If you want to build trust with small businesses, it’s important that you have a professional email address that uses your domain name. Scams are becoming increasingly more troublesome, which is why businesses need to have a professional email address like firstname.lastname@example.org to add credibility and professionalism.
Once you’re ready to create your own professional e-mail address, we have a free business email address guide that will provide you with instructions on how to set one up if you have a website.
Here are some important rules to follow when using a professional email address:
Rule #1 - Be sure you’re always using your own domain.
It’s important that you have your own domain in order to leave a good impression with your e-mail address. Some examples include JaneDoe@YourBusiness.com rather than JaneDoe@yahoo.com or JaneDoe@gmail.com.
Custom domains represented a mark of professionalism many years ago because they showed the dedication and experience that you selected when you bought a domain for your email address and created a website. Today, it’s a requirement. The good news is that custom domains are very inexpensive and it only takes around 15 minutes to create a professional email address with one.
Finding Domains for Business Email Addresses
Our tool below can help you search for all of the domain names that are currently available. If you need some help with brainstorming, we have 25 domain name tips from professionals that may be of assistance.
Bluehost is what we recommend for purchasing a domain because you can have up to 5 email accounts and a web hosting plan for only $2.95 a month. Domains with GoDaddy run around $12 a year, but you will pay an additional $4.99 each month for every email account you have.
Why You Should Use a Custom Domain
One of the main reasons people purchase customized domains is to avoid unprofessionalism, but there are other reasons that one must keep in mind, including having a memorable email address rather than being bogged down by an internet service provider.
Memorable, Cleaner Email
Custom domains let you create cleaner, simpler email usernames, which is something a provider like Gmail can’t deliver, as most of their simple email addresses have already been taken by other users. The best you could do would be along the lines of using your name with a bunch of numbers after it, but that wouldn’t be very memorable or practical.
When you have your own personal domain, you can pick out whatever name you wish. Custom domain email addresses are easier to communicate to others, including your business cards. Customers will also be able to associate with your business and remember it better.
No Longer Being Tied to an ISP
If your business email address is tied to your internet service provider in any way, it should be replaced at once. Emails such as @verizon.net or @comcast.net make yourself dependent upon using that internet provider indefinitely. If you cancel your Verizon or Comcast internet service, your email address will go away as well as any marketing you may have used to promote the address.
Rule #2 - Always use a standard email format.
Your username is just as important as your domain because it is the JaneDoe part of JaneDoe@YourDomain.com. Simple usernames are more professional than usernames like MrMoe210 or RadicalDude687. The one question that remains is whether you prefer to use your first name, your entire name, a combination of your name and initials, or something else entirely. It’s important that your display name is set up correctly on all of your emails.
How to Format Your Professional Email Address
There are five useful email formats that can be used in a variety of situations.
a. First Name: Jane@YourDomain.com
The most popular and simplest professional email address format is to use a first name only. This makes it easier for people to remember, personally connects you to your clients, and allows you to retain your privacy if you aren’t comfortable giving your last name out to anyone. The bad thing is that you may have to break this format should more than one employee have the same first name as you.
b. First name with last initial: JaneD@YourDomain.com
This option allows for more combinations should several employees have the same first name you have. Employees will still be allowed to maintain their privacy, which is helpful in case a support agent has to speak with an angry customer.
c. First initial with last name: JDoe@YourDomain.com
Another popular email format is to use your first initial along with your last name. Clients typically remember last names over first names, so this strategy would also work just as effectively. It’s less likely that you’ll have any duplicate usernames, and more concise than using your full first and last name. This format will not allow you to hide your identity, however.
d. Full first and last name: JaneDoe@YourDomain.com
The full name is popular with sole proprietors, professionals, and executives who consider their entire name as a brand. You can always display your entire name next to your professional email address no matter what format you choose, but it will make your address far more memorable.
e. Generic names: Information@YourDomain.com
Generic usernames can be useful to use on your website because they give visitors individual email addresses to contact for press, sales, support, and other general questions and needs. They are professional and help keep your business more organized. These email addresses can also be set up to forward to a secondary account.
All of the examples above are for people who already own a customized domain and email address. If your web host doesn’t have this option, you should switch to Bluehost to get a custom email address and domain for $2.95 a month.
Setting Up a Display Name for Your Email Address
While having a professional email address is important, it’s also important that the display name you choose appears next to it on all of your messages. This will typically be your first and last name.
There are a variety of approaches one can use to display names that can be used in a number of ways:
1. Your entire first and last name: Jane Doe JaneDoe@YourDomain.com
Displaying your entire name next to your email address is one of the simplest approaches you can take. Unless you’re using an email address for automated emails, support emails, or cold emails, this is the best approach.
