Do you want your prospects and customers to believe that your company is a reliable place to do business? One way to reinforce that belief is to establish a professional email address.
Establishing a professional email address is easy—and sometimes free!
Professional Email Address: Why Need One?
Let’s say someone finds your website online, or you want to establish a relationship with a bank by opening a business bank account. Those people may be impressed with your products and services, but if they see JimFootballFan@hotmail.com as your email, your credibility is shot.
What is a professional email address? A professional address helps you to reinforce your brand and build trust. The best way to do that is to use an email address that corresponds to your website address, such as Bob@YourDomainName.com.
A professional email address provides a number of benefits for your small business:
- Make a good first impression: Whenever someone finds your website online or you give someone your business card, you’ll start off the relationship looking reputable.
- Look professional: You could use an email address like BusinessConsulting285@gmail.com, but does that address make a company seem trustworthy and legitimate? Act the part to help grow your business.
- Make it easier to reach you: Email addresses from Gmail, Yahoo or AOL can be difficult to remember. There are many users on these platforms, forcing people to add numbers or silly sayings to their names to find a unique address. Your contacts are much more likely to remember an address such as John@YourDomainName.com.
- Staff email addresses will be consistent. You can easily create consistent addresses for your entire staff. Joan@YourDomainName.com will look much more professional than anything Joan might create at a Gmail address.
- Bolster your brand visibility: It doesn’t matter the size of your business, visibility is crucial. Every time a prospect or customer uses your email address, they’ll think about your business.
How to Create a Professional Email Address Name
If you have a website, you’ve already purchased a domain name from a registrar and established a hosting account for your website. If you are in the process of setting up a website, you’ll need to acquire a domain name and a hosting account. In today’s market, many companies offer both registrar and hosting services. For example, GoDaddy Inc. started as a domain registrar, but now it hosts websites, too.
How you set up your professional email address will depend on how you acquired your domain name and hosting account.
If You Need a Domain Name and Hosting Account
If you haven’t set up a website yet, you’ll need both a domain name and a hosting account. Here’s how to get started:
1. Choose a Web-Hosting Service
Start by identifying what hosting needs and choose your host first. You’ll probably be able to purchase a domain from that host, and there are advantages to having both services provided by the same company. You may find cheaper domain names elsewhere, so if cost is a significant factor, you can always register your domain in one place and host your website and email in another place.
Most hosts will provide you with free professional email addresses. If the addresses aren’t free, you should be able to purchase them for a nominal fee.
2. Direct the Domain Name to Your Website
If you have your domain name registered with your host:
- Use the host’s tools to direct your domain name to your website.
If you have your domain name registered elsewhere:
- You will need to direct, or point, the domain name to your host first. You’ll need to update the DNS servers at your registrar. Any good registrar will have online support representatives who can help you accomplish that, or do it for you.
If You Have a Website
And Your Domain and Hosting is at the Same Place
If you have established a website, your domain name will already point to it. All you’ll need to do is set up your email accounts using the tools provided by your host.
But You Want Your Email Hosted Elsewhere
Again, your domain name will already point to your website. But you’ll need to update the MX records at your web host to make sure your email operates correctly. Your web host should be able to help you do this.
Professional Email Address Ideas
Before you start to create your email addresses, you’ll need to decide which format you will use. Here are some professional email address ideas, formats and examples to consider:
- First Name: If you want to emphasize the informal nature of your business, you could use just a first name; for example, Brian@YourDomainName.com. The only problem with that approach is that you may end up with two people named Brian at some point, and one of them won’t be able to use the professional email address format you chose.
- One Initial and One Name: The odds of having two people with the same address is low. In other words, you’d have to have two people whose address would be BrianF@YourDomainName.com or BFry@YourDomainName.com.
- First and Last Name: When you write out both first and last name, it’s even more likely that all of your employees can use this format. This format looks like BrianFry@YourDomainName.com.
- First Name-Dot-Last Name: Email addresses can’t contain a space. Some people think that confusion results when first and last names run together like the example above. As an alternative, they use a period to form an account as in this professional email address example, Brian.Fry@YourDomainName.com.
- First Name-Dash-Last Name: Email addresses can use a hyphen, also. Another alternative to separate the names is to use a hyphen such as Brian-Fry@YourDomainName.com.
- First Initial and Last Name: If you wish to be more formal, you could use a person’s initial for their first name and a last name. It would look like this example, BFry@YourDomainName.com.
- First and Middle Initials and Last Name: This format is especially useful in family-owned businesses where many people have the same last name, and their first initials might be the same. It looks like this, BGFry@YourDomainName.
Aim to keep email addresses as short as possible. Long email addresses are difficult to fit on business cards, and encourage errors when people try to type them. You could use a format calling for first/middle/last, or first/last/department, but the email addresses would be too long to type efficiently and quickly.
While you’re setting up addresses for people, think about company functions, too. Make it easy to contact your business by creating special-purpose email addresses, such as:
Your Professional Email Address and Gmail
For some people, it may be difficult to switch to a different email service. You or your staff may already have an email account that you use regularly, and you’re not excited about the prospect of learning a new system. But there is a straightforward fix for that problem.
You can log in to your Gmail account, for example, and add a new email account. Set it up so that you can receive emails from, and send email using other email addresses. Once that is complete, Gmail will gather emails from your professional email address and display them in your Gmail account. You’ll also be able to send email as if it were coming from your professional address.
Avoid the option to forward emails from your professional account to another one. For example, the forward would take any emails you receive at your professional address and forward them to your Gmail. The problem with that approach? You won’t be able to send emails from your professional address.
A customer may send an email to Jim.Stewart@YourDomainName.com, but when you answer it, the email will come from JimFootballFan@hotmail.com. Prevent confusion by avoiding the forward feature.
Owning your own business can be a lot of work, but it’s very satisfying. Help your company grow by using a professional email address. It will give your business credibility and reinforce your brand.