Normally, I find those “out-of-office” emails that people send when they are, well, out of their office, very annoying. I know they serve a purpose for communicating a vital message to those that need it, but sometimes I think people use those messages to basically say “I’m busier than you are and I don’t have time for you right now.”

I usually get that impression when I ALWAYS get a message back from the same people saying they are “out of the office” every single time I send them an email. Are these people NEVER in their office??

Now, I do understand that some folks use that message as a way to make sure that the sender of an email who is expecting a reply, doesn’t think they are just being ignored, and when used that way, I think that’s a good idea.

For instance, Pharice Brown over at Pharice Brown & Associates does this nicely.

If you send Pharice an email you get an out of office response with a twist.

For starters, her subject line says: While we process your request, read our don’t miss opportunity.

The email then lets you know you can expect to hear back from them within 48-hours and then gives you an alternative way to contact them if you need to reach them immediately — a phone number. How novel.

But Pharice’s message goes one step further and this is what I think makes her messages special and done like a true, thinking-out-of-the-box guerrilla marketer…

She promotes something! It could be a charitable event that they are involved in or one of their products or services.

I think these are excellent ideas — from her subject line to the phone number for emergency use to the promotion of an event, product or service.

If you are going to use an out-of-office email to respond to your emails, then take a lesson from Pharice.

The only thing I might change is some of the wording in her subject line. Instead of saying “read our” I might change that to something like “check out”. Seems like less work to me than reading, but hey, that’s just me.