Communication is highly essential to the success of your business. Among the various common tools and channels of communication that your business may need to use in the course of time includes email messaging. Emails are a convenient way of channeling any form of information, including text-based messages, imagery, as well as video files. The ease of accessibility of emails, ease of use, and their easy setup makes them a convenient channel of day-to-day peer-to-peer or peer-to-public communication. Your business may need to apply email-based communication in various ways including marketing and advertising.
There are two basic types of emails commonly used in businesses today. A business may opt to use the various free-to-apply-and-use email service providers available in the market. The most popular of such free email service providers include Google’s Gmail and Yahoo’s yahoo mail. The free email service providers give you an opportunity to create and host an email account whose domain name refers to the service provider. For instance, an email service with Google would read something like email@example.com while Yahoo’s would be firstname.lastname@example.org.
The other popular type of email is where your business has the option of creating a customized domain name that comes at a small variable set up and hosting fee. Customizable domain names come in handy for businesses which seek to give themselves a boosted reputation and in the bid to appear professional.
Why a professional email is good for your business
Professional email addresses for your business may sound like an obvious and ignorable thing. However, having a professional business email address may make all the difference between your ability to successfully penetrate the market and failure to achieve the same. Having a professional business email is advantageous to your business in various aspects, including giving you a boosted image that is trustable by customers. Here are some of the other notable reasons as to why your business may benefit heavily for having a professional business email address.
a) A professional perception and impression
Having a professional email address serves as an opportunity for customers to highly regard your business. The unique and customized business email addresses create a good first impression. It also gives a professional perspective to them regarding your investment. It guarantees the customers that your business is fully dedicated in its area of investment by having a specially customized email address hosted in a paid domain. The additional expense of purchasing and maintaining the domain indirectly convinces customers that your business is serious and bound to obtain and retain a good market presence in the long term.
b) Winning customers’ trust
Having a professional business email address also helps win the trust of customers in the market. Trust, in this case, is highly essential, especially when seeking to penetrate the highly competitive market. Customers who see a business address with a unique and paid domain name tend to trust the business more as they associate the professional email with a serious organization that cares about its reputation across the market.
c) Security and protection
As opposed to free email service providers, having a professional email address associated with a unique domain name is considered more secure as it comes with additional security options. Domain service providers incorporate additional layers of security including sophisticated anti-hacking tools and spam protectors which go a long way to ensuring that the business email is secure enough to be utilized for communicating sensitive information.
On the contrary, free email service providers do provide some layer of security which, unfortunately, is not strong enough to protect against modern-day hacking tools. Also, domain-hosted email addresses have a customizable backup system that allows you to protect your email communications against potential losses.
d) Boosted brand name
As a business, establishing your brand in the market is very important. Having a branded email address for your business is an additional measure you can take to ensure you boost your brand name. Using the business address to communicate to customers helps get the word out there regarding the establishment of your business, thereby promoting brand awareness. This is as opposed to using customer-engagement email service providers such as MailChimp which use their own domain names when communicating with customers about your business. Considering having a professional business address will, therefore, help boost your businesses’ standing and reputation across the market.
Key rules when creating a professional business email address
When creating a professional business email address, professionalism is highly important. There are 3 basic but important rules to always consider to ensure that you achieve the desired results as hereby outlined.
1) Use your own domain name
Choosing your business’ domain name is the most important first step that should be well undertaken when creating a professional business address. The market is flooded with various domain host and service providers which you can always choose from. As outlined above, it is important to ensure that the domain you utilize reflects of the image you need to put a cross in the market. Free domain hosts such as Yahoo and Gmail will not give you the professional outlook you need to achieve. Finding a suitable domain for your business address should, therefore, be highly emphasized and carefully done.
There are various domain service providers in the market, including Bluehost and Hostgator. The domain name you utilize should reflect well of your business. For example, if your business name is Furniture Empire, you may want to utilize a domain name such as @furnitureempire.com as it helps customers who receive communication from you associate the email with your business, therefore helping build upon your brand.
2) Use a standardized email format
To give your business email a professional outlook, you should endeavor to ensure that the format utilized is standard. A standard email address contains two key parts, including the username and domain name separated by the @ sign.
With your domain name already professionally established as above outlined, the username should be equally professional, standard, and in reflection with the person associated with the email address. If you are creating a personal email address from the business domain, it is important to use real names of the person associated with the email address. For example, if the handler of the email address is John Smith, then the username can either be comprised of the first name, the last name, or a combination of the two with initials. For instance, the username can be johnsmith, jsmith, or any other combination that sounds professional.
In such a case, emails such as email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com would be highly suitable.
