You’ve heard it said, “you only have one chance to make a first impression”. In a world of digital marketing, we know just how true that statement is. We spend our efforts putting our best foot forward on Instagram, Facebook, email marketing, our website… pretty much everywhere that we are showing up online. But there is one place that is often overlooked. Can you guess what it is? (lol, of course, you can! It’s the title of the dang blog post!)

It’s time to get creative with our email autoresponders! We’ve all fallen victim to the boring autoresponder email. Shoot, if we’re honest, we’ve probably created a few of them ourselves *raises hand*. It goes something like this:

“Hello, I’m out of the office and will respond shortly.”

“Thanks for reaching out. I’m out of the office at the moment but I’ll respond as soon as I can.”

Can you say “yawn”? When I get an email like this two things come to mind. 1) I instantly imagine a whitewashed corporate clone sitting in a cubicle under fluorescent lighting. I DON’T think of a creative, innovative brand that I am excited about connecting with. 2) I get a little frustrated. How soon is “shortly”. Did they run out to Starbucks for a pick me up or are they out on vacation for a few weeks? Should I follow up in a few days or a few weeks?

Here’s what your autoresponder SHOULD include!

1. Thank them for emailing you.

You are happy to hear from them, so make sure they know it! Moment of honesty here… nothing is more unattractive when you are emailing someone than to feel like you have inconvenienced them in some way. I’ve legitimately received emails before that say things like: “Due to the large amounts of emails I receive each day, please expect to hear back in 48 hours”. Um… what? That is NOT the kind of greeting I am anticipating when I email someone. My hope is they are happy to hear from me and I want to get those warm fuzzies, even if it is just an autoresponder. So use those manners your mamma taught you and say, thank you!

2. Timeframe as to when they can hear back.

If you are out for the weekend, let them know. If you’re going on vacation, make sure they are in the loop. We’re all busy! So for the love of all things good, don’t leave them wondering when or if they are going to hear back from you. This is a great way to miss an opportunity!

3. A Call to Action!

Now, this is something that most people probably don’t consider when creating their email responders, but it probably the most important of them all. A call to action is the component that converts. I often will include my direct scheduling link within my autoresponder. That way, if someone is reaching out to connect with me, they don’t need to wait for me to get back in the office to get on the books. I make it super easy for them to schedule a call with me right there on the spot and lock in that opportunity. You could also link to a new blog post or invite them to follow you on social media. Either way, a call to action lets you create an instant connection even though you aren’t technically “in the office”.

Over the New Year, I decided to get creative with my autoresponder and the response was amazing. I had people responding to my autoresponder to let me know how much they enjoyed my response. I also had an increased number of bookings while I was away because people not only felt connected through my response, but they had a clear, “call to action” to take the next steps.

The Challenge:

1. If you aren’t already setting an autoresponder when you are “out of the office”, START NOW!

2. Make sure you include all three components of a stellar autoresponder. Let’s recap: 1) Say Thank You! 2) Let them know when they will hear back 3) Include a Call to Action

3. Get Creative! Don’t be afraid to use your unique voice and show off your personality! They are reaching out to you, after all, so let them get a little taste of who you are!

How’d it go? Leave your most creative email responses in the comments below. I can’t wait to hear what you came up with!