject line), but they also extended the sale. Not a bad idea.

Wrong Audience

The ability to segment audiences is a godsend. But it can also be a nightmare if not done correctly. Simply put, sending an email to one audience, when it was intended for another audience, can not only result in some mass confusion but a lot of damage control depending upon the subject matter.

For example, imagine you’re a Cat and Dog Food brand and you accidentally send your dog food email to your list of cat food customers. You can see how this could get messy.

Recommended Fix: Own it. All you can do is own it. Send out another email. Let the recipients know they weren’t supposed to get it and move on with your day.

Poynter did this not long ago — letting the wrong recipients know what they received wasn’t meant for them.

messed up merge tags

“Hey <F.NAME>” doesn’t quite have the same ring as “Hey Chuck” does it? Talk about personalization gone wrong. It’s not far-fetched to believe that a mistake like this can make a customer feel less than special and therefore decide to not engage with your content, and maybe even unsubscribe.

Merge tags can be used in a variety of ways, but it’s safe to say that getting your subscriber’s name wrong may not result in a great click-through rate.

Recommend Fix Ugh. This happened to us recently and it was very deflating. The hard thing is there is no easy way to fix this, other than try and cancel the send. Provided you catch it in time. The real lesson here is to always test your emails. And when you think you’re done testing, do one more test just in case.

Want a really easy way to see how brands have messed up in their emails? Simply type something like “oops” in your email search bar and behold what is likely a long list of mistakes from the brands you subscribe to.

See it happens to everyone.

The only upside to making a mistake in your email marketing efforts is that you get one more shot at the apple — aka one more chance to speak to your audience, aka one more chance to share your sale or promo.

So while there is an obvious bright side, ensuring accurate and pristine emails should always be your brand’s No.1 goal.

Need help with your brand’s email strategy?

We know a thing or two about how to supercharge your email marketing strategy.