20 unsubscribes + 2 refund requests from 1 email!

47 replies
Well I just did something I never thought I would do.

I always -- always -- double check my emails before they get sent.

When I write my emails I do so in notepad, and I put my Dads name in as
a place holder for the personalization code.

Well I forgot to remove his name. So everyone got an email referring to them as Tom. This was an email asking if they had any questions as I was updating my guide and wanted to include a Q & A chapter.

I didnt catch it and only discovered it had happened once I had over 20 emails in my inbox that ranged from extremely pissed off to slightly upset.

I got 40 unsubscribes and 2 refund requests from around 400 recipients!

I never would of thought it would of caused as much upset as it did!

Uggh! Bad day.

Guess its time to start triple checking
#email #refund #requests #unsubscribes
  • Profile picture of the author Dmaind
    Mistakes are COSTLY but wisdom is PRICELESS!
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  • Profile picture of the author PLRExpress
    I'm surprised you had 20 angry emails. I've received emails from people that have put my name wrong. I can't say that it bothers me.

    I've had someone send me an email that was intended for an entirely different list. I tend to just laugh, not get angry. It's kind of funny.

    Do your email list actually think that you sit and write an individual email to them all and that it's not sent out to many?
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    • Profile picture of the author Shaun OReilly
      Sometimes when you check your own work, then you
      can get a bit of 'blindness' when it comes to spotting
      mistakes.

      The mistake you've made is relatively minor and most
      of the people who've left you because of your faux pas
      are probably better being off your list anyways.

      Use this mistake to improve your procedures.

      In future, don't use your Dad's name (or anyone else's
      name) in your notepad file. Instead, use the shortcode
      for the first name, e.g. $firstname$ or whatever it is
      for your autoresponder.

      As an aside, I always triple-check my e-mails - especially
      to test out links to make sure that they work.

      Dedicated to mutual success,

      Shaun
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      • Profile picture of the author Ashley Gable
        Originally Posted by Dmaind View Post

        Mistakes are COSTLY but wisdom is PRICELESS!
        Thats exactly what I am trying to think of this as... A LESSON!

        I'll never let an email go out with out being 100% sure it is exactly right.

        Originally Posted by NathanDevlin View Post

        I'm surprised you had 20 angry emails. I've received emails from people that have put my name wrong. I can't say that it bothers me.

        I've had someone send me an email that was intended for an entirely different list. I tend to just laugh, not get angry. It's kind of funny.

        Do your email list actually think that you sit and write an individual email to them all and that it's not sent out to many?
        Yes but this is a non-im list. Its mainly people over 40. One guy told me that if I was going to personalize emails with "software" I should get a better one. He was one who asked for a refund.

        Originally Posted by Shaun OReilly View Post

        Sometimes when you check your own work, then you
        can get a bit of 'blindness' when it comes to spotting
        mistakes.

        The mistake you've made is relatively minor and most
        of the people who've left you because of your faux pas
        are probably better being off your list anyways.

        Use this mistake to improve your procedures.

        In future, don't use your Dad's name (or anyone else's
        name) in your notepad file. Instead, use the shortcode
        for the first name, e.g. $ or whatever it is
        for your autoresponder.

        As an aside, I always triple-check my e-mails - especially
        to test out links to make sure that they work.

        Dedicated to mutual success,

        Shaun
        Youre right, I should use the shortcode that is used. I will
        start doing that from now on. Good idea.

        It looks like triple checks are now in store for me

        Ashley
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      • Profile picture of the author Will Edwards
        Originally Posted by Shaun OReilly View Post

        Sometimes when you check your own work, then you can get a bit of 'blindness' when it comes to spotting mistakes.
        Absolutely true. What I have found works well for me is to review the copy in some format that I did not use for creating it. For example, with my blog posts, I find that the preview window is easier for spotting typos than the editing window. This is, I think, because seeing the work in a slightly different format engages the brain in a different way.

        It is really easy to send out emails with typos but autoresponders have a preview window too. Same with forum posts - WF has a preview facility. My tip is to try using them and see if it makes a difference.

        Oh, and don't worry about those unsubs. You learned an important lesson - that's the best you can get from the experience.

        Cheers,

        Will
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    • Profile picture of the author WillR
      Better you learnt this lesson now with a list of only 400 than a much larger list.

      I would scrap personalization altogether. Not only will you get more signups by dropping the name field but I have not noticed any decrease in response by dropping personalization out of emails. Think about it. When you are writing to people you are close to do you always refer to them by their first name? I never do.

