I had one of those days yesterday – I sent out a mass mail. I was excited about it as it was regarding NewHomesDirectory.com's NHDBuzz (they have recently launched NHDBuzz.ca for Canadian Home Builders, Developers and Sales and Marketing Professionals).
I did (or thought I did) everything a good email marketer does – I created the copy, created the images, created the HTML following email best practices:
- Added alt-tags and titles to the images
- Used a good balance of images and text
- Checked the hyperlinks to the images and double-checked that they worked
- Performed a spell-check and sent to four people in the office to review
- Sent the email as a test to Hotmail, Yahoo and Gmail accounts to see how it rendered
Where did I go wrong? Well, there was a strange background colour that I couldn't seem to remove so I asked someone in the office to help me with the HTML (HTML coding is not one of my areas of expertise). We tested it again and the blue background was gone; but here's where we (or really I) went wrong – we tested it for the blue background – we didn't check to see if there were any changes to the text. Everything appeared to look fine so it got sent out to 2,500 registrants in our database and then discovered that somehow the token for the registrant's telephone number got added smack dab in the middle of the text.
A sobering experience considering I've been known to turn my nose up at other's mistakes and make comments like “Oh, they obviously didn't test this first” or “How could you not catch that spelling mistake?”
Well, I did it and I'm sheepishly admitting that it's not the first time. It doesn't happen very often and I am pretty careful, but it's maddening to realize after the fact that it could have been avoided and that yes, it was in fact a “user error”.
Lessons learned and perhaps I should review my own checklist of items before I send out in the future.