email auto-reply

I wrote to a jewelry maker the other day and got their automatic out-of-office reply. Here is what it said:

“Thank you for your email! We are currently out of the office but will reply within 24 hours.”

No signature or phone number. It was brief and to the point.

Although it was somewhat informative, there is SO MUCH you can do to market yourself through your email auto-reply or out-of-office messages! It’s prime real estate, so use it well!

Some companies have an auto-reply that goes out to everyone who sends them an email. Some have an “out of office” reply just to cover vacations and other out of office events. Consider whether you might use one even when you’re not out of the office to confirm receipt of an email and provide some extra sales or customer service information to your customers.

Boost the power of your email auto-reply with these tips:

  • Direct people to selling pages on your website. If you’re having a sale, rolling out a new line, updating some site features or more, direct people to those on your site.”We’ll get back to you soon! In the mean time, please check out this new line of beach glass necklaces at our site [link here]!”
  • Tell them about an upcoming event where you will display your jewelry.  If you will be exhibiting soon, share the details! “For folks in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area, we’ll have a booth (and GREAT offers) at the expo center July 4-8 … to get your tickets and passes, visit [link here]!”
  • Remind readers to sign up for your newsletter. If you have a newsletter or mailing list for your business, suggest that people sign up and provide a form or link.”If you’d like to get regular updates on specials, sales, private showings and “friends and family” discounts and rewards, sign up for our newsletter [link here]!”
  • Provide a list of resources they may need. Although it’s nice to offer to respond within 24 hours, what if someone has a quick question about an order, wants to see your return policy, or has a common question about the safest way to clean the jewelry they bought from you? Give links (or phone numbers) to commonly requested resources:”If you wish to return an item, please visit this page [link here] for our return policies and instructions. If you want to report a missing order, please call our toll-free number at [number here]. If you want jewelry cleaning tips, you can find them on our website here [link here].”
  • Link to external media coverage of your company. If you have been featured by a local newspaper, magazine or other media, link to that coverage in the auto-reply. “We were recently voted Best Handcrafted Jeweler in Boston! See the story here [link here].”

Although I think you should include your contact information in the signature of your auto-responder, not everyone agrees. In this article in Entrepreneur from 2014, for example, the author advises against it, but she posts a lot of other cool tips that you might want to read:

Our auto-responder replies to all messages. If you want to see what it says, send an e-mail to (tell me what you thought of this post, send your favorite grilled-cheese recipe or a picture of your favorite pet), and you’ll get an auto-response within a minute.

Question: What do you say in your auto-responder or out of office message? Leave a comment below!