As a business, having an email address is pretty much essential these days. Customers, suppliers and clients expect to be able to contact you electronically. But use any old email address and you’re missing out.
We often come across businesses using @btinternet.com or @gmail.com email addresses which they’ve set up through their internet service provider. Worse, they already have a website, which means they have everything they need to have a lovely firstname.lastname@example.org email address, they’re just not using it! As such, they’re missing out on a really easy piece of marketing. Why promote BT or Google through your email address? Promote yourself! Build your own brand, not theirs. They don’t need your help on that front.
With a custom email address for your business you’ll be pointing people directly to your website, which you’ve probably invested significant time and money in. You’ll also be safeguarding yourself in case your internet service provider merges with someone else and changes their email suffix, and your emails are less likely to be spammed. If nothing else, it makes you look much more professional and credible.
So how do you get a business email address?
There are several options available to you. The best option for you will depend on what services you already have, how much you’re willing to pay, how much you rely on email and whether you’d like to be able to access your emails on multiple devices (mobile, tablet etc.).
If you don’t already have a website
If you don’t have a business website, I feel like slapping your wrist already. But if your business just isn’t there yet, you can still have a business email address (although there is a risk that people will expect you to have a website too and be disappointed when you don’t).
To get your business email address, you first need to find an available domain name. This is the address people would type to look at your website if you had one, e.g. ‘examplemarketing.co.uk’. There are lots of businesses out there which supply domain names, just search online for ‘domain registration’. You’ll be able to search through domain names until you find an available one that matches your business name. You can then buy it for a year, or more, for a fairly nominal fee.
For emails, you’ll also need some hosting. Most domain registration companies will offer you hosting too. Whilst the prices of domains tend to be much of a muchness, hosting prices can vary quite a lot so shop around. If you’re just after the email address and don’t need website hosting too, you shouldn’t expect to pay more than £5 a month for hosting.
Once you’ve got both of those things set up, you’ll have access to a control panel and within there you’ll be able to follow instructions to set up your email addresses. Set up works slightly different for every hosting company so we can’t be any more helpful here, but there should be a support line who can help you if you get stuck.
Et voila! You’ll have a shiny new, own-branded business email address to use. You’ll probably have online access to your mailbox via your hosting company. You’ll also be able to set your email address up with your favourite email client (like Outlook, see below).
If you already have a website
You’re 90% of the way there! You’ll already have a domain and hosting, so all you need to do is use the service which, in all likelihood, is sitting there waiting for you. In your domain control panel, you should be able to find an option to set up business email addresses attached to your domain. Or ask your web developer to help you (shame on them if they’ve not already suggested this to you though!).
As mentioned above, not all hosting companies are created equal, so we can’t guarantee it’ll be quite as easy as that, but it should be.
If you email a lot and use different devices
We’re increasingly encouraging our clients to consider something like Exchange Online or Office 365 for their business emails. You have to pay a little bit more, but it’s still very minimal per month and there are very real advantages:
- Top notch security
- Everything backed up online
- Emails which synchronise easily between your devices, so if you open an email on your phone and move it to a folder, it’ll end up in the same place on your computer back in the office, helping you keep organised on the go
- Access to ancillary services such as OneDrive or Sharepoint with Office 365 so you can store documents ‘in the cloud’
You’ll still need a domain (see above), but your email is set up through Microsoft rather than through your hosting company.
Where does Outlook come in?
Outlook is just Microsoft’s programme for viewing your emails. It doesn’t matter what sort of email account you have, you can set Outlook up to be the programme you use to look at them. It’s a good standard choice because it’s designed for businesses and is easy to use, but it’s not essential.
The long and short of it is this. If you’re running your business using an internet service provider email address, change it. Now. And if you’re a bit confused about your best option, just give us a call, we’ll be happy to give you some advice and even help you set your new address up. It’s quick, simple, cheap and well worth it.