Should I Use Gmail or My Own Domain Name for Business Email?
When setting up your business you may ask what email address should I use in my business? That’s a great question to explore, especially because significant marketing and customer trust implications are tied to your choice.
In reading this post, it won’t take long to see that I am biased in the “use your own domain name” direction since I feel it has greater long-term benefits at a very reasonable cost. To that end I offer six things to consider when choosing your business email address.
Please note that Gmail is named simply because it is the most popular of the “free” email service providers but the same things can be said regarding email addresses from Yahoo!, Hotmail, and other similar service providers. Also, please note that I put “free” or “free email accounts” in quotes because such accounts are “paid for” by the user in the form of advertising which is a cost (if in no other way than user-distraction and possibly lost work time).
Businesses work hard to build customer trust and establish confidence in their work. Equating those values with your business name is essential to the process of establishing your brand identity. Why risk hard-earned trust and the chance to reinforce your brand’s reputation by replying to a customer with an email address of [email protected]? Anyone can create a Gmail address like that. Wouldn’t it seem more legitimate if your response to your customer came from [email protected]?
My advice: Don’t share your hard-earned branding efforts with Google. Instead, take advantage of this small but powerful opportunity to enhance your business’ brand by emailing through your business name.
It’s difficult to create a polished image for your business when using a [email protected] email address. That “free email address” doesn’t really look professional on business cards, signage, invoices, etc. compared to the consistency of using your business name.
Using your own domain name for your business lets your customers know that you have invested effort into making your business more transparent and open about who you are and what you do. It demonstrates commitment to the longevity of your business. It also compares more favorably with larger and more well-known businesses (and probably your competitors) who use their own branded email addresses.
My advice: Put your proverbial best foot forward in your business with your own domain name for email addresses. It’s an inexpensive way to improve your business image.
Massive amounts of advertising funds are spent annually by businesses seeking name recognition. Your email address can be part of the “first impression” you present to prospective customers. Make it more “remember-able” by matching it with your business name so they don’t have to wonder if it is @gmail.com or @yahoo.com when they try to reach you.
My advice: Spend a few extra bucks a month by presenting a unified email address for your business profile.
Very few people actually read all the terms and conditions on anything let alone the Gmail agreements. What Google gives one day they can take away in another. It’s really that simple when using “free email accounts.” You have very few legal rights when you don’t own the name you’re using.
My advice: Exercise control over your business email accounts by reserving them in your own name and paying for your own email hosting.
When as the business owner you set up your own business email account (or authorize a paid service provider to do so on your behalf) you have more long-term service options. For example, you’re free to move to another email hosting provider if you need more space. You can more carefully monitor the security options available to you or change the email addresses used. You can create what are called “alias” email addresses that auto-forward to different accounts you own (such as [email protected] or [email protected] that forward to a specific employee so staffing changes don’t upset the customer flow – in those cases you just change the auto-forward address used in the alias). These and many other technical capabilities are available to you when you use your own business domain name.
My advice: You have your own domain name so take advantage of the extra tools available for your team when you don’t rely on “free email accounts.”
We hear a lot about work-life balance and the many health and other benefits of getting this challenge right. Another way to help master this effort is to keep your personal and business emails and email accounts separate. It’s less distracting for probably most of us to simply put a wall between these accounts. Go ahead and use that “free email address” for personal things, your private online shopping, and so forth but use your business email address for official work matters. Just the process of keeping order receipts compartmentalized between private and work accounts alone could be worth the cost of this effort if you ever have to undergo an IRS audit.
My advice: Simplify your life by using separate business and personal email accounts. You can still use the same email app on your devices to check both of them but don’t intermingle work and pleasure.
As noted above, my bias toward using your own business email account is very evident; however, for those “solopreneurs” and startup businesses really bootstrapping things without even a few dollars to spare, I can propose a temporary solution using a “free email account.” In these limited cases, my suggestion is to use your business domain name but create that as an alias email address (examples: [email protected] or [email protected]) and then, by definition of an alias email, having the emails sent to the alias auto-forward to your “free” Gmail (or whatever) account. That way you can advertise and pitch with an email address in your business name but the vast majority of your customers will not know that it auto-forwards to Gmail. You can even set up most email apps to send email from your alias address so, to the customer, it appears the email came from your business name (i.e. the alias address) and not Gmail.
My advice: Only use this “alias email to Gmail” solution while getting things set up in the early days. Migrate over to a fully-owned and paid email hosting solution when it makes financial sense so you can benefit from the above-noted items.
By this time you may have questions about where to host your business email or how to go about reserving your business domain name. Reach out to me if you need help in any of these areas. The type of email accounts most businesses need are very affordable and I’m happy to discuss options with you.Share the Word
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