Where’d Everyone Go? How to Handle Out-of-Office Replies

by Ron Daly

We send a lot of emails to a lot of businesses here at DigitalMailer. One thing that always amazes me? How many “out of office” replies we get after a send. Sometimes, it’s as high as 25% of the list. And with list sizes that can go into the hundreds (or even thousands), a high number of out-of-office replies can be a problem.

So how do you deal with these replies? It depends on the message. If the list is large and the message isn’t high priority,  missing a handful of potential contacts isn’t the end of the world…you might think about holding off and letting them manage the email in their own way and trying again the next time.

What about an important message to a targeted group of contacts? That’s different, because that message might need an action on the other end. Consider this: set a criteria to your email list that’s basically a checkbox, labeled “out of office?”. When your out-of-office replies come in, search for those contacts, check the box and save. A few days later, re-send to selected contacts – this time, only to those with the “out of office?” box selected. If the message is important, you need to get through somehow.

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