How do you first communicate with clients? How does that first (and likely, second) contact happen? Probably the majority of people reading this would answer: email. Which means that your email address is part of the first impressions you’re making with clients. And we all know how important that is…
So, what impression are you giving out? Does it make a difference to have a paid-for address with a domain name that reflects your business or is it okay to go with a free @gmail.com, @outlook.com, @yahoo.com, etc.?
Why you need a business email address
It’s important to come across as credible and professional in business, and when email is your primary form of communication with clients and suppliers, you need an address that implies credibility and professionalism. The following are reasons to avoid the freebie option:
Building your brand
If your business name isn’t part of your email address, whose brand are you promoting? Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo – that’s who. And they probably don’t need your help to raise their profile. Your profile on the other hand (assuming your business is a bit smaller than those mentioned) might appreciate the boost. Let’s face it, email@example.com is less impressive than firstname.lastname@example.org – which one gives you more confidence when you’re searching for a wedding cake provider, say?
(And just to be clear, as far as we know, there is no business called Great Cakes, and if there is, it’s a coincidence and Danny Boye probably doesn’t work there).
Being serious about what you do
Registering a company domain name is easy to do and usually pretty inexpensive. If you won’t even spend $20 or so per year for your own identity, clients could be forgiven for thinking you’re not taking yourself seriously.
You might end up in the spam folder
With a free email address your messages are more likely to fall foul of clients’ spam filters. Whereas 99.?% of professional addresses won’t. Which means your emails will often be read late, or not at all. And if you’re doing some ‘cold-calling’ via email, the recipient is more likely to activate the insta-delete option for messages in the spam/scam folder.
Vulnerable to hackers
Cyberattacks are increasingly common. Maybe your Gmail account isn’t too vulnerable…hmmm… but what happens when someone else registers a domain name for your business instead of you? Maybe they just impersonate you and take your clients for a ride. Maybe they set up a few accounts on Facebook or LinkedIn as you. Maybe they open a line of credit on your behalf. Maybe they offer to sell the domain to you at an inflated price in exchange for not causing you a ton of reputational damage. Much better to register that domain name yourself. And cheaper in the long run.
You have no technical support
Let’s hope your free address isn’t hacked because there’ll be precious little tech support or assistance when dealing with the consequences. Admittedly, the support available for your paid domain name may vary, but at least there’s something instead of nothing.
You don’t own your free email address
You’re using a service via someone else’s platform. Their platform, their rules. If you say or do the wrong thing your account can be shut down and then, not only can’t you send and receive emails, you also can’t access or read any past emails. Or maybe the platform goes out of business – unlikely with Gmail, Outlook or Yahoo, to be fair, but there are plenty of other free services that have come and gone. If you don’t own your email address, you don’t own one of your key business assets.
Why pay for business email? – To be taken seriously as a business
To repeat, it’s all about the impressions your business makes – either first impressions or ongoing. Spend a relatively small amount of money and in return, you look more professional, you build your brand, and you reduce your business risks.
If you want to know more about what cloud computing could do for your business, including helping with your email service or give us a call on 1800 312 972 – we’re here to help.