Digital Prosperity Blog

The Most Frustrating Thing For Your Audience

There are many things which can go wrong in the Internet Marketing industry, but one of the most common (and most annoying) is when a link doesn’t work properly.

Maybe you typed “htpp://” at the start of a link instead of “http://”? Maybe your hosting company pulled your website offline for maintenance? Or maybe you just wrote the link wrong altogether?

Whatever the scenario, and as simple as this sounds, it can really ruin the relationship between you and your audience, and often harm your reputation when not handled properly.

After all, when your visitors, subscribers or customers are excited about how awesome the information, resource or free gift beyond the link is, they want it immediately.

But when the link doesn’t work, two thoughts happen in their minds…

1) They believe that you didn’t spend the time to check the link, so why should they spend their time checking out your emails?

2) They see you as unprofessional, as what kind of “expert” sends out emails with broken links?

Even though this is one of the most common problems online, it still happens regularly for many different marketers (sometimes through no reason of your own), so I wanted to give you some information on how to minimize the chances of this happening for you, and how to fix your reputation if it does happen.

The first time I sent out an email with a broken link (a few years ago), I thought the whole world was collapsing in on itself! My email inbox was full of emails from my subscribers saying how the link was broken, plus I didn’t make any sales because my subscribers didn’t even get to see the great quality product I was promoting at the time.

But then I quickly realised that it ISN’T the end of the world, as this stuff happens. Your business will always encounter problems, and it’s your job to overcome them.

Firstly, if you consider the amount of links on the internet, there are many opportunities for at least one of them to not work correctly.

But to minimize the chances of this happening, you should always:

  • Check your work before you send it out or publish it. Most email service providers have a “Test” feature, which allows you to see the email as your subscribers would in your own email inbox – so ALWAYS use it and check the link actually works.
  • Make sure you have a reliable hosting company. If your website goes down more frequently than once every 3 months, it’s time to change!
  • If possible, copy and paste any link you use from your browser’s address bar, so you eliminate any typing or formatting errors.

But if you’re unlucky enough for a link to be broken even after these safety measures, the “broken link disasters” can be organized into three main categories:

  1. Broken links on web pages
  2. Broken links in email broadcasts
  3. A broken order process

The first of the three is the easiest to solve. Just correct the link as soon as you (or someone else!) notices, and update those who contacted you about it. Then it’s just a matter of moving forward.

Although, if you send any kind of email broadcast with a broken link in it, the worst thing you can do is to pretend that nothing ever happened. Your subscribers aren’t stupid, and they know when something has screwed up – plus not saying anything shows you don’t care about your subscribers (at least in their mind, anyway).

Instead, if you can fix the link from outside the email (e.g. if you used a tracking link which allows you to change the Destination URL), go ahead and fix it. Then you should send a follow-up email as soon as it’s fixed, apologising for the broken link at the top of the email, and reminding them of what your previous email said (now with the working link).

If you made a typing error (or “typo”) on the link within the email itself, just send out the same email with “(Link Fixed!)” at the end of the same subject line, and a short paragraph at the top of the email explaining the situation – of course with the link being corrected throughout your new email.

Whatever the scenario, 99% of people will understand if you apologize, meaning you gain back your reputation almost instantly.

Lastly, a broken order process is the most technical to fix, as it requires a bit of both of the above scenarios…

Firstly, you need to find exactly where the order process is broken. The best way to find this is by paying for your own product yourself, and seeing which part of the order process isn’t working properly. It could just be as simple as you mistyping the order page web address, or typing the download / “thank you” page link into your shopping cart system wrong.

Once you’ve found and fixed the problem, you should reply to any customers who were having trouble ordering, letting them know that everything is now fixed. Obviously some customers may have a reduced interest in buying your product due to these mistakes, but it’s your job to re-gain as many of the lost sales as possible.

To finish, always check your work closely before it gets delivered or published, including content being checked for spelling, grammar or link errors, and you’ll vastly minimize the chances of this happening.

And even if it does happen, it’s completely fine to make mistakes, as long as you do everything you can to prevent them from happening to begin with, and apologize with “corrective action” (e.g. giving them the fixed link) afterwards.

Talk soon!
- James Francis

P.S. What’s the biggest disaster you’ve had so far? Share it in the comments section below!

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