Written By: Tom Ogg
Ever since AOL became a political trash can I vowed to dump my AOL addresses. After all, I had 4 different AOL accounts that I used for various reasons. My CruiseReviews@aol.com that I used when I operated CruiseReviews.com address still gets hundreds of spam messages a week. I haven’t checked on it in months so who knows how much spam is in it?
When I changed my personal email address from TomOgg@aol.com to Tom@TomOgg.com I was shocked by the comments I got from friends and business associates. One of my friends that I have known since high school sent me a message. “Welcome to the 21st Century” he wrote. Another friend of mine wrote “WOW! What’s next, wi-fi?” I had no idea that the AOL email addresses would promote such an image. Both of these guys know what I do and that I am fairly tech savvy.
So it got me to thinking about what email addresses imply and it sent me on the hunt for answers. Here is what my research has found. But, before we get going, understand that these are simple generalizations. They are worthy of consideration, but certainly not meant to offend.
First we will take a look at the most common email providers and what an email address that uses their service tend to imply to people receiving an email from them.
Those of us that remember 300 baud modems and using dial up access to the Internet will also remember seeing AOL CD-ROMs everywhere. They were in every magazine, every computer store, in your mailbox and pretty much everywhere else.
One simply had to insert the 3 1/2” floppy disk to join AOL. When CD-ROMs came into fashion, AOL jumped on the bandwagon and at one time produced half of the world’s entire production of CD-ROM content.
AOL’s marketing was brilliant. They simply flooded the world with free software on a CD-ROM and built a 50-billion dollar company by doing so.
These quotes come from a Travel Professional Community chat and meant to convey the image and is certainly not inclusive of everyone. When asked “what does an email using @AOL.com convey to you?” here is what agents said.
“You probably have the same [@aol] e-mail address you had in 1997. You also might be 70.”
“The email couldn’t be from a business”
“They are stuck in the 1990s”
“Not much different than AOL”
“Spam is exactly also what I think about when I get a @hotmail.com email. Who is really sending this to me?”
“When I see @yahoo.com email it shouts that the sender isn’t serious about their business. The same goes for addresses from cable/phone/Web providers, such as @comcast.net, ATT.net or sbcglobal.net. They are OK for personal email, but not for business, in my opinion.”
“I see #yahoo.com email all the time and wonder what the senders are thinking”
“I think @gmail.com emails are OK because of the control Google has over people using it.”
“I see @gmail.com all the time and even if the sender is using “MyBusiness@gmail.com it doesn’t offer the same level of branding as MyName@MyBusiness.com does.”
“It is easy to get a branded email with gmail so I don’t get why agents don’t do it. It show a lack of understanding of technology, which is not flattering in any way.”
“Social Media Junky.”
“Yawn, I rarely see it, but when I do I think get a life.”
Owning your own domain name pretty much puts you at the top of the e-savvy stack. It not only lets the reader know who you are, but also lends credibility to your message.
TomOgg@TravelProfessionalNEWS.com is the email address I use for business and it tells the recipient exactly who is emailing them and from what organization.
Having a branded email address is the only way to go in 2018. There is absolutely no reason to keep using anything other than a professional branded email for your business. Here are five reasons to get one.
- You only get one time to create a great first impression. Who would you rather engage with BeerBuddy66@hotmail.com or TomOgg@RiverCruiseExpert.com. if you were buying a river cruise? First impressions are lasting impressions and a branded email address is essential for a wonderful first and lasting impression.
- Create trust and expertise. By branding your email address you exhibit your expertise and credibility in a way that is immediately recognizable. A branded email address shouts professionalism
- A branded email address makes your operation look more established and more professional. Showing clients that you are technologically adept implies nothing but positive things.
- A branded email address promotes your brand and business personality. After receiving several emails from you a client will come to know your website and email address because it makes total sense to the client.
- Creating a branded email address is easy and extremely inexpensive. In fact, there are so many ways to do it that there is absolutely no reason not to. So here is how to do it.
Get a Domain Name
If you already have a “YourBusiness.com” website simply have your administrator go to the site’s CPanel and create an email address for you. It can be whatever you want like YourName@YourBusiness.com or RiverCruises@YourBusiness.com.
If you do not have a domain name you will need to either register, or buy one. Remember that your domain name will be the foundation of your branding effort so it should be carefully thought out. Here are some things to consider.
* Only get .com domain names. .com is the king of top level domain names and shouts professionalism. There are hundreds of other domain name extensions and you should avoid them all.
* The name should be instantly intuitive so that potential new clients can easily understand what your value proposition is.
* Establish a list of multiple potential domain names instead of just one. If your business name is already taken you will need to consider other options. By creating a list of potential keyword names, searching for the right one becomes quite easy.
* Make sure that the domain name does not infringe on copyrighted or registered names.
* Use a description of your value proposition if your business name doesn’t shout it. Use “SanDiegoCruiseSpecialist.com” instead of “KingsTravel.com”
Buying a Domain Name
There are millions of domain names that are owned by squatters that have registered them in hopes of selling them for a large profit to the eventual buyer. You will find a huge inventory of domain names currently for sale at sedo.com. Don’t be afraid to purchase one as they are worth their weight in gold from a branding perspective. Many of the domain names are consistent with both the category and keywords that represent your specific value proposition. Buying a domain name for the purpose of branding makes a ton of sense.
Creating Your Branded Email Address
While there are a good number of hosts out there to look at (just Google “Create a Branded Email Address”) the two most logical options are using Google’s “G Suite” business Email service or GoDaddy’s “Email Essentials”. Both cost roughly $5.00 per month and include office suites and everything you will need to present a professional branded email address.
There are also a ton of ways to create a branded email for free, but these two products guarantee that your email activity will be professional and engaging.