Let’s be honest, the last thing on your mind before vacation is putting up an auto-responder email. Half the time, your out of office message is probably an “Oh crap!” moment after you’ve already left the office.
Even though you might be soaking up the sun on the beach or tearing up the slopes, your coworkers, customers, and other business associates are still in the office and may not know that you’re unavailable. Failing to tell people that you’re out of the office could come back to bite you, especially if they’re expecting a prompt response.
Before heading out on that much needed time off, it’s imperative that you set an out of office reply to let senders know you’re gone. If you’re feeling stumped, we’ve crafted 7 out of office message samples to inspire you. Check them out below!
1. Basic Template
We don’t always have time to be clever or creative… and that’s okay! At its core, a vacation responder email simply needs to inform the sender that you are out of the office and when to expect a response.
The elements of a great out of office reply are 1) how long you will be gone, 2) when you will return, and 3) who to contact if it’s urgent.
Thank you for your email. I will be out of the office from mm/dd to mm/dd and will have limited access to email / will not have access to email. If this is urgent, please contact [NAME] at [EMAIL] or [PHONE]. I will do my best to respond promptly to your email when I return on mm/dd.
2. Lead Generation
Have you ever thought of an out of office message as a lead generation tool? Well, you should now! It’s easy enough to highlight an opportunity to collect leads in your vacation responder. Just add a little flair to the end of the message and start raking in the leads!
Hello and thanks for your email. I’m currently out of the office until mm/dd with limited / no access to email. If your request is urgent, please contact [NAME] at [EMAIL or PHONE].
In the mean time, did you know we have a weekly / monthly enewsletter? Yep, you heard that right! A weekly dose of all your favorite [COMPANY] content sent right to your inbox. To ensure you don’t miss out on all the good stuff, sign up for our newsletter here.
I’ll be sure to get back to you when I return on mm/dd.
Aside from newsletter sign ups, you could use this opportunity to encourage webinar attendance, sign ups for an online course, whitepaper downloads, or any other lead generation tactic your sales and marketing team implements.
3. Content Promotion
If generating leads is not a key strategy of your sales or marketing efforts, you could also use your out of office message to get more eyeballs on your content. Add a little value to your email by linking to an interesting online resource your company has developed.
Thanks for your email. I am out of the office right now and will not return until mm/dd. Fortunately for you, our resources never take time off and we’ve got this awesome ebook / whitepaper / infographic on [TITLE] that I think you would enjoy.
I’ll get back to you as soon as I get back into the office.
4. Traffic Driving
Maybe you don’t have any content to promote or you simply want to drive traffic to your website using an out of office reply. Great! A vacation responder is an awesome way to do that. Depending on the page you link to, your message might be different, but here’s an example.
Thanks for reaching out. Unfortunately, I’m out of the office from mm/dd to mm/dd with limited / no access to email. If your question can wait, I’ll be responding to the emails I missed when I return on [DAY]. If not, contact [NAME] at [EMAIL] or [PHONE] and he/she will take care of you.
Did you email me about [SERVICE YOU PROVIDE]? Great! Read what our customers are saying about how awesome their experience has been. (Link to customer testimonials or case studies)
I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.
5. Networking or New Business
As much as we’d like it to be, not every away message is for a vacation. Sometimes, you need an out of office reply for a business trip or conference. But instead of simply telling people you’re out, why not use that opportunity to encourage networking or new business connections?
Thanks for your email. I’m out of the office at this super awesome conference [MONTH] [DAY]-[DAY]. Will you be there too? I’d love to connect! Our company will be exhibiting at booth ###. Feel free to stop by! / [NAME], our [TITLE], will be dropping knowledge during his/her speech on [DAY] at [TIME] in [LOCATION]. You won’t want to miss it!
Follow and tweet me @Twitter_Handle for thoughts and conversation on the conference. Looking forward to hearing from you!
6. Social Media Engagement
The percent of people who follow brands on social media ranges from 44% to 53% (depending on the platform) and 53% of those who follow brands on social media are more loyal to those brands. So, it would make sense that companies want to build their audiences on social media, especially to create loyal customers.
But most people don’t seek out a brand’s social media accounts. They’re more likely to follow you if asked or presented with the opportunity, which can be done in your vacation responder.
Sorry you missed me. I’m out of the office from mm/dd to mm/dd and will be responding to my emails when I return on [DAY].
To keep up with all the latest happenings at [COMPANY], follow us on Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn / Instagram / Pinterest / Etc. (We’re really funny on Twitter, trust me.)
I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.
Of course, the best out of office messages are the funny and clever ones. There are tons of examples out there from giving your “auto-responder robot” a personality to using GIFs and memes to joking about what you’re actually doing on vacation. Here are a few clever out of office message samples:
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!
People often don’t realize is that your away message is a unique opportunity to be memorable and make someone’s day, beyond simply telling them you’re out. It doesn’t have to be long or complex—just thoughtful and interesting. So next time you’re setting up your vacation responder, use it to inform, assist, or delight the email sender. It will be a fun exercise for you and a pleasant surprise for them!
What’s the best out of office message you’ve received or written? Let us know by sharing in the comments!