      I email my friends and family all the time and I never start off an email with "Hi John..." - I just get straight into the message. This is how casual conversations work.

      Originally Posted by NathanDevlin View Post

      Do your email list actually think that you sit and write an individual email to them all and that it's not sent out to many?
      If that's true then why are you bothering with personalization in the first place? If the customer knows the email has not been specifically written to them why try and pretend?
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      • Profile picture of the author Kay King
        To be honest, if those people got "pissed off" for being called "Tom" and then took the time out of there day to write you a stinking email, I'd say you should be glad not to have them as customers.
        I don't see it that way.

        You are building a very responsive list if these people are reacting so strongly. That's a good thing but it means you have to be exceptionally cautious to keep that level of interaction.

        There's a tendency here to excuse marketing mistakes as "the customer wasn't worth it" - and that's only an excuse. What appears a minor mistake is a glaring error in the one email your customer receives.

        I'd drop the personalization, too.

        kay
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        • Profile picture of the author Richard Van
          Originally Posted by Kay King View Post


          You are building a very responsive list if these people are reacting so strongly. That's a good thing but it means you have to be exceptionally cautious to keep that level of interaction.
          ...Assuming the small amount of people that got angry were highly responsive and not the small minority of society with an attitude problem.

          Respectfully, people react strongly for a myriad of reasons, not just because they're members of a responsive list.
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          • Profile picture of the author Kay King
            What I dislike is the knee jerk reaction of "bad customers" when something like this is posted.

            If you don't want customers who are opening your emails, reading them and responding to them...why are you building a list?

            If your list reacts badly to something you've sent - own your mistake and provide a lesson to them by explaining what happened without excuses. Laugh at yourself - and they'll laugh with you.

            I've seen a lot of mistakes in emails I've received in recent months. It seems to be a result of list owners who run their list with email blasts that are not checked carefully before sending. I've had emails that were copy/pasted with part of the copy left out, emails that had a name not mine, links that didn't work, etc. In my mind it gives an impression of a marketer who either is unskilled or doesn't care - and that's not what you want your list to think.

            In this case you send off another email....

            "I sent you an email yesterday that said "Dear Tom". Unless your name is Tom you probably wonder what was on my mind"....and then you go on with a funny quip about your own foibles.

            You make a mistake - you see the results - you do what you can to patch it up - and you make sure not to make the same mistake again. That's marketing in real life.

            kay
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            • Profile picture of the author Richard Van
              Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

              What I dislike is the knee jerk reaction of "bad customers" when something like this is posted.

              If you don't want customers who are opening your emails, reading them and responding to them...why are you building a list?
              I do want customers Kay.

              I also agree, I would, if I could, write to them to apologise and explain the error. If they did not return, then I'm afraid I don't see them as responsive but completely over the top people and I can live and continue my business without them. In fact, based on their reaction, I'd hazard a guess that they will struggle to get through the day without a mental breakdown anyway.

              Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

              If your list reacts badly to something you've sent - own your mistake and provide a lesson to them by explaining what happened without excuses. Laugh at yourself - and they'll laugh with you.

              I've seen a lot of mistakes in emails I've received in recent months. It seems to be a result of list owners who run their list with email blasts that are not checked carefully before sending. I've had emails that were copy/pasted with part of the copy left out, emails that had a name not mine, links that didn't work, etc. In my mind it gives an impression of a marketer who either is unskilled or doesn't care - and that's not what you want your list to think.

              In this case you send off another email....

              "I sent you an email yesterday that said "Dear Tom". Unless your name is Tom you probably wonder what was on my mind"....and then you go on with a funny quip about your own foibles.

              You make a mistake - you see the results - you do what you can to patch it up - and you make sure not to make the same mistake again. That's marketing in real life.

              kay
              I completely agree.
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        • Profile picture of the author Shaun OReilly
          Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

          You are building a very responsive list if these people are reacting so strongly. That's a good thing but it means you have to be exceptionally cautious to keep that level of interaction.

          There's a tendency here to excuse marketing mistakes as "the customer wasn't worth it" - and that's only an excuse. What appears a minor mistake is a glaring error in the one email your customer receives.
          Effective list management is about getting the right people
          to stay on your list and getting the wrong people (i.e. those
          who don't like your approach) to unsubscribe.

          If someone gets so offended by getting their name wrong
          then the relationship wasn't strong enough to withstand
          the mistake.

          There's no use pussy-footing around, treading on egg shells
          and trying not to make a mistake or upset or offend anyone.

