Are you still sending out business emails from JoeSmith1049@hotmail.com or TheBikeShop@aol.com? If so, it’s time to rethink things a bit. Getting your own company email domain (i.e., Joe@thebikeshop.com) is a smart move for several reasons:
- It makes your business look more professional. Just this morning I contacted an independent contractor with a Hotmail email address. I have to admit, just based on that address I had second thoughts about the person. How up-to-date could they be with an email address from 1998?
- It inspires trust. Using an AOL, Hotmail, Yahoo or Gmail address puts your credibility at risk when you email someone you don’t know yet, such as prospects or referrals. After all, anybody can set up one of those email addresses for free in 10 seconds. How do recipients know you’re really who you say you are?
- It makes your business look bigger. When you use an AOL, Hotmail, Yahoo or Gmail account to send business email, you look like a single individual rather than a business. But with a custom email address for your business, you can create email addresses for different “divisions,” such as email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. (No one has to know that you’re the only employee and the one answering all of those emails!)
- It’s portable. Suppose you decide to give up Hotmail and switch to Gmail (at least it’s more current, right?). You will have to change your email address and notify every one of your customers, vendors and associates. Chances are many of them won’t get the notification, won’t pay attention or won’t bother to update your information. When you have your own custom email, you can switch Web hosts and still keep your email the same.
- It improves email deliverability and results. Emails sent from free email provider domains are more likely to get blocked as spam (notice how your junk email usually comes from accounts like firstname.lastname@example.org?) Plus, when recipients see your company’s domain as the sender, they’ll immediately recognize the email is from you—making it more likely to get opened and acted on.
Getting a custom email address is simple; your Web host can provide you one and show you how to administer it. Look for a company that provides unlimited email addresses on a domain so your business can grow as big as it needs to.
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship.