Your Brand is important! It is what defines you from your competitors and influences how your customers perceive you. On a daily basis I see opportunities for businesses everywhere to boost their brand and professional image by making one simple change. This simple change means that you stop inadvertently advertising someone else's business and promote your own instead.
Does your business email look something like this: firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com? If so, read on!!
Your Brand, Your Email Address
If you have a Domain Name (which you absolutely should, read why here) this is not only good to direct customers to your website. You can also capitalise on the option to use your domain name as your email address.
What this means is you can create a custom email address such as firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. But why should you do this? Well it is all about your brand and its positioning in the customers eyes.
By taking the steps to create this personalised email address that you can present to customers you ensure that your brand appears in a professional manner. This also means that you are not promoting some other, unrelated service. Think about this, if you are in business you are there to promote your product so why promote someone else's brand? Google and Hotmail sure don't need the help!
This builds confidence in your brand in the customer's mind and shows that you are committed to offering a polished and detailed approach to your business. Why risk appearing like a fly-by-night company or one that may not be detail focused when it is such an easy thing to avoid.
So...How is it done?
There are a number of ways to do this, generally speaking your domain name registrar or website hosting service will have an option to set up a certain number of mailboxes using your domain. If you have a large organisation you can supply all of your employees with their own email. This option would most likely see you using the hosting providers built in service, or conecting up via IMAP, POP or Exchange using email programs like Microsoft Outlook or Apple Mail.
An alternative which I prefer as a Gmail user, is to utilise the service offered through Google Business Apps. This is a paid service, however most times the above option is as well. The Google offering simply allows your to use your Domain Name as the suffix, while you create the prefix, i.e. for this site we could have firstname.lastname@example.org. The plus side is that they make it very easy to set up!
This then allows you the freedom of using the great Gmail based system for your email, as well as the flexibility to get your email on all of your devices. As the business owner you will also find many beneficial Google products that are offered as part of the included fee for having a Business Apps account.
So if this is something that is on your to-do list, or perhaps you didn't even know it was an option you should certainly consider setting this up for your business. If you are unsure as to how this can be set up, have a word with your website developer/manager to ask them about how it can be set up for your business. Alternatively you can review the Google offering on their Google Apps website google.com/apps