If you think about it, perception really is the only reality online. Those who “see” your online activities will form an opinion about you based on how you use technology.
They can tell what is important to you and what isn’t simply by the efforts you make. Or don’t make.
With many folks starting new businesses to make ends meet, it’s a good time to bring up the importance of having a professional email address for your business communications. An address you use for all your email communications.
Something So Simple = Big Impact
Your email address will represent you personally and if you have a business your level of professionalism. Contacts will see it in the messages you send and when they hit reply.
When emailing a website about an order or joining in hobby or personally related forums, your address can contribute to what those who don’t know you will think. One thing you do have total control over is your email address.
What do you think it says about you, your job application or your business when you reply to a website email with an address like “[email protected](aol,gmail,msn,yahoo.isp.com)?” Or if you are following up on an order or inquiring about something, do you think the site owner will jump through the hoops for someone with an email address like: [email protected]?
I actually received an email with that last one recently. I guess this person thought the topic of email etiquette stinks? Or do they just stink and are they implying that I stink? Not a good look.
Professional site owners will always reply. But, when you are inundated with site email, speaking from experience you do have to prioritize your time. You will look at your inbox and decide which to address first. Even if subconsciously. That’s just time management.
Here are a few others I have seen used recently in business communications:
Even for personal communications, I’m not sure how anyone can think that any of the above are complimentary. They say more about you, the fact you chose that address, than you may know.
Using email addresses like those above for business email communications is unacceptable. Doing so not only reflects a lack of tech savvy but a lack of understanding when it comes to the basics of online marketing.
Every business should use their business dot-com with their first name before the @ sign as their email address. The cost is minimal to use your own dot-com for email. Around 10 bucks annually. Just think about the marketing and professional perception doing so offers.
It’s Easy: Get a Dot Com Address
Especially for business, when you use your dot-com (or .net, .biz, .org) email address, your communication will be seen as an expected or legitimate contact instead of a spammer. The same goes for gmail.com, yahoo.com and msn.com type free accounts. Why would you use those for business and give those companies all your data to do with what they want (including selling you out to advertisers)?
Freebie accounts are also known as “throw-aways” and are used by spammers all the time. This increases your chance of being misidentified as spam and landing in the junk boxes of those you email.
“But I want to use my gmail.com email address!” When asked for a good business reason to do so? Silence…
“Everyone I know uses that address, I can’t change it now!” Yeah, you can. Get your new address in place and make an announcement letting contacts know of your new addres.
Over time, you’ll see less activity in your old inbox. Those who still use that address, let them know of your new address. When you no longer have activity coming in — shut it down.
You still can use your freebie account if you must. These type of accounts do have a place as a back up, I guess — but not as the primary if you are serious about branding your business. Or looking like an individual who understands the technology in which they are participating.
Take the Domain Leap
So if you don’t have your own domain, what are you waiting for? I use GoDaddy for all my domain collateral. Having your own domain name is very inexpensive and only requires a few setting changes in the email program of your choice.
Time to take off the training wheels, get a real email program (I use PostBox) and email like the big dogs if you are serious about any level of online success.