When we want to start a business , we all think of the name we want to give it. The name or brand of our business along with the logo, and sometimes a slogan, are one of the first things that get us excited and that define who our business is. We even do it before thinking about how we are going to finance it, how many people we require, where it will be located, etc.
The name or brand of the business says a lot about us and our company. Over time, brands get a commercial value that sometimes becomes incalculable (Apple, McDonalds, Nike, etc.). Many of our first efforts are focused on making our name and our brand known to position it in people’s memory.
So, if we do all this work, if we define a name, a logo and a slogan, then we create the business cards with our name and brand new logo and business name, why do so many SMEs or entrepreneurs use a generic email address? By that I mean either your personal one, or one you have created for the business but you’ve used a free provider so you send (and receive) from @hotmail, @ Yahoo or @gmail to communicate with your customers and promote your services. Why not use your own email from your own business domain? Something that instantly identifies you on the Internet and is the same as your brand?
An email address says more than a thousand words. Many small businesses mistakenly believe that a hotmail or gmail addresses their email communication needs. Yes, practically it sends and gets emails, but it’s the hidden costs of ignoring that all important brand you stayed awake choosing. It is also about how you want your business to be perceived.
Using an @hotmail or @gmail address projects an un serious and unprofessional image of your company. What would you think if you had to contact Apple customer service and be told that you should write to [email protected] ? It looks bad right? Does it generate trust?
If your brand is so important to you and your business, why don’t you use it for your email? Using your own domain for your mail creates trust and credibility in customers, and remember that business is based on trust. Your clients will see you as someone who takes the business seriously and professionally and not as an adventurer. On the Internet domains have become synonymous with the brand. If your email does not represent the brand that you promote, you could experience losses in your business and it would detract from the growth of your business.
Suppose you have a catering service for all kinds of events such as parties, weddings, meetings, etc., and you decide to call it “the little cafe”. Generate the logo, business cards, advertise in the local newspaper, print flyers, and even hire a billboard on the highway. If you contact [email protected], break with all previous efforts to position your brand and generate a contradiction.
If instead you contact [email protected] you strengthen your brand and your company is shown as a serious, professional and identity company. An email domain itself improves the image of your business, stop projecting it that you are a newbie or worse, as someone so carefree with the business that you don’t bother to invest a small amount of money annually for a business name your own domain and Internet hosting.
Tips to choose a domain
When choosing a domain name, consider the following:
- Make sure the domain name matches your brand.
- If the above is not possible, look for a domain that is a short name, easy to remember and not too confusing.
- Avoid using hyphens or special characters as part of your domain.
Then there is the domain ending, you need to aim for what’s called a TLD (top level domain) or cCLD (country level domain.) These are the ones that you see all the time when you are using search engines like google.
.com .net .org and .co.uk will be the most common ones. For a small business, co.uk is ideal, it tells customers and search engines you are based in the UK, in Ireland, .ie is your version. .com (which means commercial) is a catch all domain for businesses and it’s great if you want to grow outside of the UK or just have the strongest online presence.
Please, don’t get drawn into using business specific domains like .plumber .tv and .be .me.uk and .bike to name a few – there are a LOT of these extensions and they don’t work very well. Just do a search on Google and see how many domains are these little weird ones.
You might occasionally see a .info or .biz but it’s rare and they should still be avoided as they are harder to rank for (being visible online is important.)
What if I already use a Gmail or Hotmail account for my business?
If you already use a free email for example from Gmail or Hotmail you will not want to lose the messages that your customers send to that address. In both cases you can have Gmail and Hotmail forward the emails from your account to the new business email address of your domain in this way, all emails that your customers send to [email protected] will be redirected to [email protected] . To do this, follow the steps below.
If you use a Gmail account:
Click on the Settings button
Click on the “Forwarding and POP / IMAP” tab and click on the “Add forwarding address” button and enter the address where the emails should be sent, in our example [email protected]
If you use a Hotmail account:
Click on the Settings button and select options
Click on the “Resend email” option and enter the address where the emails should be sent, in our example [email protected]. Click on Save.
If you use an account with another free mail service provider, look for the option of Forwarding mails, which is almost always within the configuration options of your mail service.
One more thing…
By buying your own domain, you also get the possibility to also create your website with which to promote your business and its products or services. Remember that a web page brings you many benefits and should be one of the pillars of your business strategy. We all spend a lot of time online and it’s where we go when looking for tradespeople or businesses to help us.
Not having a website means you will miss all these customers who are actively looking for you!
In short, be consistent with the use of your brand and your efforts to position it with customers. Do not use free email addresses as it will give your business a bad image. If you use your own domain, customers will see that you take care of the details and take your business seriously. Free stuff can be attractive at the beginning, but a domain name itself should not be seen as a waste of money, but as an investment that helps boost your brand.