How to Send a Correction Email: The ‘Oops’ Email Guide 

As an email marketer, you are bound to learn how to send a correction email at some point. With so many nuances to consider, something can always escape your attention, and you can end up sending an email you wish you hadn’t.

Wrong email recipients, typos, a missing subject line, or a piece of information, you name it. There are many things that can go wrong in an email, and once you hit that “send” button, there is no going back.

But don’t despair, for not all is lost! 

You don’t have to lose your job or your sleep for an email mistake! It happens to the best of us. 

Even if you mess up, you can still more than redeem your brand with a clever, and creative email correction. 

So, how does an email marketer redeem his or her brand after a mistake?

In this article, we’ll discuss how to write and how to send a correction email that will make your brand look smart, humble, and most importantly, friendly.

Why You Should Learn How to Send a Correction Email

Artist's impression of a correction email

Having the guts to apologize to your clients and customers goes a long way in establishing your brand as a trustworthy one. 

A company that botches up an order and blames everyone except themselves will obviously not go down well with customers. 

People will likely be upset and consider taking their business elsewhere, at the very least. 

In fact, more than 90% of them WILL take their business elsewhere, without even complaining about your company’s bad service. 

And that’s not all. 

According to Small Business Genius, they will also tell “at least 15 of their buddies” about the negative experience they had with your brand.

Apologizing and owning up to the mistake, on the other hand, will set a positive tone and open the door for a new opportunity. 

Before You Write A correction Email. . .

Before you start writing a correction email, it’s important to take a step back and assess the severity of the error.

Some mistakes warrant an “oops” email more than others, and in some instances, the best course of action is to take no action. 

But let’s take a look at the most common mistakes in email marketing and grade them by severity: 

  • Minor issues such as spelling and grammar errors: These mistakes will not harm you or your customers. They won’t require you to take action except to make sure to prevent them in the future.
  • ‘Face palm’ mistakes: Errors that hinder the customer experience but are fixable.
  • Revenue-hurting mistakes: Mistakes like these hurt business sales, customer experience, and reputation.
  • Real problems: These affect the revenue and reputation of an organization. They also cause long-term harm to their customers.

As you can see, not all email marketing mistakes are created equal.

For instance, a missing or broken link can prevent customers from signing up for a particular program or service. And that will lead to a loss of revenue and conversions, in addition to hurting your brand image.

 In contrast, a minor grammar error is not likely to have these repercussions and probably won’t be noticed by your customers anyway. Thus, a correction email will only serve to highlight the error for consumers who missed it initially. 

Be advised, though: sending correction emails shouldn’t become a habit. You can hurt customer satisfaction if you keep sending this type of email. Their inboxes are boiling over with promotions as it is – you don’t want to add an unnecessary email on top of it. 

How to Send a Correction Email With Positive Sentiment 

Once you have assessed the situation, it’s time to start writing your correction email. As we mentioned at the beginning of the article, it is crucial that you own up to your mistake and apologize for it. 

You should try to put yourself in your customers’ shoes and explain how you will rectify the situation. 

It doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom, though. You can still add a positive twist to your correction email and turn things around in your favor. 

Avoid Using “Negative” Words in Your Email Subject Line 

The subject line is probably the most important part of the correction email. It shouldn’t make your recipients feel like ignoring your emails.

For that reason, you should avoid words like “Please forgive me” or “I’m sorry.” Instead, try to use words that will motivate recipients to open the email.

Example of a bad subject line: I’m very sorry, let’s see how we can fix this.

Example of a good subject line: A correction to my previous email…

Lighten up your subject line so that recipients open the email, and make sure to own up to your mistake in the copy.

Steer Clear of Strong Adjectives and Negative Terms

Using adjectives such as “terribly embarrassed” or “deeply sorry” can have the opposite effect of what you are trying to achieve.

Instead, you should try to shed a positive light on your correction email. Wherever you can, try to use a word with a positive connotation instead of one associated with a negative meaning.

For example, you can use “error” instead of “mistake.”

Here are a few negative terms to avoid in your correction email:

  • Unfortunate
  • Trouble
  • Fear
  • Problems
  • Failure
  • Bad
  • Uncertain

Side note: on the opposite end of the spectrum we have the ‘Thank you’ emails. Check out this article on how to write engaging subject lines for thank you emails.

DO NOT Play “The Blame Game”

We feel like we are repeating ourselves here, but we cannot stress the importance of not pointing fingers in your correction emails. 

The truth of the matter is, blaming others will only gonna make things worse. 

Never say anything that blames another person or group.

That would sound like saying, “We lost because we aren’t good enough.” People don’t want to hear that.

In your correction email, you should discuss how you will resolve the situation, rather than point fingers.

Put a Pinch of Humor Into It

Humor is a great way to keep your email upbeat.

As long as it isn’t offensive, even light-hearted sarcasm can be appropriate.

You could do this by making a joke about the situation or referring to something you both know that is humorous.

Humor is a great way to offset any tension your email could cause. Besides, people are always happy to hear from someone who knows what makes them laugh.

Check out the examples below in this article to see how brands have used humor in their apology emails.

Bonus Tip: A few Correction Email Subject Line examples

Subject lines for emails are the first thing recipients see when they receive a message. Make sure the subject line clearly reflects that it is a correction email. That way, recipients are much more likely to open it and see what you have to say.

Here are a few examples to get you inspired:

  • Our bad: link fixed!
  • Oops, let’s make it up to you!
  • Sorry for the trouble. Here’s what went wrong:
  • We apologize for the error.
  • Oops! Sorry for the inconvenience. Here’s the right email. 
  • Correction: What we really meant to say:
  • Oops! We dropped the ball on that one!
  • Sorry for the mishap.

You can also experiment with using emojis in email subject lines for correction emails. With a tool like Mailvio, you can even test the performance of your subject lines with a technique called split testing. 

Simply create two versions of your subject line and send each one to a different group of recipients.

Iconographic showing how two different subject lines performed during a Mailvio split test
With Mailvio, you can split-test your subject lines to see which one works best

This will allow you to see which subject line performs better, and to improve your subject line for future emails.

Don’t Abuse the Correction Email

You may find that the open and engagement rates on correction emails are very high. Indeed, correction emails routinely outperform typical marketing emails on just about any KPI. And that creates a risky temptation:

“If correction emails perform so well, why shouldn’t I consider making errors on purpose?”

Any results-oriented marketer would be inclined to at least consider this option. Nevertheless, you should definitely resist the temptation to go down that road. 

They will likely turn a blind eye to the occasional mistake, but only if you humbly own up to them and make amends.

Abusing the correction email, on the other hand, will skyrocket your unsubscribe and spam rates, in addition to damaging your brand reputation.


At some point, you may make a mistake.

And ignoring your Oops moment would make your subscribers angry and hurt your brand reputation.

Yes, we know, sending correction emails isn’t on anyone’s bucket list. Writing one isn’t necessarily the end of the world, though.

Apology emails can sometimes be turned into a positive advertisement for your company. 

Think like a recipient, not a sender. You will be better equipped to craft a correction email if you think from the recipient’s perspective. 

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