How Do I Get My Own Email?
In navigating the line between professional and unprofessional, email addresses have an especially important role to play. Just think of how you regard a person differently if they email you from a firstname.lastname@example.org email address versus if it comes from email@example.com?
Whether or not it seems fair to you, if you want to be taken seriously professionally, having a professional email address matters. And if you run a business (even if it’s a one-person business), then you need one that matches the domain name of your website.
Why Having a Branded Email For Your Business is Important
If you’re still skeptical about the importance of a branded email address, there are a few main reasons to re-think your position.
1. It makes you look more professional.
This is the most important reason on the list. If you want people to take your business seriously, one of the most important things you can do is create a quality business website and have an email address to match. It shows people that you’re not just someone dabbling; you take what you do seriously.
In a world full of scammers, knowing you have a legit website and email address sets you apart and lets potential customers know you’re trustworthy.
2. It makes it clear who the email is coming from.
If your email address in no way resembles your business name, people will have a hard time connecting the two. In one survey, the biggest factor people named for why they decide to open emails they receive is who the sender is.
Your recipients are more likely to write you off as a stranger and ignore your email if they don’t know to associate the unfamiliar email address with the business they have a relationship with.
3. It lets people know where to find your business website.
As an added bonus, if someone who receives your email is interested in learning more about your business, they can see the domain name embedded within the email itself. It’s easy to figure out where to go to get more information on what you sell and make a purchase, if they’re so inclined.
How to Set Up a Branded Email Address
Now that you know you need it, how can you make it happen?
Step 1: Invest in a web hosting account.
If you already have a business website, then this step is already complete. If not, it’s an important prerequisite to having both a website and a personalized email that matches the domain name.
Many hosting plans (including those offered by HostGator) come with free email addresses – sometimes even an unlimited number of them. If yours doesn’t, then it’s time to consider switching to one that does (like HostGator).
Step 2: Decide on a naming convention.
If you have a one-person business, this might not seem important now, but if your business ever grows, you’ll want consistency. Try one of the following traditional formats:
Whatever you choose now, it will be easier for customers down the line to know how to contact you and your employees if you stick with it.
Step 3: Create your email account.
How this step works will vary depending on the web hosting provider you use. Check the support articles on your provider’s website for step-by-step instructions. If your hosting is with HostGator, then you can watch a video tutorial on how to create an email address here, or follow a few simple instructions:
- Sign into your cPanel account.
- Find the Mail section and select Email Accounts.
- Fill in the Email field with the name you want to use, and the password fields with your desired password.
- Click Create Account.
Step 4: Set up your email client.
Chances are, you don’t want to keep up with your emails through cPanel, so you’ll need to set up your new email address in the email client of your choice. Some of the most popular options are Outlook, MacMail, Eudora, Thunderbird, and Gmail. You can find specific instructions for getting set up with each email client here.
How to Use Your New Business Email Well
Now you’ve got your professional, personalized email address set up and ready to go.
However, you should know that having a professional-looking email address isn’t enough to ensure you always look good in your emails. There are a few other tips you should follow to gain the respect of the people you communicate with and keep your professional relationships positive.
1. Have a clear signature.
A signature makes it easy for anyone you correspond with to figure out how to contact you if they need to do so through some means other than email. It’s a nice courtesy for them and gives you a chance to do some additional branding, since you can include a link back to your business.
2. Never email angry.
One of the nice benefits of email in comparison to other forms of communication is that you’re never put on the spot. If you’re feeling emotional and likely to say something unprofessional that you might regret later, you can always close the window or step away from the computer for a bit. Wait to send business emails until you’ve had a chance to cool down and think through the best way to communicate what you want to say.
3. Read over all your emails.
Typos happen to everyone, but they can quickly make an email that seems clear to you become incomprehensible to the recipient. Read over each email before you send it to make sure that you haven’t made any embarrassing errors and that what you’re trying to say is clear. You’ll be amazed at all the little mistakes you catch when you do this.
4. Don’t be a spammer.
Anyone who uses email professionally needs to be careful about this. If you’re not, your domain name could be blacklisted so that all your emails get caught in spam filters rather than reaching their recipients.
The most important way to avoid being a spammer is to keep an opt-in philosophy: only send marketing emails to people who have already said it’s okay to do so. When you send out mass emails, make sure to use an email marketing software like Constant Contact (note: HostGator customers that subscribe to Constant Contact through HostGator can enjoy an extended free trial).
And avoid all the tricks you see used in the spam emails in your own spam folder, like deceptive subject lines, misleading claims, or the overuse of language associated with pushy salesmen like “free” and “prize.”
Having a personalized email that matches your domain name is an important step in showing your potential customers that you’re serious, but from there you still have to run your business and email account in the right way to keep up that professionalism. Following a few best practices can ensure your business email account stays on the up and up and represents the business well.
Kristen Hicks is an Austin-based freelance content writer and lifelong learner with an ongoing curiosity to learn new things. She uses that curiosity, combined with her experience as a freelance business owner, to write about subjects valuable to small business owners on the HostGator blog. You can find her on Twitter at @atxcopywriter.