In this article we will be focusing on email for business and how you can use it to maximum benefit.
Email has been around for ages now and I’m pretty sure we don’t need to cover how to use it in too much detail. Instead, we’ll take a look at how you can go from using your personal email address to communicate with your clients or customers, to a more professional alternative.
You may feel that you’ve already got an email address which you’ve been using to conduct your affairs and that there’s no reason to go through the process of setting up a new address, but all the research indicates that a proper, professional email address in the name of your business or brand can only enhance your reputation. After all, how seriously will your clients take you if you send them emails from an address like email@example.com?
Even if you’ve put more thought into your choice of address and used your business or brand name somewhere, there’s still no beating the real thing. Also, a free email account like Hotmail or Yahoo is ultimately controlled by someone else. You have little say in the level of service you get or even worse, if they decide to stop offering the service someday.
Seeing as your web hosting package will include the use of your own personalised email, there’s no reason not to use it as you’d be paying for it anyway.
If you’ve been following these articles as part of the “Getting Online’ series then you’ll know that we’ve touched upon the benefits of registering your own domain name and finding somewhere to host your site. As part of that process you will no doubt be given a number of email addresses which you can use as you wish.
Depending on the size of hosting package you’ve opted for, you will have a number of ‘mailboxes’ where email can be delivered. You don’t need to use them all, or you may wish to set up different addresses for different things for example firstname.lastname@example.org for general enquiries, email@example.com as your personal email which you send business related emails from and firstname.lastname@example.org for use with your online store.
Setting up the accounts can be done through the control panel which your web host provides you. Typically, you choose what you want to appear before the @ sign and create a password and perhaps a few other details. Once this is done, your mailbox is ready to go and you can start sending and receiving emails from that address. Your web host will have instructions and guides for setting up your mobile phone or computer to read the emails, but this process is much the same as it is for a regular personal email address. At the very least you should be able to visit a webpage where you can log-on and read your emails from any computer.
Email Forwarding & ‘Catch All’ addresses
Another feature included with most web packages is ’email forwarding’ and the option to setup a ‘catch all’ address. Put simply, email forwarding is the process whereby email sent to one address gets forwarded or copied onto another. This can be useful if you have set up a number of different mailboxes, but don’t want to keep having to check all of them to see if there’s any new mail. You can choose to have all those emails forwarded to one address, no matter which one the original message was addressed to.
A ‘catch all’ address is similar, but is designed as a safety net in case someone tries to send you an email to an address which doesn’t exist, or perhaps they spelt wrong. You tell your web host which address should receive these emails and then anything which can’t be delivered gets sent to there. If you don’t specify a catch all address, you can choose what happens to those undeliverable emails – do they get returned to the sender, or just disappear? The choice is yours.
Claim your signature
We’ve all seen emails from people who have lengthy legal disclaimers, or reminders to ‘consider the environment before printing an email’ pinned to the bottom of their messages. Why not use this space instead to promote your website, Facebook or other social media accounts? It’s not difficult to set up and people will appreciate it a lot more than knowing that your email was ‘sent from my iPhone’.
Email with no website
If you like the idea of having your own professional email address, but don’t want or need a website just yet, the good news is that you don’t have to fork out for a complete web hosting package to get it. Most web hosts have an email only or ‘hosted email’ option when you sign up. You get all the email features, without the bells and whistles of a website. You will still need to register a domain name, but this can often be a part of the price so be sure to check before you do that separately.
Where to go for email hosting
Most of the web hosts mentioned in the previous article offer email only plans, but in case you didn’t see that here are the ones which do, along with a few more.
In the past three articles we’ve touched upon the most common topics we get asked about when our clients want to take their ideas online. Each area could fill a book, so these posts were designed to give you a brief introduction to the subject. If you want to know more about anything in particular or to discuss your own project, please contact us here at Armshouse Group; we’d be happy to help.
We hope that you’ve found this series of articles useful. If there’s anything we’ve missed that you’d like to see us mention, why not leave a comment and let us know?