I Stuffed up!
Earlier today I sent out my weekly Digital Photography newsletter to not only the 40,000 subscribers who asked to receive it but also to several thousand ProBlogger readers who had subscribed to an old ProBlogger newsletter that I used to run (and which I’m about to start back up).
Here’s what happened:
I previously ran a weekly ProBlogger newsletter using the Zookoda service. However late last year I had so many problems with Zookoda not delivering emails and being unreliable that I ceased using it as a service. I switched my photography newsletter over to Aweber but decided to pause the ProBlogger newsletter.
Over the last week or two I’ve decided to start up the ProBlogger newsletter again and have begun to import all the old contacts that were in my Zookoda list into the new Aweber one. So far I’ve got 4000 subscribers across (Aweber only allow you to do 2000 a day to stop spammers importing massive lists).
The problem came today when I went to send my photography newsletter out and without thinking I marked it to go to ALL of my lists (forgetting my new ProBlogger one).
As a result – 4000 of you got a photography related newsletter. I feel like a complete goose and want to express my apologies. I just sent a newsletter to those who got the newsletter by mistake to explain but wanted to do it again here.
I also thought it was a good opportunity to post about managing problems like this on your blog.
What to do when you stuff up on your blog
1. Admit your mistake – as soon as I found out what I’d done (when a couple of people emailed to let me know) I immediately started working on an apology email. The temptation when this kind of thing happens is to either put your head in the sand and hope it’ll go away or to make excuses. Both are mistakes. Admit your mistake quickly – apologize and do what you can to respond to any complaints.
2. Respond personally to complaints – a few people have emailed complaints about the newsletter – a couple were angry. I sent personal emails to these people to talk them through my mistake and to give a second apology. In most cases they responded to this very positively. A little personal attention counts for a lot.
3. Look for the positives – I had ten people email me to let me know about my mistake. Four of these surprisingly thanked me for the mistakenly sent email and asked where they could subscribe to it because it was on a topic that they had some interest in. Another two emailed to thank me for it because it gave them ideas for their own newsletters and thought it was a good example of how to use a newsletter to promote a blog. These emails gave me a bit of a giggle but then I realized that perhaps there was an opportunity. I added a ‘PS’ to the apology email that I sent out saying:
“PS: ironically some of you liked the newsletter and want to subscribe.
You can do this at www.digital-photography-school.com/blog in the sidebar.
Otherwise – take this as an example of how NOT to use newsletters to build community and promote your blog!”
Perhaps this is a bit of a risky and slightly cheeky thing to do but since sending out the apology email I’ve had 25 emails from readers. Each one has been positive and quite a few have said that they enjoyed the newsletter and have subscribed to get it again. I wouldn’t recommend this type of mistake as a promotional tactic – but sometimes there are hidden positives in the mistakes.
PS: if you’d like to subscribe to the ProBlogger newsletter that I’m going to restart – stay tuned because I’ll be posting about it next week.