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May 3, 2012

Teachable moment

After Monday's screw-up I had the brilliant idea of turning a mistake into an opportunity to re-connect with our audience, to win them over with my thoughtful explanation of what happened.

The brainstorm that came to me Wednesday afternoon while I was running at Edgewater Park was to write about the "teachable moment", an educational idea that takes even a mistake and turns it into an opportunity to learn. A teacher's version of "lemons into lemonade."

As I ran I worked out the wording for a short email I'd send to everyone on our contact list for the Portfolio Show. I wanted to win back those who'd seen our broken website on Monday. I didn't see how I could miss with this.

Text of email FAIL

Turns out I could miss by leaving out the word "saying" in the first sentence. And by not sending a test mailing to myself before sending it out to the whole list. Or at least having someone else proof-read it.

The good news is that the second email led to 38 clicks on the web link, 12 more than our first email.

MailChimp, the free online email management system we use, helped me recover. I was able to resend the corrected email to just those people who hadn't yet opened the original. My hope was that they would read the second and simply delete the first, assuming it was just a duplicate.

Hard to say how this all played to our audience. I suspect (and hope, actually) that I'll hear about it from show visitors on Tuesday and Wednesday.

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