That’s it! It’s the holiday, you’re ready for a little rest and relaxation, and time is now on your side. All of your ends are tied, all of your P’s are Q’d, all of your geese are cooked, and… well, we’re fresh out of metaphors and cliches, but you get the gist, right? It’s time to take that break!
Except, you’ve got one tiny last thing to take care of. You’ve got to set up your out-of-office email response for the piles of email you know will be coming in while you’re away. Before you craft that automated response, it’s important to consider your brand and your messaging first, and how your response could best communicate that brand.
It is also important to remember to keep your messaging consistent from employee to employee, so that everyone is communicating the same core message and using the same writing style in their responses.
The easiest way to go about this is to create away message templates that your employees can pick and choose from to use. They can then personalize them as needed, but at least the general gist of the response still communicates your brand, either visually or verbally or both.
So, if your brand voice and messaging leans toward:
You might craft a response with subtle notes of snark, such as a “Sorry, not sorry” type of email. Because really, who actually intends to answer their email while on holiday?
You could even do it as an image instead of text, and use your own brand design elements to spruce it up, or you could try something like the one below, and simply link to your website.
Funny and Humorous
You might do like this digital marketer did, and use personification to amuse your recipients and potentially lessen the sting they may feel when they realize you aren’t available.
Guess who is available on email and who is *not* available on email this week!
Who is on email: Me, the email auto-responder.
Who is mostly not on email: Ann.
Fun fact: Ann and I never, EVER are on duty at the same time. (Mind blown, right?)
Being an auto-responder is not a bad gig. Upside: I spend the vast majority of my time sitting around, waiting for Ann to take a vacation or for the B2B Forum to roll around.
The latter is precisely what’s going on now! The B2B Forum might be an awesome event for B2B marketers. But for me, it’s like my Chrismakwanzakah — HOORAY! I have something to do today aside from make microwave nachos and binge-watch Netflix!
(What’s the B2B Forum? See here: mpb2b.marketingprofs.com. You can probably still buy a ticket. I cannot. I got work to do!)
You can also peek at what she’s up to in Boston here: http://instagram.com/AnnHandley.
Thanks for swinging by! More importantly, thanks for giving my life purpose and meaning!
Literary Word Nerd
If you are in an industry related to writing and/or publishing, or something along those lines, you could do like this person did, and write a pseudo-short story to amuse your thwarted recipients.
Clever Yet Brutal Honesty
Sometimes, you just have to tell it like it is. You could try a message like this template, and give your recipients a brutally honest dose of reality… such as, you’re not available because you’re too busy enjoying yourself.
I heard winter was coming, so I decided to go to [WARM PLACE]. I’ll be sipping cocktails on the beach until mm/dd and will not be checking email. Stay warm!
Hate to break it to you, but I’m actually on vacation until mm/dd and will not be checking emails. I’m sure you probably don’t want to hear this since you’re working yourself, so here’s a cat video to cheer you up. I’ll be back from my trip on [DAY]. Enjoy your week!
BAD NEWS: I’m out of the office on vacation until mm/dd. I will be responding to all emails when I return.
GOOD NEWS: My colleague [NAME] has graciously offered to stay behind and cover my work. He/She is basically a superhero. If your request is urgent, you can contact him/her at [EMAIL].
Have a great week!
Whatever type of automated response you choose to deploy, just remember that you want it to fit your brand and voice. It creates a dissonance if your brand voice is quirky and funny, yet your out-of-office message is a dry, bland template you found on some obscure website that you didn’t even bother to personalize.
Instead, come up with some templates of your own that mesh with your brand, and give your team a variety of options to choose from. Then, when that holiday finally rolls around, all out-of-office messages will convey the same feel and vibe, even if the details from employee to employee may be slightly different.