Don’t miss out on potential leads just because business is closed for holiday! Here’s how to set up an "out of office" autoresponder for WordPress forms.
Before heading out on vacation, most people set up an out of office email. However, these autoresponders aren’t just for an email inbox – web forms can benefit from a closed for holiday message, too.
By adding an auto reply to web forms, you can avoid missing out on leads. With the right automatic response, any customers will know exactly when to expect a response, rather than being left waiting.
In this post, we’ll show you how to create holiday out of office messages for web forms. We'll be using Formidable Forms, the best autoresponder plugin for WordPress. We’ll also use conditional logic to enable and disable this message automatically. Let’s get started!
Step 1: Add a hidden date field to the form
Depending on the date, you can send email autoresponders whenever someone submits, updates, or deletes a form. To start, you’ll need to add a hidden field to the form that will eventually trigger this autoresponder. This will enable you to capture the dates when this form is submitted. You’ll then use this information to enable and disable the auto reply automatically.
In the WordPress dashboard, navigate to Formidable → Forms. You can now hover over the form that you want to edit, and select the Edit link:
Make sure the Build tab is selected. In the left-hand menu, select the Add Fields tab. In Search Fields, start typing Hidden and then select this option when it appears. This adds a new field that won’t be publicly visible:
Next, select this Hidden field. In the left-hand menu, click to expand the Advanced section. In the Default value field, enter the following: [date format='Y-m-d']:
To save your changes, click on Update. Formidable Forms will now capture the information we need to enable and disable our holiday out of office message.
Step 2: Add a new email autoresponder
To trigger a closed for vacation auto reply, you’ll need to create an action. In WordPress, navigate to Formidable → Forms. Then, hover over the form in question and select the Edit link.
On the next screen, select the Settings tab. In the left-hand menu, choose Actions & Notifications:
By default, Formidable Forms already has a email notification set up that sends a notification to the site admin. Since this email will go to the site visitor, you show click the Send Email icon to add another message.
Now, assign this email a descriptive Label. This will only appear on the back end, so it’s simply for your reference:.
We want to send this autoresponder to the person who submitted this form. This means retrieving their Email input, and using it as the To address. Fortunately, Formidable Forms has full support for dynamic values:
To access these settings, click on the three-dotted icon. You can now select the Email value, which will retrieve and use the email address submitted as part of this form.
Step 3: Customize the closed for holiday email
Next, you'll need to specify the address that you’ll use to send this autoresponder. By default, Formidable Forms will insert [admin_email] into the From field. This is a placeholder for the WordPress admin email address defined in the site Settings → General dashboard.
If you want to send the autoresponder from any other address, delete this shortcode and type a new address into the From field:
Be careful changing the From email address. If you haven't tested sending emails from this address, you may end up not sending emails at all.
If someone responds to the holiday out of office message, their reply will be sent to the address in the From field. If you want to forward their response to a different address, click on Reply To. Then, enter the email address in question.
You can now create the email by entering a subject and writing the body text. When writing the message, you may want to personalize the response using dynamic text. For example, the autoresponder can address the recipient by name:
Here's an example out of office message you could steal (replace  with the name field from your form):
Our team is out celebrating the holidays with family and friends. In our breaks from binge watching classic movies, and eating everything in sight, we'll be checking email for any urgent matters. If your email requires immediate attention, we'll respond to your email shortly. Otherwise, we will respond when we return.
Step 4: Add conditional logic when closed for vacation
You can use conditional logic to specify the criteria that will trigger the email. In this scenario, we only want to send the autoresponder within a specific timeframe.
To create this rule, click to expand the Add Conditional Logic section. In the first two dropdowns, select Do and All.
Next, open the Select dropdown and choose the Hidden field. We want this auto responder to become active automatically at a certain date, so open the Select dropdown and choose Greater than. Now, enter the date in the following format: Y-m-d. For example, 2021-12-20.
To deactivate this autoresponder automatically when the office is back up and running, you need to add another condition. Give the + button a click. Set the subsequent drop downs to Hidden and less than. Then, enter the date when returning to the office:
This is all you need to create an autoresponder that activates and deactivates automatically. To save your changes, click on Update.
If you or your clients are stepping away this holiday season, then it’s smart to set up an autoresponder. This will inform users that their message was received and will be responded to as soon as possible.
Let’s quickly recap how to create a closed for holiday message with Formidable Forms:
- Add a hidden date field to the form.
- Define an action.
- Create a closed for holiday email.
- Add conditional logic.
Autoresponders are just one way that conditional logic can level up web forms. Check out what other powerful automation workflows you can create, with the best form maker plugin!