The BV Blog

Misspelled a Word in an Email... Is it a Big Deal?

[fa icon="calendar'] Nov 4, 2014 4:24:00 PM / by Matthew Iovanni

Have you ever misspelled a word in an email by mistake? How did it make you feel?

We’ve all been there. Most of the time you feel pretty silly after something like that, but we wanted to challenge that feeling and see if it is warranted. To test this, we actually misspelled a word on purpose in a recent email. We figured we could gauge the impact the misspelling had on email performance in terms of open rate, click rate, and direct response - and then determine if that previously mentioned “silly” feeling is warranted.


This was a bit risky since we were sending a segment of our list an email with a spelling error in the subject line. How would this segment react? Would they care about the error?

Well, we compared the performance of this email against the control without the spelling error in the subject line (a good old fashioned A/B test), as well as against data from our clients' campaigns, and what we found was a little surprising.

First Lesson: Humans Make Mistakes

Turns out, it didn’t really matter. There was very little difference in the results of our test.

The email with the spelling error in the subject line experienced a 41% open rate and a 4% click rate, while the control (no error) enjoyed only a fractional increase in open rate, and a consistent click rate. Furthermore, both the test and the control were well above industry average.

This specific spelling error was subtle, but still very noticeable. It may have been glanced over by many, but it was definitely noticed by some (who kindly pointed out the misspelling).

One A/B test is hardly enough to draw a conclusion, but hopefully this will help marketing and sales professionals rest easy if they accidentally misspell a word in an email. If we can conclude anything from this test, it is that people are only human, and that mistakes will happen. And when they happen in emails, your audience will generally understand, and performance will not be impacted.

Second Lesson: Test Everything

Entrepreneurs and marketers must test everything - even when you think you have it figured out, keep testing. Continuous improvement is the only way to get better as an individual and an organization. Keep testing your product, your engagement tactics, and your campaigns; and over time you will gain an invaluable amount of data to drive decision making.

Marketers are fortunate enough to have great testing tools at their disposal, such as Optimizely or the HubSpot Enterprise tool. Employing these tools on your website and across your marketing channels will help you become smarter about your market efforts and investment.

For more on A/B testing or other email tactics that we’ve tried, click below to speak with the team.

Learn More About A/B Tests

Topics: Marketing

Matthew Iovanni

Written by Matthew Iovanni

Matthew is a Managing Partner at Blarney Ventures. With more than 13 years as a Business Development Manager, Sales Manager, Vice President of Sales, and two-time Board Member, Matthew has been in the shoes of every sales position possible. Armed with a passion for turnarounds and a relentless drive to succeed, Matthew truly enjoys building great teams in any organization he encounters.