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Out of office replies are the bane of the email marketers life. 

You send out a large campaign and a million Out of Office replies (Or OOO’s as we like to call them) flood the inbox of whichever email address you’ve wired up to your email marketing platform.

What a pain!

There are of course technical tweaks you can put in place to prevent OOO’s clogging your inbox, but just because you can, doesn’t necessarily mean you should.

Out of offices are actually an invaluable tool for the experienced Business Developer, and should be treated with the due deference they deserve.

As Campaign Director at Propeller Group, Jess Milham tells us

Out of offices are like gold dust for our BD team. Not only do they notify us if the prospect is out of the office or left the company, they are a great way of capturing a contacts mobile number which enables the team to follow up effectively and book that meeting with the prospect. They also good at identifying the right point of contact if someone has left the business.

Not only do OOO’s let you know of alternative contacts within a business that you should be reaching out too, they also tell you who not to be emailing, and that’s critical to keeping your sender domain reputation intact.  

Contrary to popular belief, most Out of Office replies these days are triggered before even reaching the recipients inbox. So an out of office, whilst technically a reply, isn’t counted as such by the Mailbox providers of this world. 

If someone has therefore left a business and you keep emailing them, the address becomes a honey trap for the Mailbox provider, and you, the marketer will be flagged as a spammer.

So, how should you deal with Out of Office replies?

Our advice is to set up rules within your mailbox to segregate Out of Offices into their own discrete folder (rule suggestions below).  Whilst these won’t capture every single OOO, they’ll filter most of them out of your day to day inbox.  You can then run through your OOO’s when you have a spare few minutes. 

To increase your efficiency, you can also flag emails for automatic unsubscribing from your Marketing Automation Platform through the use of Zapier, or other third party tools.

Out of office rules

To route Out of Office replies to a separate folder, simply set up rules in your mailbox that look for subject lines beginning with:

  • Auto:
  • Automatic reply
  • Autosvar
  • Automatisk svar
  • Automatisch antwoord
  • Abwesenheitsnotiz
  • Risposta Non al computer
  • Automatisch antwoord
  • Auto Response
  • Respuesta automática
  • Fuori sede
  • Out of Office
  • Frånvaro
  • Réponse automatique
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