When we say ‘free’ email, we mean accounts such as Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail and those supplied by your Internet Service Provider (ISP) such as BT, TalkTalk amongst others.
Here’s a large selection of reasons not to use free email accounts for business with some explanations on how it impacts your online presence, especially as more than 87% of all company communications are via email, outstripping postal mail, telephone and face-to-face communications to become the most used mode of business communication today;
- Professionalism – You have built a professional website to build your brand and professional image. Yet, when you communicate, you’re using a Gmail or Hotmail 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 seriously by your clients and business associates if you make use of that custom domain email address
- 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
- Brand Awareness & Consistency – 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?
- Image – You only get one chance to make a first impression. When you are building a business, you are 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, why use firstname.lastname@example.org to communicate with your clients
- Hackers Love Free email Services – Since the group of people who use free email accounts like Gmail and Hotmail is large and ever increasing, hackers spend a lot of time trying to hack into these accounts. When a hacker gains access to your email account they will use it to send SPAM and even possibly adult content to your list of contacts which could include your clients, vendors, business partners etc. Protect your business and save yourself that embarrassment by getting your own email address. According to the FTC and PC Mag just two hacks last year cost consumers almost £1.3 billion pounds alone, with 45% of all digital security threats coming in the form of email. You have probably seen examples of this phenomenon and attempts to hack you yourself. Ever received odd email messages or links from someone you thought you knew? That person’s account has likely hacked and yours was actively being targeted. Besides the potential for completely destroying your computer system this could result in your identity being stolen. This doesn’t just mean losing thousands of pounds it can mean financial ruin and a decade of hard times
- Risk Getting Your email Blocked – If you are using free email services for business and storing your business contacts and your account is hacked, spammers can send out malicious messages from your account. Not only will this annoy your prospects and clients, resulting in them ignoring further messages from you but it could mean that your email address would most likely be tagged as an email address that sends SPAM and blocked by SPAM software all across the internet
- Looks Unprofessional – Despite arguments that free email services are easier to use the fact is a free email account just isn’t professional looking. What do you think of someone you meet online who doesn’t have a professional email address with a business domain name? Aren’t you wary of handing over money to them? You should be. This not only means far fewer responses and closed transactions for the effort and resources you assign to marketing activities but also lowers the perceived value of your products and services
- Lost Branding & Marketing Opportunities – Even if recipients don’t open your emails they are going to see your email address in their inboxes. This is an invaluable marketing and branding opportunity. If you want to win the business you need your brand’s name in front of prospects and clients 24/7. If you aren’t there, your competition will be. The few extra pounds per month is well worth the marketing and branding opportunity
- Possible Damage by Disgruntled Employees – Providing your employees and contractors with professional business email addresses is also critical for minimizing losses. When an employee leaves, you can freeze their email account so that they don’t harm your company by sending out emails to your company contacts saying bad things about your organization or by taking the list of company contacts with them to their next job. If they have been using a free service for their email, you have no control over their contact lists and cannot lock them out of their email should you have to let them go
As you can see, there’s lots of compelling reasons why having a separate and professional looking email address can be a great benefit to your business and it’s perception. It also doesn’t have to cost the earth. For example, the host of your website often includes free email hosting as part of the package, it’s then just a case of setting up correctly, including delivery to your smart phone should it be required, which is where Technology SOS can help. We can also offer full Microsoft Exchange hosting for enterprise level email, but not at enterprise prices.
It really is worth spending a small amount of money so that you can register your domain to match your business and so that the perception that other people have of your business is one of credibility and trustworthiness. It is important to remember that nothing in life is really free. You may not always know when you sign up what the price is going to be; however, you may encounter issues anywhere from SPAM to deliverability problems to customer service issues. You always have to give something back to whomever is offering you something.
If you’ve any questions, or would like any help, as usual, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us.