Over the past several decades, email has evolved to become a means of communication just as commonplace in our daily lives as the telephone.
It’s already surpassed letters sent in the post (or snail mail, if you will) as the preferred way that most of us exchange information, keep in touch with others and communicate with the businesses and services we use. So, when it comes to running our own business, it makes sense that setting up a dedicated email address should be one of our top priorities.
Thankfully, we have a number of different options to help us to do just that. To help you make the most of email as a valuable tool for helping your customers contact you when they need to, let’s explore just some of those options.
First and foremost, it’s worth noting that we don’t actually recommend using a free email service like Yahoo! Mail or Gmail for all of your business needs. You probably don’t need us to tell you how important it is to present a professional image to your customers. If they’re to see you as a legitimate company they can trust, and one they can rely on time and time again, firstname.lastname@example.org just isn’t going to cut it.
Yet that’s not to say that freebies don’t have their uses. If you’re registering for social media services, industry-specific newsletters or other websites that you need to run your business, a free email can come in handy to catch all those notifications and sales emails that would otherwise clog your inbox. You can dip in and out of it when you need to, whilst keeping a separate email for the important stuff like communications with customers and sending out your own sales pitches.
This is pretty much what it sounds like: Having one email address for your business that redirects messages to your existing email account. Ideal for those of you who need business email on a shoestring budget, email forwarding enables you to present a professional front with an address such as email@example.com, whilst still managing everything from the email system you’re used to.
Where this approach really comes into its own is the cost. When you buy a domain name for your website either from a registrar or one of the leading website hosting providers, you should be able to set up forwarding at no extra cost. Compare the options from each web host by using sites such as this one.
Usually, you’ll be able to create multiple addresses, either for everybody involved in your business, or simply to appear bigger than your really are by having separate emails for sales, customer service and so on.
The only real drawback, is that if you’re forwarding those emails to a free account, you may still be faced with replying to messages from that account, negating the whole professional approach.
If you do decide to use this method, you may well find it worth having your emails directed to a Gmail account, as Google does provide the opportunity to use their service to send emails from a different address.
This option will cost you money, but often times it’s well worth the investment as you get all the benefits of your own @mydomainname.com email with none of the complications or downsides to simply having a forwarding address.
What’s more, with a domain based email account, you’ll benefit from being able to manage your email exactly how like. Most hosting providers offer email solutions with not only a web-based platform such as those you may currently use to login into Yahoo! or Gmail, but also that work seamlessly with desktop email clients like the seemingly omnipresent Microsoft Outlook.