Only a couple of years ago, I thought we might be seeing the beginning of the end of email accounts for business. Social media, the rise of mobile phone usage, instant messaging, texting etc all made me think that email would go the same way as letter writing.
To misquote Mark Twain, reports of email’s death have been greatly exaggerated. It’s still an important communication tool for business as you can include more detailed information, links and attachments more easily than texts or instant messaging.
Whenever you send or reply to an email, it’s also a good chance to reinforce your brand name, website address, social media. This includes the email account you use.
Problems with a business using free email accounts
If a business sends me an email using one of the free email providers such as Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, Outlook etc then I assume that they haven’t been operating for very long. More seriously, I also think they might be trying to hide past history or simply haven’t got round to sorting out their business email accounts and web hosting. If they can’t be bothered to do that or be associated with their brand then, fairly or unfairly, I also assume their service levels might also be poor.
We often get emails from IT, web design and SEO (I know!) companies or individuals using these free email accounts and we just send them straight to the junk folder.
Having a strong and memorable brand, website address and easy to remember enquiry email addresses are a fundamental part of your business communications.
Here’s a photo I took this week.
This is a business that has gone to expense of having vehicle graphics but the email address is a hard to remember gmail account. This makes it harder for people to contact the business. If you make it harder for people to contact you then it is quite possible that they’ll contact a competitor even though they might not be providing a better service or product.
Don’t use social media sites as your main website
Although we ease the process, setting up a website can involve reasonable commitment of effort for a business. You need to think of what to say, source images and think about design and product offering. All this takes time and your web design company will help but you still need to devote time to thinking through what you need.
We sometimes see smaller businesses not bothering with having a website at all or relying on social media. While we don’t think Facebook is going away in the foreseeable future, some of the other social media sites such as Twitter and LinkedIn are struggling to be profitable.
That means that they could easily go the same way as MySpace and disappear into obscurity.
For some micro businesses using a Facebook page as a website is ok. Sole traders like can get away with it for a while.
However a website address with a good local SEO campaign registers your business in a particular region and location. It also shows that your business is established on the Internet as much as having a physical address.
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