“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 “firstname.lastname@example.org”.
Mine is email@example.com.
I am talking to you if your email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.
- email@example.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.
- firstname.lastname@example.org : 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 . . .
- email@example.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. “firstname.lastname@example.org” 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: email@example.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. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- DO use your real name. If people are trying to contact you, give them a name.
- DO include your last name if appropriate. (email@example.com is good, but for certain settings a last name is more appropriate. So use something like this: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; b.smith; bob.smith; etc.)
- DO also create general emails such as “firstname.lastname@example.org” or “email@example.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.