“Thanks for your email. I’m vacationing in Fiji for the next two weeks.”
Translation: Because I’m successful and awesome and sleeping in a house on stilts. Not that I’m bragging.
“Thanks for your email. Please note that I only respond to emails between the hours of 12-2 pm EST. Any emails received outside of these times will be returned the next business day.”
Translation: Really, I can’t be bothered. But I would like you to know how efficient I am, by clogging your inbox with yet another useless email.
"Thanks for your email. I will get back to you as soon as I can. In the meantime, please check out my Facestagramtwitterest feed."
Translation: Your email has landed in my inbox. Congratulations.
"Thanks for your email. I’m on vacation, but if your message is urgent I’ll get back to you ASAP." Translation: If you don’t hear from me, you’ll know that your email is of no consequence.
"Thanks for your email. I’m taking some time off to be with my family over the holidays."
Translation: Which is what you should have done instead of emailing me on Christmas. Loser.
If your email autoresponder is phrased like any of the above, the answer to our question is yes: your autoresponder is hurting your business.
When a potential/present/past client or another photographer or vendor emails you, they want information or encouragement or connection. What they don’t want is to be reminded how they’re not on vacation, or how you’re so on top of email that you’ll answer them within 24 hours.
For some clients, your email autoresponder could be their first impression of you and your business. So make it a professional one, sent only when professionally necessary:
Thanks for your email. I am out of the office from April 24-30. Please contact yourassistant@yourstudiophotography for assistance.
Or: Thanks for your email. I am out of the office from April 24-30, and will answer your message upon my return. Like it or not, your emails could be turning clients off without you even knowing it. (The Fiji note landed in our inbox one rainy, cold Monday. We threw something at our computer.) When you’re actually out of the office and truly can’t return messages, a simple, direct autoresponder is the best way to let the world know.
Need some help presenting polished communications in every situation? Check out our best-selling Studio Email Assistant or our Studio Success Guide: Flawless Communications to help your correspondence hit the right note.
~ The F Stops Here is an exclusive collection of articles by Design Aglow, designed to be used and shared by photographers. Look for this column twice monthly here on the Design Aglow Blog and feel free to grab & share on your site, blog and/or social media pages with a byline and link to DesignAglow.com.
When I was in college, I had a friend who was a professional photographer. The first time I went to her home, I walked in to find stunning photographs of her children on the walls.
There was a huge canvas in their living room and a creative photo display in the main hallway. I remember being so moved by the beauty of those images, thinking to myself, “I want to create images like this!” I bought myself a DSLR as a graduation present, learned photography from online courses and started my photography business about a year later.