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Why you should lose the gmail..

Email is without doubt the primary method of communication when you run any business these days.  It's quick, easy and usually your customer’s preferred method of contact.  Yet I’m amazed at how many people do business online with generic email accounts that have little or nothing to do with their actual business names.

People will spend thousands of dollars on website development, advertising, SEO and social medial marketing, yet they’ll continue to use a This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. account to communicate with customers and promote their product.  I see this everywhere; fancy flyers and pamphlets, expensive newspaper advertisements and recently I heard a hotmail account being advertised over the radio.

If you have a website then you’ve certainly registered a domain.  If you own a domain, chances are that you have access to at least a few email accounts.  If your domain didn’t come with at least one free address then you should by all means transfer your domain to a provider who offers free email for your domain (in other words US, we offer UNLIMITED email accounts!).

Why Not Use a Generic Email Address

There are a number of reasons why you shouldn’t use a generic email address for your business.  For one, it’s unprofessional.  When I see a This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (my apologies if Steve actually exists) I think to myself that Steve is in the process of starting a business, he’s inexperienced or perhaps a one man outfit.  We all love Google but Gmail accounts are no exception – they do nothing for your branding. 

Besides, even if you are using Gmail or Google Apps you can still add your branded account to your Google one and keep a professional account for marketing purposes.

Another reason why your email should show your full domain name is advertising.  It’s a wonderfully effective way of repeating your brand to someone you’re communicating with.  Every email you send will show your domain and promote your site.  Everything to the right of that that beautiful little @ symbol is free advertising and should make you smile each time you see your mail go out.  Perhaps I’m getting overly excited but it is effective.

An old message sitting in a customer’s archives is useless when it has a generic address.  Chances are that the customer already forgot the name of your site and a generic account will do nothing to help that person find an ancient message or remember the name of your site.

These aren’t ground breaking ideas.  If a free email account branded to your business can get you even a few extra customers and make you look more professional then why use a generic account?  Why dedicate your advertising budget to promoting a hotmail / gmail / yahoo or eim brand?

Setting up a Custom Email

When you register a domain with most hosting compnies these days you pay for the webspace and usually you get at least one free email account (we think that's really stingy, we offer unlimted accounts with our own hosting), even if you only have one account e.g. info@ you should use it. It makes a difference.

Forwarding

If you really have your heart set on using a generic account and no convincing on my part will make you budge from the world of @yahoo or @gmail or @eim, then there is an alternate option.  You can always get a forwarding account.

Forwarding simply allows you to create an email account that forwards all incoming emails to an alternate address.

In this case, you create a This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. email address that you use for all of your advertising and online business needs.  You then use the same method as above to get an email address, but set a forward on that account.

All emails sent to the branded account will automatically get forwarded to the generic account of your choice.

The down side of forwarding is that when you reply to an email, you do so from your generic address, which is a little less professional, but at least your marketed materials remain properly branded and uniform.