When you’re starting a business, there’s a long list of steps to take to get your company off the ground. One task that is sometimes overlooked is setting up a professional email address. It is often tempting for new business owners to use a free or personal email account to save money, but this may not be the best solution. An email address that includes your company’s name helps boost your professional image, thus making your brand feel more established, identifiable and credible.
What is a branded email address?
A branded email address is one that has your business name or website in it. An example of a branded email address is firstname.lastname@example.org for the company Smith and Sons.
An email address like this conveys a message of trust to someone who visits your website, and helps you build brand recognition. Often, people will take the web address from the back end of your email address and paste it into their browser to learn more about your company.
Did you know? An unbranded email address is any free email address from websites such as Yahoo and Google.
Why your business needs a branded email address
There are many benefits of using a branded email address. Here are seven reasons your business needs one:
1. You gain instant credibility with customers.
What is the first thing that comes to mind when you see a business with a free email account? Be honest. If you are like most people, you may think the business is not legitimate or trustworthy. You may wonder, how secure is their business if they’re not willing to pay a few bucks a month for a professional email account?
Credibility is an important, invisible currency in the business world. If your business seems suspicious, customers will not buy your products and services online. You will also look like an amateur when you contact media companies and other businesses. A professional email address with your domain name makes you look more dependable.
2. You save time by managing your website and email address in one place.
Every second counts when you are running a business. You probably have multiple accounts you have to log in to every day for your business. By bundling your email with the purchase of your company’s domain name, you can save time by managing your email from the same control panel you use to oversee your website.
3. Your brand gets a chance to shine.
When your email looks good, your business does, too. Let’s face it: A free email account devalues your brand. It is much harder to send out customized emails that reflect your brand using a free email address.
Branding helps your email stand out. It also shows that you care about your company’s image and how others view it. The more customers recognize your emails, the more familiar they will be with the business. This awareness can lead them to trust your brand and spend more money on your products over time.
4. Your emails are less likely to go into the spam folder.
Did you know that some businesses block emails from free email accounts? So, while you may save money with a free account, it could cost your business millions in lost sales.
For example, let’s say you are pursuing a hot lead with a free email address. You’ve sent five emails and still haven’t heard back from them. Little did you know, your emails were flagged as spam and were never received. By the time you follow up, it’s too late and that contact has decided to work with a competitor.
Emails are also less likely to get marked as spam if you make a good first impression with your welcome email. [Learn more about how to write a welcome email.]
5. Your staff members become brand ambassadors.
Do you plan on hiring people? Do you currently have employees in different departments? If so, free email accounts won’t cut it, as they are usually limited to one user per email account. When your business has a branded email address, you can create and manage unlimited email accounts with ease.
This means you can create an email account using each employee’s name or their role in the company. Extra perks include auto-responders, mail forwarding, email aliases and mailing lists. With your own domain, you can unlock all of the opportunities email marketing has to offer your business, as you’ll be able to customize a brand-friendly sender address. [Follow our step-by-step guide to email marketing.]
6. You can enjoy tech support when you need it.
Another advantage of having your own email address is that you won’t have to worry about tech support. Your web hosting company will provide phone, chat and email support if you have any issues. You can rest easy because your data is backed up on the web hosting provider’s secured servers. In addition, the company likely has a community forum, video tutorials and articles to help you troubleshoot any problems, and you also enjoy a 99.9% uptime guarantee.
Tip: Use email automation to improve your email marketing campaigns.
7. Your business name may not be available if you use a free email account.
Email exploded on the scene in the ’90s. As a result, billions of email addresses already exist. Chances are, your business name will not be available if you try to use a free email account.
This means you will have to create one that includes your business name with extra characters and numbers. The result is an unprofessional email address that doesn’t reflect your brand. If you invest in your own domain and email address, you will be able to use the name you really want.
How to get a branded email address
Follow these steps to get a branded email address:
1. Get a web hosting account.
When creating your business website, you need to buy a domain and sign up for one of the best web hosting services – such as Bluehost, WordPress or InMotion Hosting – for your needs. Web hosting services often have a wide variety of plans, so go through each of your options carefully. When choosing a web hosting service and selecting your domain name …
- Use “.com.”
- Keep the name short and easy to remember.
- Avoid hyphens and numbers.
- Use keywords or your location in the name to make it stand out.
Web hosting services allow you to make your email addresses through their system, and each one has different steps involved in creating an email address. Some hosting plans even come with free email addresses.
2. Select a naming convention.
As your business grows, you’ll want to provide your employees with business email addresses to promote a sense of cohesion and to keep their work emails separate from their personal ones. Once you’ve learned how to create email addresses with your web hosting service, it’s important to decide on a naming convention for your employees’ email addresses.
Some examples of naming conventions are email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. Once you determine the naming convention for your email addresses, it will be easier for clients and customers to contact you and your employees.
3. Choose and set up your email client.
Though you can create a branded email address through your web hosting account, the functionality behind the email address comes through an email client. Some famous examples are Outlook, Mac Mail, Thunderbird and Gmail, all of which allow you to write, receive and organize emails.
Amelia Willson contributed to the writing and reporting in this article.