The Power of an Oops Email

We’ve all been there: you send out an email to your list, but it’s only after it’s been delivered that you notice a glaring mistake.

An incorrect date or time for an event. An outdated address. The wrong hyperlink in your CTA. 

While errors like these are embarrassing and frustrating for everyone, they also present you with a unique opportunity: an “oops” email.

But what is an oops email, and why is it so important? Keep reading to find out.

What Is an Oops Email?

An oops email is a follow-up email you send after you’ve already sent out an email with an error. Sometimes, these emails go out mere minutes apart, especially if you’ve caught your mistake right away. But other oops emails are sent days after the initial error, possibly in response to customer questions or complaints.

An oops email is an admission of wrongdoing. It’s your brand’s chance to tell your audience, “we messed up, we’re sorry, and here’s how we’re fixing it.”

But your oops email shouldn’t just be the original email with the error corrected. You need to address that you messed up and be specific about what that error was.

Great oops emails should include: 

  1. An eye-catching subject line
  2. An earnest apology from your brand for the mistake
  3. A specific correction of the original email. You might bold the fixed text or put it in graphic to make it extra obvious


And depending on the kind of mistake you made, you might use an oops email as a chance to give affected recipients a coupon code or special offer along with your apology. This special offer can help make up for any inconvenience your audience felt because of your error.

Oops Emails Get More Engagement

Oops emails consistently get better open rates than most other marketing emails. That means more people will open and read your oops email than the original email with the error.

This can be a little frustrating as a digital marketer, but it makes sense. Mistakes pique an audiences’ interest. Sending out an oops email is sort of like the marketing equivalent of submitting your own tape to America’s Funniest Videos. You might be embarrassed, but you’ll also get more attention.

And it starts with a great subject line. 

Your oops email subject line should establish that you’re making an apology. Lean into your brand voice. Are you professional? Cool? Quirky? Find a way to admit your mistake while maintaining that voice. 

Here are some examples: 

  • Whoops! We messed up.
  • We are sorry for the inconvenience.
  • About that last email we sent. . . 
  • We goofed. Can we make it up to you?
  • Oops! Let’s try that again. 


Your readers will be curious to know how you messed up and to see how you handle your mistake. 

*An important note: do NOT purposefully make mistakes so you can send out oops emails for better open rates. Your audience doesn’t have endless patience, and people will get tired of frequent mistakes and apologies. Save your oops emails for real, organic mistakes. 

Oops Emails Keep You Human and Humble

Sure, it’s nice to see your email open rates go up when you send out an oops email, but what’s more important is the relationship you’re forging between your brand and your customers.

People prefer to make purchases from other people. It’s why we recommend you include a real person’s name in your marketing email “from” field and signature. It’s why personal testimonials are effective at generating conversions. And it’s why oops emails are so powerful. 

An oops email reminds your audience that you’re human. 

Depending on your brand voice and your audience’s expectations, you might joke about your mistake. “We were so excited about this event that we sent you the wrong email!” or “Whoops, we hit ‘send’ before we had our morning coffee.” But the message is still the same: our business is made up of people who occasionally mess up.

Be open and honest about your mistake, and, if you can, give your recipients something of value like a coupon code. An act of earnestness and generosity can turn your mistake into a positive experience for your customers. 

Remember, your brand is the guide on your customer’s journey to achieving their goals. All guides, even Obi-Wan Kenobi and Gandalf, make mistakes, and the best ones know how to make a good apology.


Need extra hands with your email marketing so you can send out oops emails when accidents happen? Or maybe you could use some eagle-eyed editors to catch mistakes before you hit send? Schedule a call today, and let’s talk about how our team can help take your email marketing to the next level with consistent brand voice, relatable storytelling, and attention to detail.

Ready to tell your story? Let's get started.

Get Marketing Tips Every Monday: