Get A Real Email Address Already!

email

“What’s wrong with my email address?”

Funny you should ask. Does your business have a website? (If the answer is no, that needs to change. EVERYONE is online in some form or another, and it looks very amateurish if you have no web presence for your business. If you would like more info on how to fix this within your budget, let’s start talking!) Here are some guidelines on identifying your current professional email status, and some DO’s and DON’T’s when selecting an email address.

If your business has a website, your email address NEEDS to be something like “you@yourwebsite.com”.

For example:

Mine is brian@unfallenart.com.

I am talking to you if your email address is your-clever-name@any-free-service.com, you know, like: gmail, yahoo, hotmail, aol, etc. It’s nice that you have a free email address from some major email provider, but anyone can have one of those. I got my first hotmail address in high school. If you are in business, you really need to separate yourself from “the masses”.

“Is it really that bad?”

For a personal email that you give out to friends and family, a free email address is fine. But for business purposes, you don’t want to give people the impression that you are doing business out of your living room (even if that is the case). Here’s a list of what these email addresses might be saying to people:

  • @yourowndomain.com : You have a business of your own, or at least work for a legitimate company, and are likely to be a potential professional contact or resource for people.
  • company@gmail.com : You are web-savvy, but haven’t “gotten around to” acquiring your own website, and therefore email address. This person might be a college student or hobbyist looking to make a little cash on the side. Not a professional business contact.
  • company@yahoo.com : This is probably a spam account. They are going to tell you about a great opportunity to help out a deposed king from some random country by transferring money to your account . . .
  • company@aol.com : I’m not sure, but this might just be illegal. You shouldn’t have an AOL email address in 2012. The internet has moved on since 1993, and so should you.

Yes, if you are using a free email provider, it is that bad. Let’s look at what you need to do to fix this.

DON’T: How not to choose an email address

  • DON’T get clever with the name/username. No one wants to do business with “ktt3nluvr238″, not even the kittens.
  • DON’T use a position title. “info@yoursite.com” is really impersonal. I want to contact a human, not your website. (These are ok to have, but not for your direct contact).
  • DON’T use a free email domain (gmail, yahoo, etc.) as your business email.
  • DON’T use your service provider account: yourname@timewarner.com is off the table unless you work for Time Warner.

DO: How to choose the right email address for your business

  • DO get an email address that is hosted at your own website. (you@yourwebsite.com)
  • DO use your real name. If people are trying to contact you, give them a name.
  • DO include your last name if appropriate. (bob@bobsbusiness.com is good, but for certain settings a last name is more appropriate. So use something like this: bobsmith@bob.com; bsmith@bob.com; b.smith; bob.smith; etc.)
  • DO also create general emails such as “info@you.com” or “help@mysite.com”. These are useful to use as general contact for your business, but use your personal one as your business contact.

If you need help implementing any or all of these options, I would love to be of service. Just shoot me an email here.

Getting a new email address can be a little scary and overwhelming if tech isn’t your thing, so make sure to contact your web/network person to help you if you have questions. (Or you can contact me as well!)  But don’t let the fear of the unknown stop you from putting your best foot forward with your business. You’re serious about your business, so your email should be serious and professional, too.

What’s your email? Have you noticed a difference in your opinion of a professional using a free email account? Do you totally disagree with me? Leave your comments and questions on the next tab, and let me hear you!

A Business Card Guide: 7 Steps to Understanding the Options

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Business has changed a lot in the last 30 years, due to the emergence of e-business, or online business. But regardless of the amount of online connection and marketing you do, you still need a way to connect people to your business in the real world. And the most common way to accomplish that is with a business card.

But have you looked at getting those made lately? There are maybe a billion websites available, and as many options for each one.

Read More

Sex Drugs and Rock n Roll

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This is another flyer done for my youth group. It’s for a series on purity, and we focused on purity in music and lyrics, drugs and alcohol, and sex and relationships. I say all of that to share the thoughts behind the design.

Knowing that this was the point allowed me to create the shocking title graphic (I say shocking because the church never talks about this stuff, so it can freak people out to have church flyers that say “sex”real big). To help illustrate the true theme of the series, I used the typography trick of having everything say purity and just overlaying the colored layers of the larger text. So, just like the messages in the sermons themselves, purity is running through the whole thing.

If you would like to do a similar series at your church or youth group, feel free to download the file: Click here for the PSD file, or here for the jpeg.  Do me a favor and let me know if you use them. I’d love to know about what you’re up to and how you’ve been able to use it!

If you would like to learn how to create your own version using this style, read below for my process and tutorial.

 

 

How:

This image was built in Adobe Photoshop CS4.

I’m sure there are multiple ways of attacking this sort of design, but I chose to use clipping masks.

I started by making the gray text box that says “purity” over and over. I made the text box a little larger than my artboard, so I would have room to move it if needed. copy and paste goes a long way with something like this. And to get an even edge at all times, you have to use “justified” paragraph alignment.

Once I had my background text, I made my “big” words. I made each line a separate layer to make things as easy as possible. What I didn’t do was color my text. That comes in a bit.

So, next I copied the small “purity” text layer. And put it above the “sex” layer. Holding down ‘alt’ and clicking the mouse between the two layers creates a clipping mask. (You should see a different pointer logo that has a left-pointing arrow and two overlapping circles.) You can also right-click on the top layer, and select “create clipping mask”. For the moment, all that happens visually is that the word SEX will disappear. So I select the masked layer of “purity” and change the text color from dark grey to white.  Now I have the word SEX made out of a bunch of little white purity words.

I repeat the process with each line, alternating red and white for the layers, and that’s it. Make sure not to move the purity layers around when you do this or things won’t line up properly.

Feel free to share any links to your examples of this same or a similar process, I’d love to see your work!

Have you already done something like this? Was your process different?