Take a quick moment and look at the email address you hand out to your customers and clients. Does it end in any of the following?
If the answer is yes, then it’s time to think about the subtle message you’re sending every time you give out your email address. There are really to things you need to be aware of when you make this choice.
- You’re advertising for someone else – not your website, not your business.
- Perhaps more concerning, it makes it look like either a microbusiness startup – or one that just isn’t serious.
Now, in some cases, intentionally choosing to either advertise for someone else, or appear to be a microbusiness can be the right choice for your business. However, in the majority of the cases, it’s not the image you want to portray. In the majority of cases, it simply means that you didn’t think you could afford to have a branded email address reflecting your domain.
If you’re thinking that the only way to do it is to buy an expensive Exchange server and hire a full-time IT person, then you’ve missed two great solutions. First things first though, if you don’t already have a website domain, you’re going to need to get one. The good news is they are pretty cheap, ($7.49/yr at GoDaddy) find a domain reseller you like and pick out your first domain name.
Once you’ve got your domain name, then it’s time to pick an email provider. GoDaddy offers several options: Group Email and Hosted Exchange Email. Group email starts at $1.99 a month and Hosted Exchange starts at $2.99 a month. The difference between the two is the difference between email and a full Outlook solution. If you like your calendar and/or tasks in Outlook, then the Hosted Exchange is the right choice for you.
If you’re a Gmail fan, or just someone who doesn’t care about having the Hosted Exchange system, then another consideration is Google Apps. If you’re a small business, the plain Google Apps account will probably be sufficient — and it has a very nice price tag — FREE. If you’re want an added level of support (which I highly recommend) you can subscribe to the Google Apps for Business level. Either way – Google Apps will sync with Outlook (if that matters to you), your mobile phone, your calendar, and your contacts list. Personally – I’m a big Gmail fan, I think they have the best spam control around, allow easy collaboration, and they have been making significant upgrades to the product. But Gmail isn’t for everyone – and if you’re one of them, then the GoDaddy options might be a good solution for you.
Any way you go, GoDaddy or Google Apps will allow you to import your current email account into the new branded email, so you don’t have to check multiple email accounts while you make this transition. Just look for POP3 or IMAP instructions in your new platform of choice. Either option will take you less than 4 hours to setup and will be well worth your while to establish a higher degree of credibility, and seriousness for your business. Each solution has good step by step instructions for getting it set up by an average user. And if you’re at the Google Apps for Business level or with GoDaddy, both provide good support to help you through the setup process.
Keep the @gmail, @yahoo, or @mac address for your personal correspondence, and upgrade your business email presence to a branded domain name today. Your business’ credibility will thank you.