Why would you set yourself up an out of office reply? Surely there are enough little jobs to do this time of year, top of the list including some serious lazing on a couch in front of the air-con (or fire, depending on which part of the world you’re in).
OOO replies are more important than you think,
so if you’ve planned a few days or weeks off over the festive period, whip yourself up a quick auto-reply before you shut the laptop.
You can bang this out in less than 10 minutes. Promise.
Here’s a list of (very good) reasons why you need one:
1. Because humans buy from humans. Let’s not forget – most purchases are made with emotion, we bring in logic later to justify our good choices and the bigger the risk – financial or emotional – the bigger we rely on our emotions to help us make the buying decision. So if your customers are humans (and I’m pretty sure they are, until dawgs learn to buy online), they’ll appreciate knowing why you’re not responding to them ASAP. Bonus: they’ll love getting a sneaky peek into what’s happening at your HQ, including getting to gauge if they’re supporting a brand who values the same things they do.
2. Because an out of office reply offers information on how it will help your reader. This cannot be underestimated. Remember; every reader is consuming your copy to figure out what’s in it for them. If you let your good people know you’re taking time off so they’ll get the very best from you when you’re back in your office, that’s a win for them, too.
3. Because an OOO reply can give your customers or clients alternative ways to access you. Got a nifty funnel set up? Send them there! Or whip them across to your podcast or shop or downloads – something evergreen you don’t have to touch while you’re sipping sangrias. If they happen to be feeling super motivated to learn something, read something, or buy something (while you’re being super slothful), they can still have at it.
4. Because you can offer some inclusive wishes for whatever the break means for them. And that’s just plain nice!
Most importantly, you don’t want to leave your best people in the dark.
We’ve all sent an email to someone and heard absolutely nothing back from them. Are they on holiday? Do they hate me? Are they out walking the dog… for three days? Did my email go off into the digital abyss and they never received it? Should I send it again? Oh wait no, that’s a bit much. Maybe I’ll just never email again and assume they’re not interested in my purchase/question/collab.
See how this can all go terribly wrong?
Unlike new relationships, distance doesn’t usually make the heart grow fonder and silence is not often golden.
If you’re thinking “Great, Jay, that all sounds like it makes sense, but I don’t want to spend the next 45 minutes (or days) writing something spiffy, I have a formula for you:
1. Subject line (make it hooky, make it clear, make it engaging).
2. Gratitude for the email, because we all know how important it is to get and give emails these days, they’re the golden goose of digital marketing.
3. Explanation of where you’re at (here’s where you get to sprinkle about that humanity and values/ethics alignment opportunity. Show your reader a little behind the scenes, just as much as you’re comfy with). Don’t forget the bonus: this is the place to remind people about what they’re supporting when they hire you or buy your products.
4. Let folks know when you’ll be back (if they’re current clients, let them know if you have anything special in place for them to get an answer to their question earlier than your official Back At HQ date.
5. All your links to all the other places anyone super psyched to get a move on with whatever’s on their plate right now.
So, something like this:
“I’m so uber grateful to be receiving your email because you’re 100% important to me” + “I’ll be doing this until this time, when I’ll be back in touch” + “here’s a reminder about what you invest in when you hire me or buy my products” + “here’s some behind the scenes activity with an added emotional hook” + “here’s where you can find me on socials/podcasts/read my blog/download my freebies”.
Here’s my out of office reply, as an example:
SUBJECT LINE: When ‘holidays’ means a sprinkler on the plastic grass and a mean orange cordial in hand…
Let’s not pretend. Even without COVID my ‘holidays’ aren’t all that Instagram worthy.
Right now I’m probably spraying a kid with the hose, drinking an iced coffee (I gave up alcohol in 2020), and trying to remember where I shoved one of the 3 books I currently have on the go.
To be honest, there’s nowhere I’d rather be.
And although my ‘out of office’ reply simply means I’m possibly just in the next room #freelancerlife it also means my brain is on break and my fingers are at rest, re-juicing in prep for an incredible word-filled 2021.
If you’re a current client and you’re experiencing some kind of copy emergency I’ll be checking my emails semi-regularly so just let me know you’re in need of Urgent Copy Care.
Otherwise, you can download my Copy Menu direct from my website here, you can tackle some DIY copy glory here, and I’m taking bookings for done-for-you copy and 1:1 copy mentoring now for March and beyond. I’ll be back at Crisp Copy HQ on Monday 4th January.
Happiest of holidays, however you celebrate and wherever you are. Let’s raise a (melty ice cubed coffee, in my case) toast to an incredible 2021.
They don’t have to be as lengthy as mine, remember, I’m erring on the side of grandiloquent (that’s a nicer way of saying “verbose”, or, as my Lit teacher used to say, “I’m not marking this by weighing it, Jay”).
But tell people when you’ll be back, what you’ll be doing with your downtime, and lead them to where they can still access your valuable goodies while you’re gone.
Never bland or boring (unless beige is a brand voice choice?!) and don’t neglect the opportunity to add some humanity and personality to your message.
Respect the person emailing you enough to give them some love in the form of a thoughtful message.
Now, go forth and holiday, knowing you’re not alienating your people.
See you in 2021!
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