What is your business email?
I cannot be the only person who looks at email addresses. How many emails do you get from “major” web design/ digital/ development companies in India … with an email address @gmail.com or @outlook.com? At a networking event, you can look at the attendees list and pick out new/ micro businesses by the email addresses. Larger or savvy companies have set up a separate email address for their company whilst others look like they are using their home email account.
Does it matter?
Yes, I think it does.
On a marketing level, a domain email address looks more professional. It helps to establish your brand. A business card with the company domain on the email address looks professional but using a .virgin.net email address suggests you have not finished the job. You cannot tell how big or established a .com or .co.uk business is, but you can be fairly confident that a .live.com or .btinternet.com business is a single person. This may not make any difference when it comes to making the sale but why take the chance?
There are also some business considerations
Mixing work and home emails is OK while you are the only person who needs to look at them. What happens when you are so busy you want to employ someone to sort out your paperwork for you?
Service levels and terms for gmail and the like are designed for the home user and you have little or no chance of redress for business lost because of email problems. (Why should they do anything more: they want you to pay!)
If you change your ISP, you can no longer use their mail services. You then have to change all your stationery and alert all your clients and contacts to the change. This may not be your choice: Virgin recently pulled the plug on all their non-cable customers.
One free step
There is one step you can take for free: set up mail forwarding for your domain. This redirects mail sent to your domain email to your working email account: for example you can publish an email address of email@example.com on your literature and any emails will land in your firstname.lastname@example.org inbox. You can set forwarding for individual email addresses or for all email to the domain.
To set up mail forwarding you need access to your domain settings. If you are not managing these then speak to the person who set up your website. The “how” will vary between domain registrars so consult their help system.
The downside of mail forwarding is that emails you send will still come from email@example.com. The upside is that once you have established firstname.lastname@example.org as your email address, you can change how you manage your email later without further reprinting.
For a small cost
While email forwarding will keep you going for a while, it is well worth investing in an email account for your business. There is a lot available and your choice will depend on what you need for your business now and going forward:
- Check your web hosting package: many of these include email accounts. These tend to be basic email accounts suitable for micro businesses. You need to check on how much disk space you get particularly if you need to ship large images and other media around.
- Most email offer access from multiple devices but it is worth checking.
- Do you want calendars, contact management, tasking? Do you need multiple accounts and the ability to manage them? Do you want to delegate access? Make your list and use it to help you choose.
- How do you want to access your emails: are you using a program such as Outlook, Mac Mail or Thunderbird or do you want to access through your browser or link into your gmail?
Once you have made your selection, your vendor will supply you with setup instructions.
Please contact us if you would like help in setting up your email. We can give you advice on choosing the right package and help you set it up.