In my business I meet a lot of people in person and even more online. I am often amazed and sometimes amused by the email addresses some people use to when attempting to portray themselves as professionals. It is hard to find someone trying convince me that they are a credible business professional with an email address: FinancialGuru@aol.com. Really?
@AOL.com equals Amateur OnLine
An AOL address might be just as serviceable as any other address when it comes to sending and receiving mail. However to most people who are in business it says “Hi. I’m from 1996. What is this internet you speak of?”
Branding starts in your inbox.
After all, more people likely view your emails than view your social media posts. You can do a number of things to own this brand, or you can sit back and let casual decisions define it for you. You can brand yourself, or you can be branded. The choice, as always, is yours.
When you started your business you probably didn’t give all that much thought to the form of your email address. After all, whether to go for firstname.lastname or just stick with your first name probably didn’t seem like a weighty matter when you were also thinking about perfecting your product, polishing your brand and setting your pricing.
You might not have meant for your email address to say anything about you or your company, but here are some examples of what people might see when they look at entrepreneurs’ emails:
The first-name convention projects that the company values the individual in a truly personal manner.
This convention conveys the importance of scalability in the organization, even from the founding stage…most likely stemming from a technical founder.
The founder’s last name is too long or hard to spell, and so nobody else at the company will list theirs either.
It’s a casual, yet hip atmosphere…the office eschews chairs for beanbags, shared tables for offices and cubes, it’s only Macs for this company.
The founding team is all from Microsoft and can’t shake it even if they tried.
You can send us an email, we will answer but we have such a high turnover you could get anyone.
The founders can’t even figure out how to buy their own domain name.
The founders are so convinced that they’re taking over the world that they want to leave the option of issuing @startup.com email addresses to their consumer users.
If you are still using an “AOL”, “Hotmail” “MSN”, “Yahoo”, “Gmail” or even worse your internet service provider account for your business go immediately to www.godaddy.com and buy your domain name. It’s very affordable and another effective way to brand your business. And if you just can’t part with your retro email address, don’t worry. You can setup that new business email address to simply “forward” all messages. It’s easier than getting your business cards printed at Kinko’s!