Why the little things – like your business email address – really do matter.
While researching naturopaths last month for support with a niggling health issue, I asked trusted friends for referrals. I received two recommendations from friends, and as trivial as it might appear, my decision was made as soon as I saw one naturopath’s email address.
The address was a gmail address (ie [theirbusinessname]@gmail.com) and straight away it made me question the credibility and integrity of the business.
I have come across many business owners who see the “little things” – like their email address – as not really important in the grand scheme of their business. But it’s often these small details that encourage, or worryingly prevent, people from using your business.
Using a free email address – such as gmail, yahoo or even worse, hotmail – detracts from the professionalism of your business and from the strength of your brand.
As a colleague mentioned in a recent Facebook discussion, “hotmail, yahoo and gmail for email addresses can be deal breakers for me.”
Anyone can set up these free email addresses, and in reality many spammers and scammers do, so they are often viewed with skepticism.
I strongly recommend to any business owner to set up your email addresses using your business name. It’s not difficult or expensive, and it can mean the difference between your brand appearing professional or untrustworthy.
How do I set up my business email address?
If you already have a website
Most web hosting packages include a set number of email addresses as part of the fee, so if you have an existing website speak to your developer or web host about setting up email addresses for your business.
One consideration when combining your email with your website hosting is that changing from one web host to another can be painful if your email is incorporated. For this reason I recommend linking your existing domain name to Google Apps for Work (see below) or another cloud-based email service.
No Website – Email Hosting Only
If you don’t have a website (and that’s discussion for another time), you can set up email hosting only. To do this, you need to buy a domain name incorporating your business name and set up the email addresses on the email hosting. (You can do this via any web hosting company, including well known brands such as GoDaddy).
Cloud-Based Email Service – Google Apps for Work
You can also set up your business email address using Google Apps for Work. For a low price ($5 per user per month) you can create your business email addresses (up to 30 email addresses per user) and use the cloud-based Gmail system to receive and manage your emails. So even though you are using Gmail’s system, the email addresses are your business name (eg firstname.lastname@example.org), rather than @gmail.com.
Google Apps for Work includes 30GB of inbox storage and a range of tools to tag, file and manage your emails. And being cloud-based, you can access your emails from any device anywhere in the world.
The Google Apps for Work subscription also gives you access to online calendars (which you can share among your team) plus cloud storage with Google Docs and many other features.
When using Google Apps for Work, you can either use your existing domain name (if you have one) or buy one through their domain host partners. By buying the domain name, you have it secured for when you are ready to set up your business website.
Is your email address that important?
Many people will argue that an email address isn’t that important, and that people won’t pay that much attention to such a small thing.
But every little detail plays its part in creating a first or lasting impression about your business. If something as “insignificant” as your email address has people questioning whether your business is trustworthy or professional, it could be the factor that leads them to choose your competitor instead.
Considering it’s not difficult to set up your business email addresses, it might be the little thing that makes a big difference.