Having a Professional E-mail Address
In a few of my previous columns and in the context
of presenting a broader point, I briefly discussed the importance of having
a professional e-mail address for your business, one that is not @yahoo.com,
@hotmail.com or @gmail.com. I think the subject merits its own column.
A professional e-mail address is where the text to the right of the “@”
is your company name (or close to it) and where the text to the left of
the “@” is some derivative of your name.
I googled “having a professional e-mail address” and came across an online
conversation started by a person who asked, “Does having a professional
e-mail address really matter?” The majority of respondents said, “yes.”
One person wrote, “Just this week, when hiring creative talent for a small
gig, I discounted a couple applicants solely on account of their unprofessional
e-mail addresses.” This is not just one person’s opinion; another respondent
added, “Personally I try to avoid business with potential contractors
who use Gmail or any other free provider.” Note the word “contractor”
in the last statement. Aren’t we all contractors?
a professional e-mail address may mean the difference between an end-user
calling you or calling your competition. It’s not worth the risk considering
how inexpensive it is.”
Don’t get me wrong; Hotmail accounts have
use in our personal lives, just not in our professional lives. You probably
already separate business from pleasure on other fronts. There’s no reason
not to separate e-mail—one account for personal use and another for business.
For those of you still e-mailing from Hotmail for business, hopefully
now you see the importance of having a professional e-mail address.
So how do you get started? First, buy a domain name. That’s the text to
the right of the “@.” If you have a company website, you probably already
own one. Just use it. If you don’t own a domain name, buy one through
GoDaddy (godaddy.com) or another registrar—it costs less than $12.00 per
year. However, choose one carefully. Make sure that it represents your
company name in a professional manner.
Once you have registered a domain name, you now need to purchase an e-mail
plan. I suggest doing it through the same company that registered your
domain name. Some registrars provide free e-mail plans with domain name
registration. An e-mail plan allows you to send and receive e-mails through
the domain name you just purchased. Once you purchase an e-mail plan,
you now need to define the different e-mail addresses (the text to the
left of the “@”) and assign a password to each.
You need to establish a naming convention to define those e-mail addresses.
Potential suggestions are: first initial + last name, first initial +
middle initial + last name; first name.last name; just to name a few.
For example, John A. Smith would be email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
and email@example.com. If you have multiple employees, you will
need multiple e-mail addresses. I suggest having a consistent format for
all of your company e-mail addresses. Be sure to make your e-mail account
the “catchall” account, meaning that any e-mail sent to your domain name
will come to you unless that e-mail was addressed to a previously defined
Now that the e-mail addresses are defined, it’s time to send and receive
e-mail. You can do this one of two ways—through an e-mail client like
Microsoft Outlook or through the web. Microsoft Outlook is a user-friendly
e-mail program that makes composing e-mails as easy as composing Word
documents. You can configure Outlook to check multiple e-mail accounts.
All you need is the incoming and outgoing mail server settings and user
name and password of your e-mail account. Most e-mail providers provide
tutorials for configuring Outlook.
If you don’t have Outlook, you can check your e-mail through the web.
Most e-mail providers already have a user-friendly interface for doing
so. If GoDaddy is your provider, simply type webmail.yourdomainname.com
into your internet browser and you’re taken to GoDaddy’s webmail interface.
Not having a professional e-mail address may mean the difference between
an end-user calling you or calling your competition. It’s not worth the
risk considering how inexpensive it is.
Manny Hondroulis is marketing manager for Energy Performance Distribution
in Baltimore. Mr. Hondroulis’ opinions are solely his own and not necessarily
those of this magazine.
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