I’m guessing that getting a professional email account is not on your list of top priorities. Your current business email address is probably not even one of the many things on your mind right now as a startup entrepreneur. It’s just an email, right? How vital can it be to the life of your business?
More than you might imagine, having a professional email account can impact the image of your business. This is one of the first things that many people will see when they become curious about you. Particularly for online businesses, your email is one of the main identifiers that people will associate with your brand. You have no physical storefront, no face or real presence. Potential customers will turn to such details as your email address to form some kind of initial opinion about the people behind the name.
Why You Need a Professional Email Account
As a startup, you need to have a professional email account to show interested potentials that you are legit. Here are the ways in which this simple and often overlooked detail can help you do that:
Build a Professional Image
Your professional email account shows that you are a serious entrepreneur who has put thought into the operations aspect of your business. Set up your professional email account on your business domain and people will know that you are not some shady, fly-by-night venture. A professional email account presents you as a commercial entity. A professional email account on your domain that reflects your business name is a core aspect of your business presence.
As a side note, if you don’t already have a website, you really should. Even if you are not an online business, a web presence is no longer optional if you want to grow. Plus, there really isn’t any good reason not to have a website in this day and age.
A professional email account will also show people that you have carefully considered the communications aspects of your business. Communication is very important to consumers, and they want to see who they are talking to. A generic email provider gives the impression that you are not willing to invest in the best customer service experience.
Maintain Consistent Branding
I am sure that you have already invested quite a bit in your business branding. You have thought hard about what name your business should have, what it means to you, and what it will mean to your target customer. You have spent time mulling over what colors will represent you and why, and what design you should use for your website. The effort you have put into crafting the way that your startup is introduced to the public is no small matter. And that’s just a few examples.
What does it look like when you have done all this and then start emailing customers and suppliers and affiliates from some free service? Dubious is one word that comes to mind, and doubt is definitely not something that you want to encourage by any means. Email is a huge branding opportunity, and consistency is key when you are trying to build up a brand. Don’t allow such a simple thing as an email address to make a dent in the carefully polished façade of your brand new business.
Note that if your business name is too long, you should use an abbreviation for both your domain and thus your professional email account. The abbreviation should be easy to remember, however – just part of good branding. Use a shortcut that makes sense and still points straight to you as a business. And get the dot-com as much as possible. It is the best top-level domain (TLD) for businesses and what people automatically type in when they think of websites. If you can scoop up all the TLDs for your name, so much the better. This protects your brand name and reduces any confusion that arises when someone else builds a website with the same name.
Leverage the Trust Factor
People need to feel comfortable before they can begin to trust you. Trust is a vital element in any relationship, and especially fragile when you are starting up. It is also more difficult to build and sustain when you are doing business online as opposed to face-to-face. The trust factor ties in closely with your image and branding. These form a base upon which trust can be built.
Because your email is a main identifier, it is also a major factor that will affect your trust score. A professional email account looks and feels more trustworthy straight off the bat. Sure, anyone can purchase a domain and set up an email on it. Your domain – and consequently, the email – is, however, connected to a verifiably legitimate business. This makes communicating with it instantly more trustworthy.
Leave No Room for Confusion
A generic email address can be easily confused with hundreds of other email addresses. When you have a professional email account on your business domain, it is less likely that your customers’ emails will get lost. Whether they are new or returning ones, it is never a good idea for this to happen. And what a loss it is when the reason can be so easily avoided!
Your professional email account is unique and recognizable – it has your company’s name on it. People are much more likely to know that this is the right email to use, so you are less likely to miss out on important messages and leads.
Create Your Professional Email Account
Webmail isn’t exactly great, and it lacks a lot of the features that we have all grown used to and even rely upon. One very easy way to get awesome features and still email from your branded address is to use G Suite by Google Cloud.
You can start with a free trial of G Suite to test out all the cool features. The trial lasts for 2 weeks and includes access to features like Google Docs, Drive, and Calendar for business on top of Gmail. After this, expect to pay as little as $30 per month. One great thing about G Suite is that it can grow with you based on your business needs. You can add users for $3 a month, or upgrade to get unlimited storage or access to advanced controls.
Sign up for a free trial of G Suite to activate your account and register your business domain. You can get your email and any other users you need set up fairly quickly. Just sign in to your Google Admin console and follow the simple instructions given. You will be prompted to:
- Start Setup – you can add up to ten email addresses during the trial period
- Verify Your Domain – a one-click step
- Update Your Domain Settings – teach your domain provider to recognize Gmail and get your old emails and contacts list successfully migrated over
- Set Up Mobile – add smartphones and tablets
- Customize Your Gmail – add your business signature, company logo, and more
Once this is done, you can log in via the Gmail interface to access your business email account. Any other tools and settings that you want to use or tweak can be found on your Google Admin console.
G Suite provides you with business-level access to a variety of tools that can prove invaluable:
- Google Drive – from 30GB to unlimited storage and archiving, you can store all your data on the cloud for easy file sharing and collaboration. It is also great for keeping backups in case your local storage fails.
- Google Docs – including, of course, Google Sheets, Forms, Slides, Sites and Keep. These are great tools for organizing a wide array of information straight off the web or uploaded from your computer.
- Calendar – Stay on track with schedules and meetings and keep an eye on your team.
- Google + and Hangouts – Stay connected with your team and build a following so you can post timely company updates.
- Business-Grade Security – Rest assured that all your important files and communications are kept secure with regular, automatic updates and security patches.
- 14/7 Support – Get technical assistance anytime, any day so you don’t get bogged down by IT annoyances.
G Suite is so convenient to use and very affordable even for the bootstrapped startup. If you don’t already have a preferred app, you can get going with G Suite in a matter of minutes. Then you’ll be on your way to presenting your business in a much better light with a professional email account that boosts your image, supports your branding, helps you build trust, and keeps your prospects with you.