          Take a stand and generate a response.

          That way, you'll more strongly ATTRACT those who like you
          and REPEL those who don't.

          Those who like you will likely forgive the mistake like getting
          their name wrong. It's hardly the crime of the century.

          Kinda reminds me of when you split from a partner over stupid
          things that have nothing to do with the fact that you just
          don't feel attracted to them anymore.

          It's not that those who unsubscribe aren't worth it. It's just
          that they're unlikely to be a good fit for you - warts and all.

          They'd be better suited to more of a list perfectionist rather
          than someone more erm... human.

          Dedicated to mutual success,

          Shaun
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          • Profile picture of the author Chris Webb
            Originally Posted by Shaun OReilly View Post

            If someone gets so offended by getting their name wrong
            then the relationship wasn't strong enough to withstand
            the mistake.
            Totally agree with Shaun. If they're that offended you got their name wrong, they're not engaged in your content and wasting your time.

            Look at it as a positive - you've cleaned you're list
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  • Profile picture of the author barbling
    They really can help.

    The Roll Your Own AR service I use (followup autoresponder pro) lets you write multiple lines for your shortcodes unlike (I think?) aWeber.

    So I have my multiline

    About Me
    Commercial Message

    set as a shortcode. Makes life much easier....
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    • Profile picture of the author Richard Van
      To be honest, if those people got "pissed off" for being called "Tom" and then took the time out of their day to write you a stinking email, I'd say you should be glad not to have them as customers.

      I'll never forget Ed Dale sending out an email and although I'll butcher this it was very similar to the following subject line...

      Richard, you need a new clock.
      The trouble was Ed managed to leave the "L" out of clock, thus creating a rather funny subject line.

      Surely that's worse than being called Tom? :confused:
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      Wibble, bark, my old man's a mushroom etc...

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      • Profile picture of the author Sandor Verebi
        Originally Posted by Richard Van View Post

        To be honest, if those people got "pissed off" for being called "Tom" and then took the time out of there day to write you a stinking email, I'd say you should be glad not to have them as customers.
        Perhaps, such people forget that others are also human only. Perhaps they also tend to be wrong sometimes or are they perfect always?

        I'll never forget Ed Dale sending out an email and although I'll butcher this it was very similar to the following subject line...


        The trouble was Ed managed to leave the "L" out of clock, thus creating a rather funny subject line.

        Surely that's worse than being called Tom? :confused:
        Well, that could be really interesting. I can imagine, how he felt himself, after realizing the mistake.

        So, the checking is essential and rewarding.

        Sandor
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      • Profile picture of the author ExRat
        Hi Ashley,

        It might be time to consider whether email personalisation is worth it for this list?
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        Roger Davis

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        • Profile picture of the author Tom Ryan
          Originally Posted by ExRat View Post

          Hi Ashley,

          It might be time to consider whether email personalisation is worth it for this list?
          ^^^ This

          When I started my first list I was taught to use personalization but I soon realized that it might not be the best thing for my list. Some of the "names" people put into the name field when signing up just didn't make sense when I followed up or were just down right insulting. From time to time I'd get angry replies asking why I was calling them that.
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          • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
            Banned
            Originally Posted by Tom Ryan View Post

            ^^^ This

            When I started my first list I was taught to use personalization but I soon realized that it might not be the best thing for my list. Some of the "names" people put into the name field when signing up just didn't make sense when I followed up or were just down right insulting. From time to time I'd get angry replies asking why I was calling them that.
            Yeah. I don't personalize. You get people who sign up with a keyword like colon cleanse and I don't think that
            Greetings Colon Cleanse is appropriate personalization :p

            That being said ... the mistake you made wouldn't have bothered me at all. Much ado about nothing.
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            • Profile picture of the author Thomas
              Originally Posted by Tom Ryan View Post

              When I started my first list I was taught to use personalization but I soon realized that it might not be the best thing for my list. Some of the "names" people put into the name field when signing up just didn't make sense when I followed up or were just down right insulting. From time to time I'd get angry replies asking why I was calling them that.
              Personalisation is a nice feature but, I guess, like everything, it's something that should be tested. I've encountered many people who have claimed a nice boost in subscriptions when they stopped asking for people's name, and confined themselves to the e-mail address only.

              I would imagine it makes things technically simpler too; and, if an earlier comment in the thread about one of those that responded to the OP is anything to go by (though it probably isn't enough to generalise), then not even people in non-IM niches are 'fooled' into thinking, "Wow... he's personally writing to me!". At least not anymore.

