Why it is important to have a professional grade email address for your business
- Use an email address tied to your domain name. Avoid free email accounts such as Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail etc. as they look unprofessional.
- Choose your email addresses wisely, they can have an impact on deliverability, open rates and more. Do not use generic addresses such as sales@, info@, admin@ as, while they were once a popular choice, they have fallen into disrepute due to being overly used by spammers.
- If sending bulk marketing emails, a different set of rules apply. Consider using a domain name and email address solely for this purpose. Use MailChimp, Hubspot or similar for sending bulk emails as they enforce data privacy and opt-out compliance.
- For maximum deliverability and to stay out of spam traps, always ensure your mailboxes are authenticated with appropriate SPF, DMARC and DKIM records.
- Use a professional mailbox host such as ZoHo Mail, SendGrid or Sendinblue. These are highly configurable and trustworthy services which will manage both sending and receiving email as well as ensuring technical compliance. These are paid options but, where email is concerned, there is no free lunch!
- Consider using email aliases instead of trying to manage and pay for multiple mailboxes.
Table of Contents
In today’s digital age, email is an essential tool for businesses to communicate with customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders. However, when it comes to creating an email address for your business, you have two options: a free email address or a professional email address. While a free email address may seem like an attractive option, it is important for businesses to have a professional email address. In this article, we will explore the reasons why.
Having a professional email address is important because it conveys a sense of professionalism and credibility to your customers and other stakeholders. Using a free email address such as Gmail, Yahoo, or Hotmail can make your business appear unprofessional and amateurish. A professional email address, on the other hand, indicates that you take your business seriously and are willing to invest in it.
Your email address is an important part of your branding strategy. It is the first point of contact that potential customers have with your business, and it should reflect your brand identity. Using a professional email address that incorporates your business name, such as [email protected] or [email protected], helps to reinforce your brand and make it more memorable to customers.
Customers are more likely to trust a business that uses a professional email address rather than a free one. A professional email address shows that you are a legitimate business and not a scam or spammer. It also makes it easier for customers to contact you and ensures that their messages will be delivered to your inbox, rather than being filtered out as spam.
Free email accounts are more susceptible to hacking and other security breaches than professional email accounts. By using a professional email service, you can take advantage of advanced security features such as two-factor authentication, encryption, and spam filtering. This helps to protect your business and your customers from cyber threats.
A professional email address allows your business to grow and expand without having to change your email address. As your business grows and you hire more employees, you can create new email accounts for them using your business domain. This ensures that all your employees have a professional email address and that your business email remains consistent and recognizable to customers.
With a professional email address, you have the ability to customize your email account with your own branding and design. You can create a unique email signature that includes your logo, contact information, and social media links. This helps to reinforce your brand and make your business more recognizable to customers.
In conclusion, having a professional email address is crucial for businesses in today’s digital age. It conveys a sense of professionalism, reinforces your brand identity, builds trust with customers, enhances security, facilitates scalability, and allows for customization. While a free email address may seem like an easy and cost-effective option, investing in a professional email address is a wise decision that can benefit your business in many ways.
Deciding on the right email address or addresses for you and your business
One of the first decisions you’re going to have to make is what actual email address(es) you’re going to have and, when deciding, there are a few things to consider:-
- Making your email as deliverable as possible and avoiding spam boxes.
- Presenting a professional image.
- Keep them as simple and easy to remember as possible.
- Ensure the email-sending domain is verified and authenticated with SPF, DMARC and DKIM records.
Why are some emails flagged as “spam”?
The content of an email is one of the main reasons why it might be flagged as spam. If an email contains certain trigger words or phrases, like “Viagra” or “get rich quick,” it’s more likely to be marked as spam. Additionally, emails that are overly promotional in nature or contain too many links or images may also be flagged as spam.
The reputation of the sender plays a big role in whether or not an email gets flagged as spam. If the sender has a history of sending spammy emails or their IP address has been blacklisted, their emails are more likely to end up in the spam folder.
Email authentication protocols like SPF, DKIM, and DMARC are used to verify the authenticity of an email sender. If an email fails authentication checks, it’s more likely to be flagged as spam.
Email providers look at how recipients engage with emails to determine whether or not they are spam. If a large percentage of recipients mark an email as spam, it’s more likely to be flagged as such in the future.
Technical issues with email servers or formatting can also cause emails to be flagged as spam. For example, emails that contain a lot of HTML code or are sent from a shared IP address may be seen as suspicious by email providers.
The email recipient erroneously clicks the “spam” button. This, in turn, reduces your “sender reputation” and can, over a period of time, lead to the blacklisting of your entire domain name.
A competitor, for example, could repeatedly and maliciously flag your email address as spam with the sole intent of having your email address and/or domain name blacklisted.
Avoiding spam traps
These days spam traps are becoming increasingly sophisticated and email in general is by no means an “assured delivery” service. The trick is to know the things that are most likely to trigger a spam trap and result in your important email ending up in the recipient’s virtual bin. This is a science in itself but, here are the key points:-
- Avoid generic emails such as admin@, info@, sales@ or accounts@ as these are the most frequently used by spammers and carry the highest risk.
- Use a real name, even if the name is not that of a real person in your business. For example, Amanda@ or John@
- Avoid hyphenated names or those containing special characters or numbers as these tend to be used by spammers pretending to be a well know and trusted brand.
Transactional and bulk emails explained
Transactional and bulk email are two types of emails that serve different purposes.
