Is Your E-mail Address Destroying Your Business?

Follow these five rules to create an effective and confusion-free e-mail address for your business.
Getting Small Businesses Unstuck, Shafran Moltz Group
February 27, 2012

Somewhere along the way, e-mail addresses for small-business owners went haywire, and it's costing their companies revenue! The process of picking a business e-mail address should be a very simple one. Instead, it results in bizarre addresses on business cards and lost e-mails from prospects. This is a dangerous problem since e-mail is one of the most popular forms of communication, and if your prospect can't get yours right, it can significantly impact your bottom line. In some cases, getting multiple "bounced" messages may frustrate the prospect so much that they stop trying to do business with you altogether.

So how can your business create an effective e-mail address? Here are five rules to follow for guaranteed success.

1. Make it easy to spell. If you have a difficult name, simplify it. For example, if your name is Chloe Noemieskiberg, you can't expect everyone to correctly spell your entire name consistently.  Even if there are naming conventions at your company, which require a first-initial-and-last-name e-mail address, use three-letter initials or a shortened version of your name instead, like cnoe@dixepets.com. Also, be mindful of creating e-mail addresses like thepamperedgoddesses@gmail.com, which are destined for problems with so many repetitions of the letter s.

2. Choose something easy to remember. Any domain extension besides .com, .edu or .org will be more difficult to remember, and e-mail messages will no doubt get sent to those domains anyway. Choose a .com or .org domain even if it is not a perfect fit. Many business owners actually name their company based on an available domain. Pick common English words or a simple company name even if has to be a bit longer so that it's still easy to remember and spell. (Get more tips on how to choose a business name.)

3. Get a real domain name. Do you want to be known as barry9199@hotmail.com? Hotmail can still be your e-mail client, but get an e-mail address that automatically forwards to it so people can type barry@sullivan.com.  This also looks more professional and supports your brand. When a customer sends an e-mail to a general domain like hotmail or gmail, it makes your business seem very small and unprofessional.

4. Don't be cute. An e-mail address is not the place to be creative. Thewishmaster@wishingwell.com doesn't accomplish what is needed. Do not think of an e-mail as part of your branding, but simply as an electronic postal address.

5.  Use real names. Business these days is all about being personal with the customer. Even large brands are trying to appear small.  Never use a no-reply@domain.com. This actually stops communication with your customers. E-mail addresses like info@redbirdplaques.com or service@whitewaterrafting.com do not give customers the comfort that their e-mail is going to a real person and that it will be read quickly. Remember, an address like randy@redbirdplaques.com can be routed to multiple people simultaneously if necessary and still appear very personal.

Once these steps are completed, you can get more creative by setting up different e-mail addresses within your company on various marketing pieces so you can track where your customers came from. (Get more tips on e-mail marketing.)

How effective is your e-mail address? Have you changed it over time?

Photo credit: Adelaidecomicsandbooks.com

Getting Small Businesses Unstuck, Shafran Moltz Group