              You could also ask yourself this: If you were really writing an e-mail to a personal friend, would you address them by name every single time? Maybe it's just me, but I generally just launch straight into my 'content'.

              Just my €0.02

              Tommy.
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      • Profile picture of the author Thomas
        Originally Posted by Richard Van View Post

        Surely that's worse than being called Tom? :confused:
        I've been called Tom my whole life, and I've survived it (so far).
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      • Profile picture of the author AdwordsMogul
        Originally Posted by Richard Van View Post

        To be honest, if those people got "pissed off" for being called "Tom" and then took the time out of their day to write you a stinking email, I'd say you should be glad not to have them as customers.

        ...
        I agree - it's silly to ask for a refund because of a wrong name.

        Sure, some markets may be sensitive, nevertheless you're probably better off without such unreasonable people.
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        • Profile picture of the author Ashley Gable
          Originally Posted by AdwordsMogul View Post

          I agree - it's silly to ask for a refund because of a wrong name.

          Sure, some markets may be sensitive, nevertheless you're probably better off without such unreasonable people.
          Well I offer a 365 day money back guarantee, so I think -- at
          least in part -- the wrong name was like an "out".

          A reason for them to ask for a refund -without seeming like
          they were duping me.

          This is a small non-internet marketing niche, so I dont think they are
          used to asking for refunds.
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          • Not to pile on here, but I don't use personalization either.

            The reason is that asking for firstname|lastname is an additional level of permission that makes it harder to get signups. All I really need is their email address -- so that's all I ask for.

            There are some who claim that people like to see their own name in the message, and judging by your results, apparently that's true to some extent. It would be interesting to do split testing on this and see which gets the best response: their name, no name or the wrong name.

            fLufF
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      • Profile picture of the author Eidolon
        Originally Posted by Richard Van View Post

        To be honest, if those people got "pissed off" for being called "Tom" and then took the time out of their day to write you a stinking email, I'd say you should be glad not to have them as customers.

        I'll never forget Ed Dale sending out an email and although I'll butcher this it was very similar to the following subject line...

        The trouble was Ed managed to leave the "L" out of clock, thus creating a rather funny subject line.

        Surely that's worse than being called Tom? :confused:

        Should have sent it to every Tom Dick and Harry
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        • Profile picture of the author Martin Avis
          I had an email from a reader of my newsletter recently that went something like this:

          "Dear Martin. When I first signed up for your newsletter I didn't know you and so I used a jokey name. Now I've got to know and love your writing style I almost think of you as a personal friend. So can you please tell me how I can change my first name in your system to Barbara? 'Big Tits' doesn't seem appropriate anymore!"

          Personalization can be a double-edged sword.

          Martin
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          • Profile picture of the author Ashley Gable
            Originally Posted by Martin.Avis View Post

            I had an email from a reader of my newsletter recently that went something like this:

            "Dear Martin. When I first signed up for your newsletter I didn't know you and so I used a jokey name. Now I've got to know and love your writing style I almost think of you as a personal friend. So can you please tell me how I can change my first name in your system to Barbara? 'Big Tits' doesn't seem appropriate anymore!"

            Personalization can be a double-edged sword.

            Martin
            Ha! That is funny. You must be providing great content if she was able to get past being referred to as 'Big Tits'!

            Fortunately I dont have that problem with this list, as it is a buyers list and the info is taken when they check out.
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  • Profile picture of the author CTonline09
    I wouldn't worry about this to much, easy come easy go!

    There are more buyers in the sea as to say, or is it something else???

    Besides we all make costly mistakes at one point or another.
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    • Profile picture of the author Richard Van
      Originally Posted by MarketingMonkey View Post

      I wouldn't worry about this to much, easy come easy go!

      There are more buyers in the sea as to say, or is it something else???

      Besides we all make costly mistakes at one point or another.
      Fish.

      More fish in the sea.

      I know what you mean't though.
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      Wibble, bark, my old man's a mushroom etc...

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  • Profile picture of the author rosetrees
    I unsubscribed from a list recently when I received an email with a subject line that read something like "poor position for ledburybedandbreakfast(dot info)"

    I replied that I wasn't convinced that their monitoring service was effective as the site had been number one for its keyword for 2 years.


    I did receive a reply. Asking me what the site's keyword is !!!!


    I unsubscribed.
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  • Profile picture of the author Lilach
    I guess it's an important lesson learnt.

    I must admit though your unsubscribe rate was high and the fact that people can't angry... they probably had no intention of buying from you anyway.