Transactional emails are messages that are triggered by a specific action or event. They are typically sent to an individual recipient and are often personalized. Examples of transactional emails include order confirmation emails, password reset emails, and account activation emails. The primary purpose of transactional emails is to facilitate a transaction or provide important information related to a specific user action. Most emails you send from your computer, laptop, phone or tablet will be of this type.
Bulk email, on the other hand, refers to emails that are sent in large quantities to a large group of recipients. These emails may or may not be personalized and are often promotional or marketing in nature. Examples of bulk emails include newsletters, promotional offers, and event invitations. The primary purpose of bulk emails is to reach a wider audience and promote a product or service. If sending email marketing campaigns from services such as MailChimp and Hubspot, these are classed as bulk email, even if the actual volume of emails sent is quite low. In addition, emails sent from your website, for example as the result of someone filling out an enquiry form, would be classed as “bulk email” because of the way in which the website needs to be configured for sending email on your behalf.
The main difference between transactional and bulk email is their purpose and the way they are sent. Transactional emails are triggered by specific user actions and are sent to individual recipients, while bulk emails are sent to a large group of recipients and are often promotional in nature. Another key difference is that transactional emails are usually more personalized and contain information that is specific to the recipient, while bulk emails are often more general and aimed at a wider audience.
Managing bulk email sending
If you intend to use bulk email services for promotional purposes, then some special rules apply. It is likely that in time and no matter how relevant your marketing emails are to the recipients, the email address from which they are sent will develop a poor reputation and become unusable or even blacklisted. Blacklisting is the worst-case scenario as this can result in your entire domain name becoming unusable and the website which shares that domain name may also become inaccessible or produce security warnings for visitors. Once a domain is blacklisted, it is difficult to repair and can take many months before normality is restored.
To mitigate this risk, many firms use a domain name dedicated to sending and receiving email. For example, you may own both the .com and .co.uk versions of your domain name with the website existing on the primary .com and the .co.uk name used solely for email.
In the event of your email-sending domain (.co.uk) being blacklisted, your website will be unaffected.
If the dedicated email domain name option seems a step too far for your business then even having just a dedicated email address solely for the purpose of bulk email can help.
How many email addresses do you really need?
It’s common for businesses to think they need several email addresses to cover all possible eventualities and sometimes just to make themselves look more “substantial” than they actually are. You may think you need sales@, accounts@, customer-service@ alongside your personal email address and sometimes, that is the way to go but, for many smaller businesses or new startups, there are other options which are easier to manage and less costly. Aliases.
An email alias is basically an alternate email address that you can use to receive emails, in addition to your primary email address. For example, let’s say your primary email address is [email protected], but you also want to receive emails sent to [email protected]. You can set up an email alias so that any emails sent to [email protected] will also be delivered to your primary email address.
Email aliases work by forwarding any emails sent to the alias email address to your primary email address. This means that you don’t need to check multiple email accounts to stay on top of your inbox. Instead, you can set up email filters or rules to automatically sort and label emails based on which email address they were sent to.
Email aliases can be useful for a number of reasons, such as:
- Creating a professional image for your business by using a custom email address for different departments or functions (e.g. [email protected], [email protected], etc.).
- Managing multiple email addresses for personal use, such as having separate email addresses for work, school, and personal emails.
- Protecting your privacy by using a different email address for different online services or websites, which can help to reduce spam and unwanted emails.
Overall, email aliases are a convenient way to manage multiple email addresses without having to juggle or pay for multiple inboxes.
How email actually works
We rarely have to think about how email works, it just does but, there are a few steps your message has to take between you composing your email and it being seen in the recipient’s mailbox.
The first step in sending an email is to use an email client, which is a software application that runs on your computer, laptop, tablet or phone and that allows the user to compose, send, receive and manage email messages. Popular email clients include Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Outlook, Apple Mail, and Thunderbird.
What can go wrong? Misconfiguration is the main reason for failure and results in an error message like “unable to send” or “unable to receive”. Check your email account details in your email client.
When the user clicks on the send button, the email client connects to an SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) server to send the email. SMTP is a protocol that defines how email is sent and received over the internet. The user’s email client sends the email to the SMTP server, which then forwards it to the recipient’s email server.
If an email is being received but is unable to be sent, this is a misconfiguration issue.
The email header contains important information about the email, such as the sender’s email address, the recipient’s email address, the date and time the email was sent, and the subject line.
To deliver the email to the recipient, the SMTP server needs to know the recipient’s email server. To do this, the SMTP server looks up the recipient’s email domain name using the Domain Name System (DNS). DNS is a system that translates human-readable domain names, such as “example.com,” into IP addresses, which are used by computers to communicate with each other over the internet.
Recipient’s Email Server
Once the SMTP server knows the recipient’s email server, it sends the email to the recipient’s email server using the SMTP protocol. The recipient’s email server receives the email and stores it in a mailbox.
When the recipient checks their email using their email client, such as Gmail or Outlook, the email client connects to the recipient’s email server using either the POP (Post Office Protocol) or IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) protocol to retrieve the email from the mailbox. POP and IMAP are protocols used for retrieving email messages from a mail server.
Finally, the email content is displayed to the recipient in their email client, including the message body, any attachments, and the sender’s name and email address.
In summary, email works by using an email client to compose and send a message to an SMTP server, which then sends the message to the recipient’s email server using DNS to locate the server. The recipient’s email client then retrieves the message using either the POP or IMAP protocol and the message is displayed in the recipient’s email client.