Wouldn’t it be great that your work was done, even if you weren’t in the office? Reality is that most of us will have to grind through a huge pile of emails coming back from vacation (or even when just away for a single day).

But at least we let people know that we are out, by turning on our own (personal) triggered email: the out of office reply.

Now how can we use that for something different, something interesting?

My own out of office could read:

On a personal note: I’ll be out of the office until next week, so I will be checking my e-mail irregularly.

In the meantime be sure to check out the posts on the blog,
The email vendor selection website and guide: emailvendorselection.com,
and sign up for the Newsletter if you haven’t yet.

Oh, and have a great day at the office! Now on with the show:

Anatomy of the out of office

Most of the out-of-office messages are quite simple. Mainly being a “I will be out of the office from.. to… “, maybe followed by a reference to a colleague or general phonenumber or email to reach. Usually a text based message.

Grabbing the opportunity

An out of office reply is just as much an email marketing opportunity as any other email. Best of it is that the recipient of the OOO reply is mailing YOU, and expecting a message back. So it might be one of the messages with highest open-rates ever. What if we used that message for marketing or to delight our customers?

A marketing Out of Office message:

“While I am away from my desk, be sure to look at our on sale products, visit our website, see our latest campaign via Youtube, like our facebook page and reserve your seat at our next conference.”  But packaged, prioritized and  written and designed in an engaging way, of course.

One example comes from Saatchi & Saatchi that even sold the out of office of an art director. You could do anything with this email as you could with a normal one, including html, visuals & design and link to a number of resources, including you vacation pictures or a video explaining why your company is so great.

A customer delight message:

“Hi I’m away, and I’m sure you wanted me to respond on your message. That’s not until …. but in the meanwhile enjoy this <insert delight item here>. What delights the people that mail you? That depends on your contacts and the relation you have with them. It might be a chocolate candy bar, a funny video or a great whitepaper. Your imagination (and number of chocolate bars) is the limit.