    You should thank them really for making your list more targeted.

    Have you thought about sending another email out apologising with a free gift for them to make it up to them?
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  • Profile picture of the author Ashley Gable
    You all make good points.

    I dont usually personalize emails. But with this particular niche
    product, I also provide one on one email support to them. And
    most take me up on the offer. So for the first few days after
    they buy, I am emailing them, and I of course use their name.

    So there would be no reason for them to think I wasnt
    writing to them personally again.

    But, I also must admit -- and agree -- that with my tests there isnt
    a big difference in open and click rates with personalization.

    I will probably just leave it out unless I am writing one on one.

    That in part is what made this so shocking. It is a small list that I am
    very personal with. Almost all of them having emailed me for help etc.

    But I am thinking I will leave out personalization
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  • Profile picture of the author GarrieWilson
    I'd send an Ooops I goofed appology. Then ask for what I wanted again.

    Garrie
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  • Profile picture of the author freeburd
    If it's going to make YOU feel better, don't think that you are the only one that makes mistakes
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    • Profile picture of the author Ralph Moore
      You might want to create a test list with just your email address on it and send your email to that list first so you can check it.
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  • Profile picture of the author lyndal
    Well, with an error like that at least if I was in the receiving position, I would know that there is a genuine person writing these emails since humans err. Maybe follow up by some sort of OOps! mail in a humorous vein. The right people will probably understand your not being perfect.
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  • Profile picture of the author Britt Malka
    Ouch, that was a tough blow

    I see a lot of marketers sending out emails with "First Name" in the text.

    I use a nice trick to avoid it myself:

    *How To Avoid The Dreaded “Dear Firstname” Error
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  • Profile picture of the author Coby
    This is the precise reason I never use the name tag for personalization and rarely even ask for a first name...

    No name calling for me
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    • Profile picture of the author Rick88
      Just an FYI, I had a friend who celebrated a baseball game victory, afterwards went home and sent an email to his list. (No this wasn't me).

      What his inebriated mind thought he sent was not what was sent. He had a large unsubscribe tsunami as well.

      So don't drink and send emails or make posts.
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  • Profile picture of the author Raydal
    This reminds me of 10 years ago when I published
    my first ebook. Anytime I emailed my customer list
    I would get a refund request. It's as if they never
    remembered that they bought the product until
    they saw that email from me.

    Most IMers understand how autoresponder services
    work and would chalk this up as mistake, but other
    niches may take it a little more personal because
    they think you are sending personal emails.

    -Ray Edwards
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    • Profile picture of the author Mike Parkin
      A bit harsh - Ive been called worse things than Tom.
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  • Profile picture of the author StevenJones
    You could send another broadcast, saying that your sorry or just include a freebie to set things straight for the people that didn't unsubscribe. These people can still hold a grudge.

    As stated in the 2nd post of this thread. You've gained new knowledge
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  • Profile picture of the author RevSEO
    Have you written a follow up?

    Be honest with your list, act like yourself, heck, people WANT genuine interaction.

    I see the top IM marketers making mistakes constantly!
    Heck, it could be even planned to show that they are just like everyone else.

    Don't sweat it man, things like this suck but one thing I learned is
    to not sweat the small stuff.....things like this happen...
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  • Profile picture of the author CyberAlien
    I would honestly just shoot everyone an email letting them know what happened. There's no point in trying to cover it up and everyone makes mistakes, live with it and move on.
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  • Profile picture of the author E. Brian Rose
    FYI: I get the most amount of unsubscribes when I give away something for free.

    I once sent out a system for free the day before it went on sale. I got about 30 unsubscribes. The next day, I sent out the sales letter for it and told them that it was for sale. In that email, I told them that it is the exact same thing that I sent out the day before for free. One unsubscribe and dozens of sales.

    The human mind continues to boggle me.
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  • Profile picture of the author RandySeet
    Look at the bright side which means your subscribers are interested in your email and content.

    For me, I used to test every mail before I send out but there are times where I just miss pointing out the errors no matter how many times I checked.

    In one of my niches, I accidentally misspell some words, and it appeared to be offensive to some of my subscribers and receive vulgar emails.

    I just apologize and move on.
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  • Profile picture of the author Damielle
    Don't let it upset you too much, we all make mistakes

    I guess the fact it was a non IM niche made the problem worse, as I'm sure everyone in IM pretty much knows they're on an auto responder and would probably laugh it off.

    As some of the other guys pointed out, you're probably better off without those subscribers, so it could be a blessing in disguise
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