Have you ever received an email from a business and noticed that it came from a personal email account? You know the ones that I’m talking about. Maybe it’s your local handyman or your nail salon. You’re expecting to see their business name but if they’re using a Gmail or an AOL account, what are they branding? Themselves? Google? AOL? Recently, I received an email from a new restaurant. I had subscribed to a newsletter that they had posted on their website – which means they have a website. So why was their email from an AOL account?
OK. Missed opportunity… but to make matters worse, there was absolutely no way to access their website from within their email. Nothing. No links on their images. No links in their text. That image of the pitchers of Sangria and Margaritas advertising their “Cinco de Mayo” celebration was particularly enticing but – no link. Even their signature line in the footer of their message only had a link to send then an email at AOL. Their website address was nowhere to be found.
So, even though they got this partly right by asking for my email address, they’re missing an opportunity to make it easy for me to visit their website and they’re missing an opportunity to build their brand. On the other hand, once again the big-boys (Google & AOL) are right up front in my mind thanks to (and at the expense of) the restaurant.
Moral of the story is… don’t miss an opportunity to build your brand. Get your business name out there every chance you can. If you have a website, you’re paying to host it somewhere and you should have access to unlimited & free email accounts. – Accounts that will clearly and loudly advertise your domain name. AOL does it. Every time you get an email from an AOL (or Yahoo or Gmail/Google) user, they’re reinforcing their brand. So, follow the lead of the big guys and start promoting your “dot com” when you send emails out. It will help you build a professional image and brand awareness.
Set up a few email accounts for your website. So what if you’re the only employee? You can make your business look bigger than it is. Try setting up an email for customer service and maybe another for sales. You could also set one up for a specific promotion to track your results.
One thing to keep in mind about email addresses is that you want to protect them as much as possible from spam. Unscrupulous spammers often send ”email spambots” (automated programs) crawling through the Internet to “harvest” email addresses. (There are actually businesses that sell software to do this. UGH!) The easiest way to avoid having your email addresses harvested is to use a contact form on your website. For those people who really want to email you, you can add text such as “send an email to Sherryl [at] keepupwiththeweb [dot] com” on your website. This will keep those nasty spambots from recognizing and collecting your email addresses.
But whatever you do, if you are sending business email, promote yourself and not the other guy.
What are your thoughts? While we’re on the subject of emails, what do you use for your email client? I’ve been using Microsoft Outlook for years but I’ve been reading articles where people advocate Gmail. What do you use?