1 typo, lots of attention, no panicking

Mar 15, 2016 by Ronnie Apteker

We all make mistakes, er, typos. And sometimes the playful auto-correct feature turns a typo into a word that we did not intend. Yes, this is a common source of embarrassment. Sending a friend or colleague a typo is one thing, but when your company sends out a mail shot and there is a typo in it, it never feels good.

If you do send out an e-mail or a text to someone with a typo then you can always message them again and say “oops, there was a typo”, etc. But, when you are doing a mass mailer, you can’t really do that.

Not cool

I have been involved in quite a few online ventures and we have had our fair share of typos. It looks amateurish when it happens and you feel stupid, but you survive.

Typos come in different shapes and sizes. Big mistakes are when you send the right mail to the wrong person. And small typos are like this won, er, this one. Ok, that was on people, er, on purpose.

Of course, if it is big typo, like you got the date wrong for the start of the big sale, then you have to send out a new mailer with an apology and a correction.

Typos are not cool, but they are part of this new world. We obviously try our best to make sure that they don’t happen.

Emotional credit

Typos are not evil, but they are often embarrassing and annoying. The question of emotional credit should be considered here. How much cred do you have? If Amazon had a typo in one of their mail shots we would probably not even raise an eyebrow. Of course, if they did it all the time we will think they are losing the plot.

We recently had a typo in our weekly newsletter and were upset about it. We are a new online service and we are growing and making a few small mistakes. The typo was pointed out by some of our loyal subscribers and we thanked them for bringing this to our attention. It actually allowed us to engage some of our subscribers, which is a good thing.

We will endeavour to make sure we don’t have any more typos, but if it does happen, and people let us know, we could turn the lemon into lemonade for those folk.

Do nothing

The bottom line about a typo in a mass mail shot is this: Nothing. You do nothing. It's too late. Don't forget the Streisand effect. So just leave it.


If someone e-mails you, and they will, thank them for bringing it to your attention. Everyone gets the thank you. You can also apologize, when you get the mail pointing out the typo, and blame it on human error. Just don’t be patronizing with something like “We know about it, ok!"

Keep a cool head and remember that it is not the end of the world.

You can't fix an e-mail once it’s sent. Outlook’s “recall email” button doesn't work ;-)

Delight them the next time

If you did have a typo in a mass mailer, you can always try add some more delight in your next communication. Build up some more emotional credit – do something that is cool and that offers real value.

People will forgive you in life if you make genuine mistakes. It is always what you do next that matters.

Summing up

Typos happen. Less so as you grow and develop solid processes. No one likes them – they are irritating. A sign of a warp speed world. We all need to slow down and tell the roses.

If you do have a typo then life will go on. Thank those that helped you by bringing it to your attention, and put more measures in place to make sure this does not happen again.

It is the same story for when your website goes down. Don't issue a statement, don't post it on Facebook, don't Tweet, don't do anything, don't say anything. The less you say the better it is. Counter-intuitive we know, but this is what the collective wisdom of the online gurus have to say.

PS – That was: smell the roses … gotcha!

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