I just finished reading something that is very timely. It’s the best reason ever to have a professional email address. What am I actually referring to? The use of a common, mainstream internet service provider or email service provider indicated in the email address you use for your business dealings.
For example: HarrySmith@Yahoo.com or HarrySmith@gmail.com or HarrySmith@embarqmail.com
Mind you, I’m no different than anyone else. Well, maybe a little, but I mean by how much email I receive (over 300 daily and rising). The world is drowning in worthless junk email, including you and me.
My inbox and SPAM folder are awash with offers from a zillion different “companies” for everything from helping an Ambassador in Uzbekistan hide his money, to performance enhancement pills and devices that will make life worth living (right). We all have become desensitized by the amount of junk email over the years, so they typically go straight to the junk folder. In that regard I am no different than you.
You can just barely read the letters DEL on my keyboard.
Best Reason Ever
Many of you know that I am a Master Certified Solution Provider with Constant Contact®. Recently I discovered a great article from a fellow CTCT associate; I’d like to share an excerpt that highlights the best reason ever to have a professional email address when doing business.
If you’re sending email through an email service provider (ESP) — like Constant Contact — using an @gmail.com address as your “from” email address, Google’s protocol will tell receiving servers to reject the email because it’s not sent through a Google server — and your email might be rejected or recorded as a bounce.
(Note: All email service providers are impacted by this change; it is not isolated to Constant Contact.)
Tara Natanson, Manager of ISP Relations at Constant Contact
This change in Google’s methodology will affect every email marketing service (MailChimp®, Bronto®, Campaigner®, InfusionSoft®, and others)
What stands out for me is the use of a Gmail®, AOL®, Yahoo® or other free email account for business. I simply cannot understand a small business person being reluctant to spend a few bucks a month on a professional email domain, like firstname.lastname@example.org. Compared to other marketing tactics, this is pocket change.
What these people fail to realize is this: should they gain one new subscriber to their newsletter, or sell one widget a month as a result of their email address helping to provide a more professional impression, the money invested would be more than recouped. They would be gaining not only ROI, but momentum. Every time the open rate or sales happen with a professional email address, credibility and revenues grow. Why ignore the advantages for saving a little money?
Did I forget to mention that your competition is probably approaching this properly, and making you look bad? Because we host email on our own server, and provide domain registration services, I know our clients aren’t falling prey to this worst practice.
Why a Professional Email Domain?
The answers come easy for me, and should also for you. There is the matter of trust that is inherent in receiving an email from an actual business that has a brand name (even if you don’t know it), as opposed to email@example.com. It builds engagement (resulting in a greater chance of that email getting opened) and respect. The greatest advantage is the open rate, and avoiding the SPAM filters. A respectable email address tells the email filters that “it’s not junk” a lot more easily than a generic email address.
With professional email services which can include a professional business email address, the marketing possibilities are greatly enhanced. Rather than plain messaging, there are templates that can help create a truly professional, brand enhancing look to newsletters, emails and offers.
The auto-responder aspects help segment contacts, dedicate specific campaigns, automate processes, and provide powerful tools to analyze the results. Obviously the costs for a fully integrated email marketing platform are a bit more than a few bucks a month, but in our client’s opinion, well worth it. If a company is serious about making the right impression, growing subscribers and/or revenues, the monthly investment is merely a small cost of doing business the right way.
This is a 3rd party example, but it is really close to home and helps visualize what kinds of resistance is really out there in the world of small business.
Meet the Resistance
A strategic partner of mine (who will remain nameless) recently consulted with a startup company, establishing the fundamentals of their marketing programs. The business owner, a seasoned executive from the vacation resort industry, wanted to have his brand built around the latest technologies. Part of that brand building included an email marketing system. Within that system was exactly what I have been sharing; templates for visual impact, customized messaging, auto-responder system, analytics reporting. This happened to be problematic for the business owner, as his knowledge of computers and email was limited to his personal Gmail account. His limited knowledge of computers hamstrung him into resisting change of any kind. As an aside, his inbox held more than 32,000 emails. He never deleted a single email, nor segmented them into folders within Gmail. He even pays Google additional fees for the extra storage. He flat out refused to convert to another email service platform; he shunned proven and effective technology.
The point of my sharing this story is to illustrate the type of people who will most be affected by the changes in the email process Google is now adopting. Their reluctance, ignorance, refusal to adapt will ultimately limit their success.
Take the Plunge
As an agency that relies on a great email marketing solution, it’s easy for me to say there’s not sweat to getting started. But I am not everyone, I do this stuff for a living. If you are one of those that have been reluctant to sign on to an integrated email marketing solution with a dedicated professional email address, reach out and the team at Zen Marketing will lend a hand, hold a hand and coach you to become confident in your usage of one. You’re not going to believe the results that will follow.