I cannot tell you have many times I have seen a professional business card with a gmail address on it. In this day and age with website and domain names such an easy thing to come by why do so many otherwise professional business owners still use a free email a service for their email? It could be like the old saying goes ‘Old habits die hard.’. Or, it could be that free email is saving them some money? But neither of these arguments are very good ones if you truly want to taken seriously and want to grow your business safely.
Not only does it LOOK unprofessional for you to be using a free email service like gmail, Yahoo!, or Hotmail, but you are sacrificing a great opportunity to get the name of your company on the mind of this new contact, and frankly put, free email services are just an unsafe way to communicate.
Below are just some of the reasons why you should not be using a free email service for your company email.
Hackers Love Free Email Accounts
Because of the vast amount of free email accounts like gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo! hackers like to spend their time and energy on trying to hack into this large database of users. The most recent hack happened in July, 2015 and according to Reuters, The discovery of 272.3 million stolen accounts included a majority of users of Mail.ru (MAILRq.L), Russia’s most popular email service, and smaller fractions of Google (GOOGL.O), Yahoo (YHOO.O) and Microsoft (MSFT.O) email users, said Alex Holden, founder and chief information security officer of Hold Security. This latest discovery came after Hold Security researchers found a young Russian hacker bragging in an online forum that he had collected and was ready to give away a far larger number of stolen credentials that ended up totaling 1.17 billion records.
When a hacker gains access to your email account they can and often to use it to send spam and even possibly adult content to your list of contacts which could include your clients, vendors, business partners and so on, making it even more crucial that you keep your login information as safe as possible.
One way to try and keep your account safe if you do decide to continue to use a free email service is to use 2 Step Authentication which means that each time you login to your free email service you are asked for a pass code that is sent to your phone via text. This way even if someone else has your username and password, they won’t be able to get past the second step in the authentication.
It Looks Unprofessional
If you are using a free email service you are sending the wrong message. It is just too easy and frankly necessary to have a website for your business it it could mean a number of things to your customers or potential customers:
- Your company cannot afford a domain name and a professional website with email
- The email you sent is coming from your personal email account and not your business account
- You are not organized or professional enough to get a domain name for your company
- You are not concerned with privacy
Your Email Is Likely to be Mistaken as SPAM
Most SPAM filters these days are looking for free email account email addresses like Hotmail, Gmail or Yahoo!. The reason is that SPAMMers typically use free email accounts to send out SPAM. It is easier to setup a free email account and it doesn’t cost them a dime.
“Free” Typically Means “No Technical Support”
When you are using a free email service, and your email goes down, to use a popular phrase “Who You Gonna Call??”. Well Google won’t be answering your phone call and millions of others when they are having problems. They would go out of business if they did that for free. But, with a web hosting company, you should get technical support. So, if your email stops working for some reason, and remember in running a business communication is a top priority, you will be able to get the help you need. Many hosting companies offer 24/7 support as well as phone support, and this might be in the form of a Help Desk or email support, but typically they are manned 24 hours and you will get the help you need.
You Are Missing Out on a Valuable Marketing Opportunity
Using your domain name in your email address is similar to how Product Placement is used in the movies to get people to remember that product even after the movie is over.
When you use your companies domain name in your email correspondence, you are continually presenting your company name over and over again. It’s like free marketing. And if you don’t take this opportunity to market your own business, and you use a free email service like Gmail, you are essentially putting a sign for somebody else’s business over your front door. In other words, you are advertising for Gmail and not your own business. Granted Google appreciates the free advertising, but you shouldn’t be doing that for Google! They have a much larger advertising budget than you do!
Remember that it typically takes 7 touches to get a sale. And it can take time to make 7 touches. Email is a great way to get that ‘touch’ and get closer to that sale. And if your email has your domain name in the email address, you are once again, cementing the name of your company into your potential customer’s mind. Do this over and over again and the customer will remember your company before any other company when they are about to buy your products or services.
Considering how cheap a website hosting account is and since most include email as part of the low cost package, and considering how unsafe it is to use a free email service, there is no reason why every employee at your small business shouldn’t be using your company email account. The advertising alone will make it worth the extra amount you spend on the domain name, and email service.