Almost everyone I know has a personal email address (aside from a business or work email address). Some people even have an aol email address, if you can believe that. The amazing part, is that many people are still using these email addresses for their business! Yes, it's true. The fancy-pants office down the street that is now doing a great business with a beautiful website, uses “aol” to direct their clients to communicate with them. My only response to this is: It's time for a change!
Believe me, I know it's hard to change email addresses, especially since everyone you know has that beloved aol, gmail, yahoo or hotmail address. But there's no time like the present!
Here are 4 reasons NOT to use these “free” email accounts for your business communications:
You have built a professional website to build your brand and professional image. Yet, when you communicate, you're using a gmail or AOL account. Most (if not all) web hosting packages come with/include many email accounts so essentially, that email address is “free”. You will more likely than not be taken more serious by your clients and business associates if you make use of that custom domain email address.
2. Separating Business from Personal
It's hard enough to keep track of all the emails we receive on a daily basis. With personal free email accounts, we deal with spam, forwards, social engagement invitations and details and much more. Having a separate business email account will ensure that all the emails that you send and receive will be business related only. For the same reasons you keep separate bank accounts for business and personal, it's equally as important to keep your business communications separate. It would be a shame to miss an email from a prospective client because it was lost in a sea of social emails.
3. Brand Awareness
Using a free webmail account does nothing to help build your brand. When we use our business email that has the same domain as our website, it's a shoe-in for people to see what your website is and visit on their own, instead of having to ask. Can you imagine companies like McDonald's or Apple using gmail for business? Of course not!
You only get one chance to make a first impression. When you are building a business, you a building an image. The image is one of professionalism & consistency, no matter the industry. So, when you have an office/store location, and a custom domain name for your website (which usually comes with many free email accounts using that custom domain), why on Earth are you still using “firstname.lastname@example.org” to communicate with your clients?
Once you have created your new professional email address, you can start the process of letting your clients know how to communicate with you. It may take a little while, but in the end, you will appreciate the separation.