Generic names can also be utilized, especially on certain parts of your website, when seeking to actively engage your customers to contact you. For instance, the generic names info, sales, support, or contact can be utilized to encourage customers to contact you whenever they visit your website. In such a case, an email such as firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, and firstname.lastname@example.org would be associated with general information while email@example.com will be associated with the company’s sales department.
Other non-standardized formats of email addresses where you utilize uncommon names such as pets, towns, and aliases should not be encouraged since they give a non-professional outlook to your business.
3) Choosing a display name
When setting up the email, you should also consider choosing an appropriate email display name. The name is what appears next to the title of your email when the intended recipient opens the email. The display name should be comprised of the official names of the sender as that helps personalize and officialize the email conversation. Using the actual first name and last name of the sender is also encouraged since it helps your business brand itself professionally across the market.
Depending on the intent of the email, however, the display name can be changed to show the actual title or intention of the communication. For example, if the email contains a regular newsletter from your business to customers, using the word “Newsletter” for the display name will help the recipient associate the particular email with its contents.
4) Securing the email address
After setting up the email address appropriately, the next step involves setting up the necessary security measures targeted at making the email address secure from potential cyber threats. When setting up email security, emphasis should be made on ensuring that the passwords utilized are secure enough to prevent hacking. A combination of alphanumeric keys of up to 10 characters in length should be used. Depending on the level of security you need to achieve, you may use a combination of security measures such as two-step verification upon logging-in to prevent hacking attempts.
Different domain service providers utilized different layers of security against various hacking tools such as phishing, spams, and malware. Using the necessary anti-phishing and anti-spam programs to secure the email address helps protect you against sophisticated hacking attempts.
How to set up a business email: A case study on Bluehost Service Provider
Setting up a professional business email account when you have a custom domain name hosted in various service providers such as Bluehost or Hostgator is pretty simple. Service providers such as Bluehost give you an opportunity to create a free business account for every domain you host with them. Besides, Bluehost also provides an opportunity for creating as many email addresses as possible, thereby fitting into your possible needs of having different email addresses for different purposes or different departments; all associated with the same business domain.
The process of creating a business email address once you sign up for your Bluehost domain involves several major steps:-
a) Log in to the control panel
The first step involves logging in to your control panel. The control panel is accessible once you type in your domain or username and a corresponding password. This takes you to the control panel that contains, among other items, the “mail” section, the “website builder” section, and the “mojo marketplace” section.
b) Creating an email account
On the “mail” section, you should then click on the “email accounts” tab which takes you to a page where you can set up a new email account. To set up, you should select and enter text on the “username” tab from where you key in the username you need for your new business email account. In such a case, the domain name would be already set up, and thus you will not have to enter it again.
The next step in creating the email account involves entering appropriate password protection for your email account. The password should be strong enough. Bluehost gives you an option of automatically generating a strong password which you can memorize or copy and safely save somewhere. The password strength is also automatically displayed for you as a percentage, giving you an idea of how hard it is for a hacker to replicate it in a hacking attempt.
Bluehost also gives you an opportunity to select the storage capacity you desire to allocate for your email account. A larger capacity of storage will allow you to receive files without having to delete them to create space for new emails. Alternatively, you can select the “unlimited mailbox size” option to ensure your email is not limited in terms of space of storage for emails.
c) Finishing the set up
After keying in the necessary inputs that you desire for your email, you can complete the setup and start using your email address right away.
Additional features you can use on your business email
You can also set other additional features in your business email address that generally increases the efficiency of your communication with clients and customers. These features include:-
- Forwarding email feature – the forwarding feature lets you automatically forward emails received in your business email to another preferred email address.
- Auto responding feature – the auto responding feature lets you set an automated response system that replies to every email received. This feature is useful as it ensures that your customers do not have to wait for long before being replied to.
- Email configuration feature – email configuration lets you set certain features of your email address such as including the display name and profile picture. Other configurable options include setting templates, font styles, font size, and an automated signature.
Etiquette rules to follow when using business emails
Setting up a professional email account for your business is the first major step towards achieving a professional outlook that promotes brand awareness and creates a good impression across the market. The main challenge comes with the use of the e-mail address in communicating with your customers.
To achieve the necessary impression that you desire, you need to ensure that all users of the email address adhere to a certain level of professionalism and etiquette. Like any other form of communication, the business email should be used professionally. Here are some of the important etiquettes and rules you should remember to apply at all times.
a) Be clear and precise
Whenever communicating with your clients, customers, and members of the public using the professional business email, it is important to maintain clarity by being precise and short in the type of message you convey. Customers rarely get sufficient time to read through long emails. Being too wordy and repetitive in the message you write in your email would, therefore, reduce the email’s readership, thereby distorting and constraining your ability to communicate with your recipients.
b) Use a short and clear subject line
The subject lines of your professional email should be short and to the point. The subject line would be the first item that the recipient would look at when they receive your email. You need to ensure that your recipient gets a short glimpse of whatever the rest of the email says by looking at the subject line. If the subject is not clear or is too long, you can be sure that your recipients would procrastinate reading the email.
