Think those two things have little in common? Well, they most certainly don’t! Read on to learn how your potential website visitors — and clients and customers — can get a less-than-desirable impression of your business or organization from your email address.
Your website is a reflection of your business or organization’s brand, which is a sacred and valuable asset. Your brand and your website need to align perfectly if your message is to be consistent and understood.
The online business dictionary defines a brand as:
“Unique design, sign, symbol, words, or a combination of these, employed in creating an image that identifies a product and differentiates it from its competitors. Over time, this image becomes associated with a level of credibility, quality, and satisfaction in the consumer’s mind. Thus brands help harried consumers in a crowded and complex marketplace, by standing for certain benefits and value.”
Imagine yourself looking to hire someone for a position in your firm. You’ve got a stack of resumes and you’re going through them, looking for any reason to place one in the “maybe” pile and probably even more reasons to place one in the “no” pile. Looking at the emails of some of your prospective employees, you’ve spotted a couple of note: “email@example.com” and “firstname.lastname@example.org.” Which pile would you put these resumes into?
Now let’s take that thought a step further and consider what email address (or addresses) you’re going to use for your new fledgling business, “Annie’s Pies.” You’ve been baking pies as a sideline business for a couple of years now and email@example.com has serviced you well (even though you appear to be a part-time spy!). That free email service from Google hasn’t ever been a problem. Well, Gmail has occasionally automatically filed legitimate emails into your Social or Promotions folder when they really belonged in your Primary folder, but that’s not a show-stopper. Why bother changing when what you’ve got — or what you can get for free — seems perfectly fine.
So, imagine you’ve sent me an email because you’re interested in my web design and consulting services. I’ve written my usual scintillating and engaging reply(!) and you’ve noted my email address, as most people do.
At this point you’re going to have to do some more in-depth imagining by considering the following three email addresses:
Which one do you think would best support the Websmithian brand?
Would one of those email addresses more strongly evoke an image of prosperity and longevity?
Which business email would you consider to be associated with a company that is reliable and established?
Does any of those email addresses belong to a company that you think has a lot of employees and a greater capacity to supply and support its products or services?
Get my point?
Here’s another point: Do you want something else (or someone else) to be privy to all of the written communications going between yourself and your customers? Given the choice, would your business partners prefer to deal with a business or organization that exclusively conducts private communications?
Not to be an alarmist or anything, but if you believe that only you and the recipients of your Gmail (or other freebie email service) are able to view emails sent through that system you are sadly mistaken. Do a Google search “how private is my Gmail?” and you’ll get a whole bunch of information — some of it quite contradictory — but most of it quite sobering.
What I do know is that the email mailbox I have that’s associated with my business, Websmithian, can only be accessed by myself or the email service host. I also know that any mail I send from that address can only be read by a recipient with a password-protected account. And if your account is a freebie (Gmail, Yahoo mail, etc.) then, unfortunately, I don’t have any control over our communication privacy anymore!
Email addresses associated with your domain (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org) come at a few costs:
- They have a monthly, quarterly, or annual charge for each unique email address.
- There are limits on the size of your mailbox, so you might occasionally need to do some housecleaning. (Even freebie accounts have their limits.)
- You will need to use a software email client (e.g. Outlook, Thunderbird, Bluemail) to send and receive emails or use an online email client (e.g. RoundCube). Fortunately, software email clients these days can also handle Gmail and other freebie email services, so at least all of your emails — personal, business, and otherwise — can be consolidated into one program.
To summarize — and add a few more advantages — here are the primary benefits of using domain email addresses:
- Customers expect your business to have a website — and they expect email addresses associated with your website to have that @mybusiness.com suffix. When they do, it tells them you’re serious about your business.
- People will doubt your credibility and professionalism if you’re using a freebie email service.
- You can set up job-specific email addresses (e.g. email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com) and route those to anyone in the business your choose — even if that’s only you!
- If you want to move your email service provider, you can do that relatively easily. Try to move all of your email from firstname.lastname@example.org to email@example.com!
- Most email services offer different levels of spam filtering, email forwarding, and other useful functions that the freebies don’t provide.
- You’ll get the highest level of email privacy and security possible.
Websmithian offers email hosting for a very reasonable yearly fee. Each account is typically capped at 5GB (more is available). Migration services from your present email address — no matter what type — are available.
P.S. If you want some unbiased advice on this subject, I urge you to read this article, Why your business shouldn’t use a Gmail.com address, and what to use instead, published by Zapier.
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