Recently, I went to a networking meeting with a variety of business owners and leaders. It was one of those card-swapping meetings that provided me with numerous leads and contacts. As usual, I took my stack of cards to the office and they were added to a special contact list in my email program so I could send a follow-up “Nice to See You” note.
As I was typing in the new lead list, I was amazed at how many of these people were using email addresses at aol, comcast, gmail, yahoo, and att instead of having a custom email address that branded their business. Sure, many of them used the name of their business in their email address such as “firstname.lastname@example.org” but that doesn’t exactly say “I’m professional, work with me.” In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
Your Email Address Brands You
You have a business. You are a professional. Every time you send or receive a business email your business is representing you. For many people, potential clients may see and use your email address before they ever meet you or see your website – it is their FIRST IMPRESSION of you and your business. With that in mind, look at your email address. Go ahead, I’ll wait…
What does your email address say about you and your business?
- I’m Cheap. If your business name isn’t after the “@” and instead you have one of the free email hosts, or a generic account such as gmail, it says you’re cheap. Get a branded email that tells people who you are and what your business is.
- I Don’t Care Who You Contact. If you use some strange combination of numbers and letters that don’t tell people who you are, it says you don’t really care if people email YOU because you aren’t personalizing the relationship by using your name. Avoid using names such as “email@example.com,” “firstname.lastname@example.org,” or cutesy names that only you relate to like “Sarah1980@somedomain.com,” or “RockinRob19@somedomain.com.”
- I’m Dumb. If you modify the spelling and it’s not part of your business brand, it makes you look dumb. Avoid shortening words such as “estimatr,” or worse “estim8r.”
- We’re Co-Dependent. Even if you and your spouse run the company, if you have both your names in the email rather than each of you having your own email address, it looks like you’re co-dependent or have some other unhealthy tied-at-the-hip issue. Don’t use anything such as “DaveandMargo@somedomain.com”
Move Up And Brand Your Email
All is not lost if your email isn’t making the best impression. What’s great about email technology is that you can get a custom branded email address for your business at very little cost. AND, you can forward emails currently going to your “less-than-professional” address to your new email address so you don’t miss out on any emails from contacts who knew you before you moved up in the world.
- You may already get free custom email accounts. If you have a custom business domain, (which you SHOULD if you have a business – but that’s another post) you may get free email addresses through your website host. Most web hosts (HostGator, GoDaddy, BlueHost, NetworkSolutions, etc.) offer free email accounts when you have a hosting account with them. All of these can be set up to go directly to your Outlook, smartphone, or wherever you get your emails.
- If you don’t have a custom URL for your business, GET ONE NOW and make sure it provides you with free email addresses! You can select from a myriad of companies that offer them, some even say it will only cost you pennies. Pay attention to the fine print, though, it’s usually only pennies for the first year and then they charge you more after that. OR, there is some other catch involved such as they have to also host your website. (For you non-techy folks, you can register your domain with one company, and have your website hosted with another. Hosting is usually the more expensive part of the equation. I will provide some cost-effective options below.)
- There are companies that will register a custom domain email for you using your domain or some other name you select. But, unless they charge a lot less than your domain registrar and/or your website host, I wouldn’t bring another account into the mix – it just gets confusing when there’s a problem with emails coming/going.
“I’m Professional But I’m Not Tech Saavy”
If this is you I have a solution. (Hence the name “Teric Enterprise Solutions – we have solutions for your enterprise.”) I am more than happy to help you get your email set up to represent you as the competent, quality professional you are!
Here are some of the things I will do to help you:
- I will register your custom domain name and set it up to point to your current website (if it isn’t already). And/or set up a custom website or landing page for you.
- I will communicate with your web designer or hosting company to identify whether or not you get free custom email accounts.
- I will send you step-by-step instructions on how to add your custom email to Outlook, your smartphone, or whatever you use to get your emails.
- I will provide you with instructions on how to access your email no matter where you are.
- And if necessary, I will meet with you at your office to set up all your computers and phones with the custom email addresses as needed.
Costs for these services vary depending on how much time it takes and how many accounts need to be set up, etc. But, generally for small businesses, it costs less than a nice dinner for two.
So, make the changes you need to so you can look like the professional you are – there’s no reason to let your email say bad things about you anymore.