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State of Email Marketing Mistakes [Infographic]


Make as few errors as possible, ideally none. For any email marketer, that’s a great goal. So when half of the email marketers we surveyed said that they hadn’t sent an apology or correction email in the past 12 months, we took a close look at their email production processes. Surely other marketers can learn from these error-free brands.

However, as we dug into the data, much of what we found was the opposite of what we expected. Sure, the marketers that sent apology and correction emails definitely had more sophisticated and complex email programs—and complexity certainly can lead to more errors. But they also had much better safeguards in place than marketers who weren’t sending any apologies.

Our conclusion?

Most marketers are making apology-worthy mistakes. But only half of them are aware of the mistakes they’re making. [Tweet this →]

In this infographic, we explore this issue and offer seven tips on how you can improve your visibility of email marketing mistakes.


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Mistakes are inevitable in the high-volume, high-frequency, high-complexity world of email marketing. Yet correction and apology emails are quite rare. In this infographic, we take a look at why that’s a sign of undiagnosed problems.

Nearly half of marketers don’t send corrections or apology emails.

How many times in the past 12 months or so has your company had to resend an email or send an apology email because of an email marketing mistake of some kind?

  • 0: 49.4%
  • 1: 26.9%
  • 2: 14.4%
  • 3: 4.6%
  • 4: 2.1%
  • 5+: 2.6%

(658 respondents)

That sounds like a good thing. However, when you look at the companies that send correction and apology emails, you find that they’re more likely to…

  • Have email production cycles of 2+ weeks, with 53.1% sending 1+ correction/apology emails vs. 48.9% that have production cycles of a week or less (647 respondents)
  • Use an extensive pre-send checklist, with 59.6% sending 1+ correction/apology emails vs. 48.1% that use a short checklist or none at all (641 respondents)
  • Use email preview software, with 54.8% sending 1+ correction/apology emails vs. 45.7% that don’t use email preview software (654 respondents)
  • Have emails approved by 3+ people, with 52.4% sending 1+ correction/apology emails vs. 47.7% that get approval from only one or two people (649 respondents)
  • Have halted an email send, with 59.4% sending 1+ correction/apology emails vs. 28.9% that hadn’t halted an email send in the past 12 months (596 respondents)

These brands have invested more in technology, send more email and more sophisticated emails, and have more safeguards in place than their peers that don’t send any correction and apology emails.

So while it seems that half of brands are successfully avoiding errors, it’s unfortunately far more likely that they’re just not able to successfully detect their mistakes.

7 Ways to Improve Your Visibility of Email Marketing Mistakes

  1. Use a pre-send checklist to verify that links, images, the subject line and preview text, and more are working and displaying as intended.
  2. Preview every email you send in a wide range of email clients, as their HTML and CSS support varies and changes without notice.
  3. Run your emails through spam filters to catch any content or coding that might cause deliverability issues.
  4. Send preview and spam filter test emails from your email service provider to get the most accurate test results.
  5. Involve at least two other people in the review and approval process, as it’s very hard to catch your own errors.
  6. Monitor email replies and social media chatter after sending an email to see if people are commenting on problems.
  7. Watch your email marketing metrics following a send for unexpectedly poor performance or other abnormalities.

For more information on how marketers plan, build, approve, and send emails, check out the 2016 State of Email Production.

Source: Survey of more than 900 professionals involved in email marketing between Aug. 27 and Nov. 24, 2015. All questions were optional, so the number of respondents is noted for each question throughout this report.

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