Use Case: Out of Office Messages

Buckle up–this use case will be a little longer because it’s really a passion of mine. I think the out-of-office (OOO) message is one of the most wasted spaces of communicative real estate that I see on a regular basis. I’ve always been a fan of non-traditional OOO messages. The typical: “I’m away from my office from X to Y for Z” is a snooze-fest. And it doesn’t do anything to educate your internal and external audiences about what you’re doing–what a missed opportunity!

If you use this tip as a way to craft better OOO messages, you’ll be a step ahead of most. And if you use your avatar to deliver these messages, even better! I’ve regularly gotten increased email sign-ups, discovery calls, and even clients simply from my OOO messages. Follow these steps to a great OOO message and how you can use your avatar to make it even more impressive.

Step 1: Creative Subject Line

“Away from the office” or “Out of office” or “Vacation responder” is boring. It also guarantees that, unless someone needs to know when you return, they won’t read what follows. Use a creative subject line instead.

Step 2: Break the Mold Opening Paragraph

Avoid the standard, “I’m away from the office from X to Y to attend Z.” We’ve come to expect this from an OOO message.

Instead, break the mold, Use something with and interest-grabbing position. And make it short and to-the-point.

Step 3: The Essentials + Some Fun

Here is where you satisfy the curiosity that you piqued in the opening paragraph and subject line, and where you give the essential information. Use this formula:

What you’re doing (be fun!) + When you’ll be gone

Step 4: Avatar Video

Leverage your digital likeness for that extra “umph” in your OOO message. Create a short video (25-60 seconds) adding context. It can repeat some of what you said in the email message already–that’s okay! This adds extra flavor and status-quo-mold breaking spirit to your communication.

Step 5: Challenge

This isn’t an essential step, but I always love adding it in and seeing who responds. Ask a question to your audience to encourage them to share a story or something fun with you–even better if you relate it to the reason for your own OOO message.

Want to see an example? Check out the featured image (in full) or watch another one in the video below.

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