Email is one of, if not the, single most important business communication tools around. Everyone has at least one. If you’re like me, you have many.
Email branding. It’s probably something you’ve never even thought about, but what impression is your email address saying about your business? How does your email effect your branding?
For most small business owners, creating an email address specifically for their new business is one of the first steps they take, even before registering a domain name. This is completely backwards.
Since most businesses start out with a limited budget, trying to save money is important. Creating a Gmail, Yahoo, or AOL account is easy, and usually free. It also sends the entirely wrong message to everyone who sees it.
Communication is key in business. How you communicate is even more important. What you say and how you say it speak volumes to your customers about your professionalism and the quality of product or service you offer. When a potential customer, employee, or business partner sees a business email from you that is hosted on one of these free services, it sends the wrong message. It tells them you’re not serious enough about your new (or even worse, old!) venture to purchase a domain name for your website, and have your email accounts setup on that domain as well.
Your professional business email address *must* be setup on your own company URL/domain name. Example: [email protected]. Not [email protected]. Or worse yet, [email protected]. Having your email accounts on your own domain name tells the world you’re in business, and not still living in 1998.
So how do you get your own self-hosted email? Enter Google Apps.
Google is more than just a synonym for online search. They also provide one of the most popular email platforms available through Gmail. But built on top of that platform is their Google Apps suite of tools for business. We’ve been using their services since our inception, and it has served us very well.
Although not free, at $5.00 p/m per user is more than reasonable for the services offered. If all that was included for that price was just email, it would still be a good deal, but with their calendar, cloud storage, docs, and more, it’s a bargain.
Many web hosting providers include email accounts built on your domain when using their service to host your website. But these services usually have a poor design and user interface, and limit how you use them, which can make it challenging to setup and use on multiple devices.
So now you’ve been told. If your email is still resting on a free, unprofessional platform, you have no excuse not to make the switch right away. Your business reputation depends on it.