I’m attending a big networking event and a gentleman walks toward me from across the room. He tells me his name, we shake hands and chat for a few minutes about a question he has. I want to keep in touch and can think of another professional I would like to introduce his business to and so I ask for a card. We exchange cards, smile, shake hands and he walks away. I look down at the card and then I see it: email@example.com. My head drops.
These days, most people expect your business to have email capabilities and a website. In fact, a good portion of the population, especially millennials, prefer email and text communication over other forms available. Often, your business card is the first exposure someone has to your business. It tells them your business is edgy or conservative, artistic or academic. Your card can show a touch of your company culture. It can also show someone if your business cares or doesn't care about details.
Brand your email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and you will make a much better first impression to those you meet. Having a business branded email gives credibility to you and to the business you represent. Universities recommend their job-seeking students develop a web presence with a website, blog or portfolio and resume. These new candidates on the job market have a website and email with their own name before the .com. How impressive do you think your business @yahoo address is going to be to these potential customers? Many consumers don’t trust a non-branded email address. In fact, the social network for professionals, LinkedIn, requires you have a branded email address to set up a business account.
Scared to Make the Change
Some of you may have used the same email address for so long you are worried about making the transition to a different account because some of your customers or vendors may not update their address book and find you. This has a really simple solution! It is easy to forward mail from one account to another. Start printing your new email address on cards and other items you may have printed in your office and keep the old one forwarded to the new one for those who take longer to transition over. Now you have no lost customers and you gained points with the new email address.
Where should you get an email account? Try Google Apps for Business or Zoho. Both providers give you the opportunity to introduce branded email in your organization at little or no cost. Better yet, ask your friends who they use for email services and do some online research. Once you make the change over to branded email you will wonder why you waited so long.
Keely Rowe is Director of Social Media Marketing with The Worx Company. Keely is a graduate of Texas State University, lover of the arts and addicted to social media. You can find her on Twitter.