Turning on your automatic reply saying you’re out of the office before taking leave is good email etiquette. However, they tend to be generic one-liners and are a missed marketing and PR opportunity. Your out-of-office reply will probably be one of your most-read emails; the recipient, hoping for a reply, receives one seconds after they press send, so they’re likely to read it immediately. Don’t let your automatic reply be a disappointment. Instead, turn it into a unique marketing opportunity.
Firstly, don’t let the lead or inquiry fizzle out while you’re on leave. Let the recipient know you were the right person to contact, and that your response is worth waiting for. A brief description like “As a member of the marketing team specializing in advertising sales, I look forward to discussing your campaign with you” would reassure the sender that you’re the appropriate contact person.
If they want swifter resolution, keep the momentum going by identifying who can help in your absence and how they can be contacted. Make it seem like your colleagues will be happy to hear from them to give a welcoming impression of your company. “My colleague Sarah is also an expert in advertising sales campaigns and will be pleased to help in my absence” encourages communication more than a standard “Contact Sarah in my absence.”
However, your client or customer is at their computer and ready to interact with your company, so give them something to act to upon while they’re in this mindset. “Did you know that we have launched a new product? Check it out here” will drive traffic to your latest range. Inviting them to view an article on your website, your company blog, or recent research will also increase website traffic, show you’re up to date with industry trends, or generate interest in your services.
You may want to inject a bit of your personality into your out-of-office reply to maintain friendly working relationships or simply to brighten someone’s day. However, don’t overdo it; resist the temptation to brag about being on the beach, keep the humor clean, and keep it professional. Also, to maintain company branding, make sure your signature is correctly formatted using your company’s standard font.
The next time you turn on your out-of-office replies, consider what links, advice, and suggestions you can include to make the most of this marketing opportunity. Aim to subtly promote your products, services, or website in an interesting and helpful way, and keep the interest warm until you return to work.