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I'm Erika Fitzgerald, a website copywriter and educator with a big heart for small businesses. Here on the blog, you'll find copywriting education, online business tips, client case studies, and snippets from my life as an entrepreneur.
Thanks for your email. I’m currently out of the office and will respond to emails in the order they were received when I return on [date].
Back in my corporate days, this out of office email made the rounds every holiday. There’s nothing inherently wrong with it. It’s clear, concise, and gets the job done.
But it’s not exactly memorable either. It’s just a generic string of words that leave your reader empty-handed. There’s no value or call to action. No personality. Frankly, a robot could write a more meaningful auto-responder email.
Robotic-sounding messages tend to repel readers—who are, after all, humans. And we humans love to be entertained. Every message, including your auto-responder email, is an opportunity to delight and engage readers.
So why not give your next “out of office” message some personality? Make it authentic and interesting, starting with these 5 out of office email templates.
You don’t owe anyone an explanation about why you’re away. But if you’re doing something interesting that will directly or indirectly benefit your clients—like volunteering abroad, traversing the Alps, attending a creative retreat, or presenting at a conference—why not mention it?
Sharing a glimpse into your life makes your message sticky. Plus, you might connect with someone through a shared experience or interest.
You don’t need to go into lengthy details of your whereabouts—just a snippet will do. It’s also courteous to include an estimated response time so that your readers don’t feel abandoned in a cue.
Here’s my most recent out of office email, for example:
Hey, there! Thanks for your email!
If you’re getting this message, it means I’m taking a week off to recharge my creative energy (backpacking in the Sierra Nevadas, for the curious) so that I can get back to work with fresh ideas for my clients.
You can expect a response when I return on [date]. In the meantime, here’s a question: What’s one small step you can take towards a big goal today? Do that.
[Your signature sign-off]
Do the same questions keep popping up in your inbox again and again? You know the ones…
Even if you have FAQs on your website, readers tend to skip straight to the contact page before reading everything (painful, but true). Your auto-responder email is a great way to answer common questions, instantly.
You can also use this auto-responder to field questions and save a few emails during regular workdays. When I’m focused on an important project, for example, I keep this auto-responder on to buy time until I can respond to emails.
Hello, and thanks for your email!
I’m away from my desk right now but will respond within 2–3 business days.
Got a burning question that just can’t wait? Chances are someone has asked before—so I’ve included answers to some of the most common questions below.
[Include your top 3–5 FAQs or a link to your FAQ page].
If this answers your question, hit reply and let me know!
Don’t see your question? Don’t worry—I’ll still be in touch with a personal response to make sure your inquiry is fully resolved.
[Your signature sign-off]
Waiting is boring. This is why call centers play music while you’re on hold, hair salons put magazines out, and auto repair shops offer coffee in the lobby.
Likewise, you can use your out of office email to delight and entertain readers while they wait for a response. Include a free worksheet, video, e-book, or anything else your readers will enjoy.
Here’s an out of office email template you can follow:
Good news—your email has landed safely in my inbox! You can expect a response within 2 business days.
In the meantime, I made something to help you [whatever it is your thing helps them do].
[Link to “the thing”—aka a free download, video, or blog post]
I hope [name of thing] makes the wait fly by.
Be in touch soon!
Why not get creative with your out of office email? I got this idea from my talented web designer Emma, who has her cat Lulu field emails while she’s away. This persona fits well with Emma’s brand because she lives on a farm in Australia.
Your persona doesn’t have to be based on a real-life mascot, however. It can be entirely fictional. Have fun with it—and your readers will too!
Here’s an example:
I’m [name of your auto-responder], [name’s] friendly email auto-responder. I’m here because he/she’s not.
You see, he/she’s [brief explanation of what you’re doing] so that he/she can return to the office with a fresh cup of piping hot creativity for his/her amazing clients.
He/She’ll be returning, thirsty for coffee and eager to get back to work [doing whatever it is you do], on [date]. You can expect to hear from him/her within 48 hours after that.
While he/she’s away, [name’s] left me in charge of assisting you. I may not be able to type personalized answers (I am, after all, only an email bot)—but I can direct you to some other great resources. So… which will it be?
[Bullet point list of resources: your website, pricing guide, media kit, blog, and anything else you’d like to share!]
Thanks for your patience!
[Your auto-responder’s name], the email bot
If you get emails from different audience segments—such as current clients, students, prospects, and partnerships—you can use your auto-responder to sort inquiries based on what they need to know.
Give your current clients and customers first priority (y’know… the ones funding your vacation). For other inquiries, set expectations and provide on-demand resources that provide answers to common questions. This might include links for your pricing guide, media kit, or booking page.
Here’s an out of office email example:
Thanks so much for reaching out. I’m currently on vacation until [date], celebrating [whatever it is you’re celebrating].
If you’re a current client or student, I’ll respond to your email within 24 hours of my return date.
If you’re interested in working together, I’ll be in touch with more info by [date you expect to catch up on project inquiries]. In the meantime, you can download my services & pricing guide right here: [your service page URL].
Looking for tips on [subject]? You’re in luck! I’ve got tons of free resources for you at [your blog URL].
Something else? Don’t worry—I’ll be in touch with a personalized response as soon as I can.
Pick your favorite out of office email template and customize it for your business—even if you’re only stepping away from your desk for an afternoon yoga sesh.
Your goal? Show your readers that you’re interesting, generous, and thoughtful… even when you’re away.