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Why You Should Set Out-of-Office Replies (Plus 3 Creative Examples!)

A man jumping on the beach, excited about creative OOO email replies

An entire blog post about email out-of-office replies? Is that really necessary?

We think so! Let me explain.

Not only are out-of-office emails really important, they also give you the opportunity to add a little personality to your emails!

For your inspiration, we came up with three creative out-of-office email replies to send the next time you’re ready to head out for a client meeting, conference, or exotic vacation.

Are Out-of-Office Replies Important?

We’ve all sent an email (and maybe even a follow-up) to a client and didn’t hear back for a number of days.

This leads us to make our own guesses about what is stopping them from replying:

  • Are they at home lying by the toilet, overcome with the stomach flu? Gross.
  • Are they drinking a margarita by a pool in the Caribbean? Jealous.
  • Are they blowing me off? Rude!

Setting out-of-office (OOO) replies removes the guessing and allows you to communicate why your response will be delayed, how long it will be delayed, and any other instructions you have for the email sender.

3 Examples of Creative Out-of-Office Replies

Setting an out-of-office reply is usually the last thing you do before heading out for a period of time. If you’re like me, you quickly type out a generic sentence informing everyone that you’ll be out and will respond later:

Out-of-Office Email Reply Examples

Even though my title at 9 Clouds is creative content strategist, nothing about this out-of-office reply is creative.

While it’s better than no reply at all, my typical out-of-office reply could definitely improve. I consulted with our OOO reply guru, Betsy, who always has a clever message while she’s away. Here are three of my favorites.

1. The One with the Prince Lyrics

Creative Out-of-Office Responses

During the annual 9 Clouds team retreat to Minneapolis, Betsy wanted to make sure her clients knew she would not be available to respond to emails.

She informed everyone why she was out, where she was going, and when she would respond. She also included a link to a blog post about our team retreat, so clients could learn about the types of activities we would be partaking in.

Oh, and she referenced three Prince songs. Since our team was traveling to Prince’s hometown of Minneapolis, this email was as clever as it was informative.

2. The One with the Emojis

Creative Out-of-Office Replies

Everyone loves a good emoji. Or 12.

Betsy was excited to witness her friend’s wedding and wanted everyone to know it — hence the emojis.

We’ve A/B tested emojis in email subject lines before, and they tend to get more opens, so it makes sense that Betsy included emojis in this out-of-office reply!

3. The One with a Dog Picture

Creative Out-of-Office Replies

Betsy took the day off to paint her house.

In general, painting is kind of boring. However, if you give a dog a paintbrush, things get a bit more interesting.

In addition to informing everyone that she would be unavailable for the day, Betsy included a picture of a dog that has way more talent than me. This OOO reply is helpful and makes me smile.

More Ideas for Personalized Out-of-Office Replies

Don’t be afraid to get creative with your out-of-office replies. In addition to the examples above, here are a few ideas to inspire your own:

  • A holiday-themed reply that incorporates as many Christmas carols as possible
  • A reply that includes a screenshot of the upcoming weather forecast of your vacation destination
  • An all-GIF out-of-office reply

The possibilities are endless, but remember the reason you’re setting the automatic reply in the first placeWhile humor and clever jokes can certainly have a positive impact on your brand (personal or professional), make sure the creativity in your OOO reply isn't dismissive of the email sender's needs.   

Always double-check your reply to make sure you’re including the necessary information, like when you’ll return and what the sender can expect in the meantime.

Get More Email Best Practices with 9 Clouds

There’s a lot more to email marketing than having a clever out-of-office reply. In fact, we created an entire video series on email marketing best practices.

This free step-by-step video course will help you learn everything you need to know about creating email messages, targeting your audience, and using automation to market your business.

We want to help you accomplish your email marketing goals in 2019, so get in touch and see what’s possible with email!

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