Hopefully you’ve been picking up some nice momentum lately when it comes to branding your small business. Just don’t forget to include a branded email address as part of your holistic online brand presence.
When you first started dabbling in projects as a freelancer, you probably got along just fine using your personal email address. Your first few gigs were for customers with whom you already had a working relationship, and you likely made it clear to them that this was something you were doing on the side, so it didn’t matter that you corresponded with them using the same email account that you use to keep in touch with friends from high school.
Movin’ on Up
But now things are different. You’re a real-deal small business owner. You’re marketing your products and services using a highly branded website – with a branded domain name, no less – as a hub for your brand messaging. You may even have a physical location for your business that bears the same brand name – and regardless, you’re hopefully at least engaging in offline word-of-mouth marketing, always using your brand name as a key identifier. Your email address ought to be a key piece in this branding puzzle, completing the picture.
So stop using firstname.lastname@example.org for your business correspondence. Your baby brand deserves better. It’s time to move on to email@example.com – here’s why.
You’re taking lots of care to make sure you make the right impression when prospects load your homepage as their first exposure to your brand. But not everyone comes to your site before they start emailing with you.
And when your email is sent from your domain name, it helps to convey the idea that you’re already established, professional and take your long-term branding seriously, which helps to build trust.
And the email address itself – even the bit before the “@” – is also important. Don’t use something faceless like firstname.lastname@example.org, or inappropriately informal like email@example.com. Go with some combination of variations on your first name, last name, or initials.
Cohesive Brand World
Since your website is essentially operating as your company’s primary digital branding hub, using branded email adds weight to it.
People you correspond with might benefit from being reminded that your website exists – and being reminded where to find it. Often, the easiest way for your satisfied customers to refer friends to you is to simply forward a recent email from you, so that your contact information appears in the friend’s inbox. In these cases, the new prospect might have a harder time finding your website if your email address is on a completely unrelated domain.
The more you can strengthen the way people associate your messages with your site, the better off your brand is. You can even drive this association home further by investing in a strong email signature that includes your logo and links to your site and your brand’s social channels.
It isn’t easy to be all about the business all the time, and many web workers find that their productivity increases when they take regular breaks from activities that are strictly work-related throughout the day, so we’re not saying that you’re better off ignoring your personal life altogether while you’re on the clock.
But it can be extremely helpful to keep distractions to a minimum, enabling you to keep your work and personal lives in tidy distinct compartments. When your recreational emails arrive in an altogether different inbox, this is easy. You can focus on the business at hand as necessary, and when you’re ready to take a look at that ppt file of Photoshopped poodles that your cousin sent you this morning, it’ll be there for you.
Business email systems can also allow you to work with multiple addresses, as firstname.lastname@example.org isn’t necessarily the best address to use for all cases – especially for publishing on web pages as a contact address. So you can effectively compartmentalize your work day even further by setting up inboxes or aliases like email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
This will help you to keep the action at firstname.lastname@example.org focused on actual ongoing business operations, and you can set aside distinct work shifts for customer care, dealing with accounts receivable, turning around price quotes for prospects, etc.
Transitioning to Your Branded Email
If you’re currently using something like email@example.com (and shame on you if you are), then you should probably set that inbox to auto-forward all messages to your new address. This way, older contacts who don’t quickly update their records will still be able to reach you.
Apprehensive about leaving behind your favorite email client? Your love for Apple’s iOS Mail app, Outlook’s integrations with your laptop’s OS, Yahoo Mail’s ever-evolving web interface or Gmail’s “conversations” layout needn’t be at odds with what’s best for your business. Nowadays, pretty much all the big players in the email space allow you to send and receive emails from any domain. So no major sacrifice there.
Here at Wix, we’re big fans of the Google Apps service, which allows us to use the awesomeness of Gmail as our email client. We are such big fans of this product that it’s the one we use to offer branded email addresses to our Premium customers. The Apps version of Gmail comes with uptime guarantees, around-the-clock support and 25 GB of inbox storage, it’s ad-free and mobile-friendly, and it comes out of the box integrating perfectly with Google’s awesome Calendar, Drive and Docs products under the same accounts.
Click here if you want to get started with branded email solutions for your Wix domain.