2. Your first name and the company’s name: Jane@PetSupplyDepot.com
If your visitors aren’t personally familiar with you, this option can prove to be useful if they are familiar with your business. This display name format should be used if you are responding to visitors who have submitted information, cold emailing, or sending a support email.
3. Company name only: PetSupplyDepot Newsletter@YourDomain.com
Lots of businesses use their company name when they’re sending out promotional emails, such as newsletters. Visitors who join the mailing list will instantly recognize the company name, but not any of the employees who work there.
Rule #3 - Create special email addresses that can be used on your website.
When you create general purpose or special emails to use on your business’ website, it’s imperative that you use email forwarding to send these types of emails to the correct people. Using an email address such as email@example.com, for instance, to forward emails to your customer service department is much more professional than using a personal email address.
If your website isn’t up and running yet, you can find out how to create one using our guide and get a free professional email address when you purchase Bluehost’s web hosting for $2.95 a month.
Generic addresses like Information@YourDomain.com are more professional and let you hide your main email address. It’s also useful because you can forward emails to a variety of different accounts. For instance, emails sent to Sales@YourDomain.com can be forwarded to sales managers, while emails sent to Press@YourDomain.com can be forwarded to your social media manager, as well as yourself.
A majority of business-related email providers will make this easy to set up. Group emails can be created that can be forwarded to many accounts. Email forwarding rules can also be created. Using Bluehost as an example, there’s a menu called “Forwarding” where a generic email address can be created like Information@YourDomain.com that can be used to forward messages to multiple personal email addresses.
In the above example, Information@guitarheaven.com is being forwarded to someone’s personal email address of Cindy@guitarheaven.com. If she wanted to forward it to other employees such as the general manager, she would click “submit” and “add email forwarder.”
The Benefits of Using Professional Email Addresses
Professional email addresses are important to use in your business because it gives your company more credibility, and makes your business appear more authentic among potential customers. Professional email addresses also give your business additional exposure because they include your domain name and can help your business increase sales by instilling trustworthiness.
Here are some reasons why professional business email addresses should be used:
- First Impressions (Professionally) – Professional email addresses make your business appear more professional. Other people will want to take your business a little more seriously.
- Stable Branding – Having stable, consistent branding is important. Each employee should have a business email address with an interconnected company-wide format like Taylor@yourURL.com.
- Gaining Trust – When your business is presented professionally, people feel more confident about trusting it, which can improve sales.
- Increasing Your Brand’s Awareness – Your business’ domain name is used in your professional email address each time you send an email. This increases brand awareness.
- Cohesiveness – When you standardize email addresses for one company, this creates cohesiveness, in that it makes employee emails easier to manage since they all follow the same format.
- Control – Centralized email addresses give your business more control over other user accounts because they’re managed under one centralized hub. G Suite, for instance, is one such example. This is something Gmail uses for business-based email accounts.
What You Should Avoid When You Create a Professional Email Address
There are some things you need to avoid when you’re creating a professional email address so that your email address isn’t unprofessional. Using formats or nicknames that cut off part of the employee names undermines the professionalism of your business email address.
Here is a list of some other things you should never do when you create a professional email address:
- Avoid Using Long Email Addresses – If you use a format such as first.last@yourURL.com, that might be okay for a name like James Roy, but if you have a long name such as Christopher Whitehouse, that is a much longer email address. Lengthy formats should be avoided.
- Never Use Numbers – If you decide to use a format such as firstname@URL.com, it’s likely you will run into first names that are common. Don’t use numbers to differentiate between the names. Instead, use an email format with your first initial and last name.
- Never Use Nicknames – It’s okay if you shorten a name like Christopher to Chris, but never use a nickname that isn’t relevant or might be too personal, as a nickname will appear less professional.
The 5 Best Professional Email Service Providers
There are numerous professional email service providers you can choose from. To make it a little easier, we have included a list of the five best service providers to use for small businesses. Many of these plans are as little as $5.00 a month, which make them affordable and they will let you connect your business’ custom domain name.
- Bluehost: Free. Hosting plans are as little as $2.95 a month.
- Zoho: $3.00 a month standard email plans.
- Gmail: Professional email addresses for $4.95 a month and includes an annual billing plan.
- Office 365: Microsoft Office Suite with a business email address included.
- Rackspace: Inexpensive email plans for $2.00 a month.
You can learn more about different email providers including the types of features they include, security, customer service, storage, and more in a supplementary article on the top 6 email providers.
Professional email addresses leave your business with a skilled and professional impression. All businesses should use professional email addresses to help customers gain your trust and to present your business in a professional light.
The first step to proving that your company is legitimate is through the use of a professional email address. Domains are cheap and websites have become omnipresent, which is why you need to have a professional website along with your professional email address.