Typos & Broken Links
We've all had that moment of realization that the carefully crafted email, proofed by 3 people, had a mistake. It may be a minor typo, perhaps an incorrect date or time for an event, or the common broken link problem.
Maybe you see it in the copy you receive yourself. More commonly some sharpshooter in the company points it out about the time you start getting responses from recipients pointing it out to you. It's too late.
In every case it's embarrassing, and in some cases it's a major business #fail.
You can put project briefs, processes and and double checks into place - but it still is an unfortunate aspect of B2B email marketing.
You've probably asked yourself "How can I stop a bulk email once it's sent?"
You can't of course - so instead you next set out to create the "correction email" and send that all out to your list knowing you're going to have spam reports and unsubscribes as a result. But what else are you going to do?
Well, actually, you probably can stop a bulk email even after it's sent. We'll get there after some background....
Let's backup to deliverability
You're probably hearing and thinking more about B2B email marketing deliverability.
This was a hot topic when GMail introduced it's promotions tab, but as more an more companies have implemented tighter email gateway restrictions it's becoming an insidious problem.
My clients, for instance, that tend to work with engineering, production, management and maintenance teams at F1000 companies often see alarming soft bounce results when they send bulk emails. It isn't unusual for a list of 10,000 addresses to contain 100 different contacts at a large company. When they're sent using normal bulk email best practices, all 100 essentially barrage the server at once.
The receiving mail server discerns a flood of mails from the same sender with the same content and recognizes that it's bulk mail. So it rejects them. The soft bounces are logged by the sending email server and flagged to not send in the future.
And just like that a substantial portion of your carefully cultivated email contact list is suddenly hemorrhaging contacts at important strategic accounts because their server hates marketing.
The pundits will tell you "just have them white list you."
"Yeah, right!" you say. I hear you. It's a correct but thoroughly impractical suggestion.
And then look at B2B email marketing engagement
Of course simply getting through the email gateway isn't enough any more. While you used to worry about open/read & click rates as measures of your success, today "the system" is watching your open rates.
Lots of mail with relatively low engagement will gradually erode your domain's email send health.
So it becomes critical to optimize email interaction.
That used to mean Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday mid-day blast. That evolved into sending at staggered times for delivery across timezones at the same local time of day. And recently automatic suppression of un-engaged addresses has emerged as an approach.
But leave it to marketing to screw something up. Supposedly everything we do in marketing is supposed to be tailored to the individual. The idea of aggregate data is helpful for modeling but not nurturing and engaging. So isn't it time to adapt not only the content of B2B email marketing as many do with segmentation, but even the delivery time?
After all we each have habits and routines - times we work on email during the day and times we ignore it in hope of actually getting something done. For me it's often early in the morning then mid-day. I watch periodically in the meantime but don't really engage much.
So wouldn't the real customer focused approach that we all preach be to send mail at a time that works for the recipient?
Well, you can - and further you can continuously refine the time based on the more you learn about exactly when they engage.
And that brings us back to how to stop a mass email gone wrong
See, the way you overcome the soft bounce problem is to not slam the server with many emails at once.
And the way you deliver email to contacts at the best time for them, when they're most likely to engage, is to send at specific times which you've determined are optimal for them.
You fix both of these by overlaying intelligence on your B2B email marketing - and that intelligence gradually releases individual mails against your list. It happens over time, rather than like a cannon of confetti being blasted into the ether at a time of your arbitrary selection.
Doing that (which is what you really ought to be doing anyway if you're sending B2B bulk email) means that relatively few of your emails will actually be sent in the first 15-60 minutes that it takes typically to discover the error.
And herein lies the answer to how to wind back a bulk email that you've already sent.
You don't - because you don't have to.
You simply edit the email which is being incrementally sent, and all recipients thereafter receive the correct version.
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