Do you worry about how to take vacation from work when you’re the boss?
By using the power of copywriting, your next vacation could be your most relaxing—and profitable!—one yet.
Planning to take a vacation from work is a double-edged sword for most small- and medium-sized business owners.
You desperately need the time away to recharge, and yet you can’t relax because you’re the boss.
- At best, you won’t get any new customers while you’re away
- At worst, you’ll lose existing customers because they can’t reach you when they need you
- And your middle-of-the-road solution of a “working” vacation brings more stress than if you’d just stayed home (from customers and from your traveling companions)
Did you know you can take a vacation from work, keep your customers happy, and even recruit new business while you’re away?
Keep reading for the step-by-step instructions. To make it even easier, I’ve included a checklist at the end of this post you can download for free.
Let’s get to it!
Step #1: Use Your Vacation as an Incentive for More Business
Timeline: 3 months in advance of your vacation.
Many business owners go about a vacation announcement the wrong way. They avoid mentioning it at all (and stay glued to their phones throughout their holiday), or they apologize profusely to customers beforehand as if they aren’t entitled to ever be away.
Some business owners never even take a real vacation because they’re afraid to lose business.
Does that sound like you?
(All of the above methods makes you the worst boss you’ve ever had, btw. You deserve better.)
Instead of apologizing or staying tethered to your business, use your upcoming absence to make more sales.
In the copywriting biz, we call this Scarcity.
Scarcity is in play when you see the phrases “supplies are limited” or “time is running out” or the “early-bird discount ends soon.” The threat of a product or service or discount going away propels many shoppers to take out their credit cards. They don’t want to miss out.
Too often, the scarcity is false and consumers know it (as if there are “limited supplies” of digital products or the rug store down the street hasn’t been running a going-out-of-business sale for at least 10 years).
However, your scarcity is real.
You will physically be away from your business, unable to be reached for a number of days or weeks. And this scarcity can at the very least remind customers of your past value to them. Often it will encourage them to book some of your limited time. (Or to make an order, if you sell products.)
So why not play up that scarcity and book more business before you go on vacation? I patterned the below email after reading the book, The Wealthy Freelancer. Co-author Ed Gandia uses this strategy to fill up his schedule before he goes on vacation…and it works for me, too.
Why This Email Works
- A mention of previous work reminds the customer of your value to their business
- Your memory of the customer’s needs shows you’re paying attention and thinking about them. (Need help remembering client info? Keep notes in a CRM solution like Hubspot or 17Hats.)
- Sometimes customers need a nudge to take action on their great ideas. You’re not asking for their business so much as you are reminding them of their own intentions
- The low-pressure offer sounds more like a favor than a sales pitch—and people like favors
- The “let me know either way” option invites a reply and at the least will often result in a “have a nice trip” email. When you return, this is a good starting off point to follow up
Send a brief yet personalized email to all your recent clients, as those are the ones most inclined to send you more business. (Or simply steal my template above.)
You can also send a more general version of this email to your entire list as well as less recent customers using the same tone and message:
If you’ve been thinking about getting X, then book it now before it goes away for a while.
Remind your clients again at the 2-month mark, the 6-week mark, the 4-week mark, and the 2-week mark.
Step #2: Ditch Your Boring Out of Office Message
Timeline: 1 day before your vacation starts through the last day of your vacation
What your out-of-office message does is capture new prospects, those who won’t likely come back if all they get is a boring: “I’ll be back in the office in 2 weeks.”
Does that mean you should get cutesy with your message? Don’t risk it. Prospects are likely to be turned off if you tell them you’re sunning on a beach in Mexico while they’re in the midst of a problem and looking for a solution.
The hard truth: Strangers don’t care where you’ve gone or what you’re doing or how much you needed this vacation. They want immediate help for their problem, and if you can’t be there to give it, you need to give something to tide them over until your return.
Offer them a freebie on your website that pertains to a need they likely have. Or a product that can ease their pain.
Why This Email Works
- A tantalizing subject line compels them to keep reading (do you think they’d open one that said Out of office until June 13?)
- Enticing the prospect with an unusual and hard-to-get perk like my “post-vacation creativity” plays on the scarcity we talked about in step 1.
- Step-by-step instructions and expectations leave them with no doubt as to what will happen on June 13 if they give me 2 basic pieces of information. They can check this item off their to-do list for today instead of looking for another copywriter to fit the bill.
- The blog post I linked to showcases my copywriting style as well as my strategic approach to content. Not to mention the article is insanely helpful on a topic many business owners find challenging.
I used this autoresponder on my recent vacation and came back with 2 new copywriting projects after 15 days offline. (In addition to those I booked before I left using Step #1.)
Several colleagues mentioned how much they loved the message (and asked for permission to steal it). In fact, that’s what prompted me to share my system with you in this blog post.
Step #3: Reconnect with a Reward
Timeline: Within 1 week of your return to work
When you return from vacation, reconnect with your customers, prospects, and colleagues by sharing something valuable. It can be something you prepare before you go, a special offer, or a relevant news article or tip you discover.
Make your re-entry into their lives about them, not about you, and you’ll gain more business.
I send personalized emails to current clients and hot prospects, and then I send a more general email to my list. Everyone knows I’m back and gets a reminder of how I can help them grow their business using content.
Why This Email Works
- You’re offering something of value that will help your customer with a problem
- You’ve reminded them again of their goals and how you can help
- You’ve shown how organized and detail-oriented you are
Ready to Pack Your Bags?
No need to hide your vacation from your customers anymore.
Instead, use your time away to remind past customers of your value and future prospects of the benefit of doing business with such a balanced and well-organized person.
Need some help setting up this system? Download your free vacation email prep list by clicking the image below. And if you need a copywriter to help you create revenue-generating systems for the rest of your business, you can reach me here.