It’s amazing how many business-related emails are sent by business owners using their AOL, Gmail or Yahoo accounts. The convenience and comfort of using these free web-based accounts compel people to stick with them. But what does it say about you as a professional, and your commitment and faith in your own business, if you’re constantly sending out your company emails using another company’s brand? And I’m sure Google appreciates it. All else being equal, would you want to do business with JohnSmith@Gmail.com? Or would you prefer JanePDoe@ProudBusinessOwner.com?
Using an email address that includes your business domain says more about you and your business than you may realize:
1. It Just Looks More Professional
It shows you are serious about your business. You’ve taken the time to set up shop. And you use your branded business resources to communicate with clients and vendors.
2. It Brands Your Company Name — not Google’s, AOL’s or Yahoo’s
There’s a reason companies like Google, AOL and Yahoo offer services for free. They give their respective companies a ton of visibility every time someone sends an email using one of their accounts. Consider the number of emails you send on a daily basis. Which business name do you want to advertise, yours or theirs?
3. It Includes Your Website Address with Every Email
This one should be pretty obvious. If you set up email accounts using your domain name, immediately people know where to find more information about your business. Before I deal with new clients or vendors, I like to learn more about their businesses. It’s a dead end if they’ve used a Yahoo or Gmail account, especially since people using these free accounts don’t often bother to set up email signatures with business information, usually because they also send and receive personal emails from these accounts.
4. It Says You’ve Invested in Your Business and Therefore Others Should Too
There’s at least some bit of trust, a small leap of faith, that transpires between you and your new client. It’s much harder for someone to trust and hire a business owner who doesn’t look like one. An email with your business web domain looks like you have enough faith in your business to invest a bit of time and expense in creating your digital office, online store or e-shingle.
5. It Suggests You and Your Business Will Be Around for a While
Free email accounts look temporary. Sometimes they also look like a scam because they can be set up anonymously. A business email seems to have more roots and a sense of permanence.
6. It Separates Business Emails from Personal Communications
One of the first and most important guidelines for new business owners is understanding the need to keep business and personal matters separate. There are a number of legal, ethical and financial reasons for doing so. For businesses offering professional services, especially for our law firm clients, it’s essential.
Currently, we provide web design and management for a few homeowners associations. By nature, these HOAs are made up of volunteer homeowners who don’t always think of the HOA board as part of a business entity, albeit non-profit. As a result, they often handle board business through their personal emails. According to legal professionals, when individuals acting on behalf of a company or organization erode the line between personal and professional, they can, in certain unique and specific circumstances, risk exposing themselves to personal liability and losing the protection of their business liability coverage. OK. That’s enough of the scary legal stuff.
Bonus Reason: Business Email Accounts Can Also Be Free!
Most web hosting plans will provide free email accounts. So, if you plan to have a business website hosted anywhere, you probably already have access to email accounts at no added cost, so free. Our white label hosting, CloudNovo.com, offers email accounts with every shared hosting package. The Starter plan includes 100 email accounts with the plan. The Corporate and Enterprise plans have unlimited email accounts, which I think is a bit overwhelming, but there it is. In addition, these email accounts offer the same essential features as any other hosted email account: spam filtering, auto-responses, and email forwarding.
For businesses needing a bit more flexibility, security and spam filtering on steroids, there are also business email providers like Microsoft and AppRiver*, one of our partners. These business email providers offer more granular spam management, email backup, virus protection and more complex office features like hosted exchange, email continuity and end-to-end encryption.
Consider how you currently manage your business emails. Does it convey your professionalism as well as it could? Are you taking full advantage of all the web services you’re currently paying for, or are there included email accounts just waiting to be used?
*If you’d like to know more about AppRiver’s email continuity, end-to-end encryption or other services, just let us know through our contact form or your comments below.
**If you work for AOL, Yahoo or Google, obviously you’re good using these email accounts. Just saying. Also, the email account in the featured image is fictitious. Any resemblance to an actual person or email account is purely coincidental.