Subject lines that are shot such as “Flash Sale Deals for You” encourage the reader to click on the email and get more information. On the contrary, a subject line such as “Our Company is Giving out Discounts to Random Customers and You are one of our Winners” sounds and appears too long to convey a precise message to the reader at a glimpse.
c) Include a link to your business
Depending on the intention of your email to your customers, you should always endeavor to include a link that can refer the recipient back to your business’ website. Even if the sole reason for the email is to inform customers of certain important communication, a backlink to your business is always a direct way of generating more traffic for your website, thereby increasing the chances of converting online visitors to active customers.
If you intend to generate sales directly from the email, including a call-to-action where you encourage the reader to take some action such as purchase goods or services would ensure you achieve your goal. Sometimes, the link to your business does not always have to be a web link address. You can also include contact details such as email addresses, fax numbers, and phone numbers. Other contact information that should be added include links to social media pages among other channels of social communication. Including such contact information acts as an indirect way of marketing your business.
d) Use professional language
Composing a professional email message requires you to use professional language including professional salutations. Colloquial expressions such as “hey you there” may sound fancy and informal but do not achieve the same feeling as using a professional salutation. Once in a while, you may need to break the professional touch of your message in your emails with an informal language in order to give your recipient a personalized feel where they feel individually appreciated. If you are certain of the recipient's actual name, referring to them by their first name, last name, or both in the salutation comes as an added advantage.
e) Avoid humor
In communication, humor is quite important as it helps convey a message with a long lasting impression of memory. However, when it comes to business and official communication, humor should be avoided as much as possible. This is because it may not sit well with different persons who receive the messages. The interpretation of humorous language within your email communication may differ depending on the recipient's cultural background. Besides, a wrongly interpreted humor within your email may significantly damage your reputation while leaving you to make frantic efforts of apologizing to the wronged persons. To avoid being on the receiving end, therefore, you should limit all your communication to official language.
f) Proofread your emails
Nothing sounds as unprofessional as mistakes within an email message. Grammatical errors show a lack of diligence and may thus, to some extent, damage the reputation of your business. The only way to prevent such grammatical errors from making their way to your recipients is to ensure every message is proofread comprehensively. You can even opt to utilize various grammar tools that help identify and correct certain mistakes that are hard to notice. Exercising such due diligence is necessary in helping your customers have a good regard for your business.
How to protect your business email account
Your professional business email account is utilized for important business-business and business-customer communication in sharing information that may be sensitive and should thus be treated as an internal secret. Protecting the business email address and the entire communication system within your business is highly important in this age where cyber theft is a major concern.
Experts advise that you utilize an array of protective measures targeted at ensuring confidential information is not let out as a result of hacking. Here are some of the important measures you need to implement to ensure the security of your business' email-based communications.
a) Encrypt all email and servers used for communication
Encrypting your e-mail and server is the first measure you need to implement to ensure that all email communications to and from your customers cannot be intercepted and by malicious persons and hackers. Email encryption software gives you an opportunity to use Transport Layer Security (TLS) that ensures only the intended recipients received the emails. TLS helps in preventing eavesdropping on emails, a common technique that most email hackers utilize.
b) Educating your employees on the use of the email
The next layer of protection that you need to implement in your email system is educating your employees to ensure they are competently able to utilize the email system without compromising on data and email security. Employee training should major on the area of cybercrime as relates to the use of emails to penetrate organizational data. Among the important areas you should touch on includes how to detect potentially malicious spam that can be sent through the email service and how to respond to such threats.
Hackers today utilize malware that is normally sent via email service as a hidden program code which, when opened, can patch itself into a network to siphon out information. The employees should, therefore, be trained not to open suspicious emails.
c) Set up protection against email-based cybercrime
In addition to training your employees, you should put up automatic protection against email-based cybercrime. Such protection takes over the concept of protecting your organization’s internal data in situations where cybercriminals get past the employee's ability to detect and avert phishing and hacking attempts. Among the protection you can implement in this regard include setting up antivirus programs that are capable of detecting and preventing malware, ransomware, and viruses that are conveyed over the internet. When setting such programs, it is crucial to ensure they are set to automatically update themselves to incorporate the latest virus definitions. This ensures they can live up to the threats posed by modern-day well-equipped and competent hackers who use potent hacking tools.