There are a few conversations going around this Fall about that gut-wrenching moment when you realize you’ve just OOPS’d. You sent to the wrong list, you found a (problematic) grammatical or spelling error the split second AFTER you send… or my worst nightmare yet: a client who deleted her contact lists.

Delete Group Options

In email marketing, your list is your revenue. Not only is your subscribers’ permission worth gold, the segmentation and engagement data you have surrounding your list are what turn that gold into revenue. This client knows that better than anyone: with 20 different segments, offerings to past clients vs. not-yet-tried prospects, watching carefully who’s clicking and who hasn’t taken the bait. When she accidentally deleted her contacts list, it was about more than just getting her contacts back… She needed her DATA back.

Unfortunately, that’s not always so easy. But here are a few things she did — and you can do — if you accidentally delete your lists:

  1. Restore your contacts. Before anything else, you have to call your technology partner and see if they can recover your actual email addresses/contact data. In some cases, you can at least restore the email addresses, name and other data stored with your contacts. (This is the case with emfluence.)
  2. Re-categorize your interest groups. Like I said, our client knew she needed to get the interest groups back online more than anything. Was Bob interested in classes or consulting? Has Susan already taken the coursework? Start by finding a recent, segmented send. In the emfluence Marketing Platform, you can always see a list of the recipients of an email, even if they’re deleted. Once they’re restored, you can find the full list of recipients and use the “Add to Groups” function to move these folks back into segmented buckets.
    Assign all results to groups
  3. Re-grow the rest. You may not have all of your groupings in a neat, segmented, recent send. It’s time for the Oops email and a little ‘mea culpa’ begging. Ask your subscribers to help you remember the types of emails they want to receive from you, whether it’s frequency or topic. Think of it as a kind of re-permission campaign: you may end up with an even better segmented list than before!

The biggest lesson to learn is how to avoid the oops next time. No matter how closely you read the options — this client swore up and down she chose the “delete this group but leave contacts alone” option! — you’re always just a few clicks away from an email marketer’s nightmare. Take a second, re-read it again and don’t toggle away from the default/recommended option unless you’re absolutely sure it’s what you want.

Happy proofing, fellow marketers.

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