- Ashafak Shekh
How many times have you gone to a www.somexyz.com site and seen that the sales or customer care staff have email addresses like firstname.lastname@example.org on the Contact Us page? Although it isn’t the most important indicator of a company’s quality, the ordinary individual thinks to themselves, “Is that their personal email address?” Those astute companies will immediately recognize the importance of having something more professional.
Why not make use of, say, the free domain email that comes with your hosting account? Using email addresses such as email@example.com will appear far more professional than using a personal email address. The bottom line is that if you’ve paid for a domain, you should at the very least purchase it from a domain registrar that provides email forwarding for their accounts. You can also create a domain email address using the cpanel provided by your hosting company; they’ll also give you at least one free email address.
For the great six-hour interruption of all applications based on the Facebook platform, which took place at the beginning of October 2021, we can say that it had its primary and secondary consequences. While the primary ones were expressed in concrete figures in the form of direct financial damage to the company and its customers, indirect ones were more difficult to quantify. One of them was that with the fall of the Facebook platform, the complete business, marketing, and sales platform of those small and micro-business companies that rely on it as their only (or dominant) business-sales digital space fell too.
This incident posed another question to the business community: can business owners equally be overwhelmed by the strategic decision to entrust their correspondences by e-mail to platforms that aren’t under their control?
It has already been pointed out that an adequate choice of domain extension and domain name is one of the key steps towards building a modern brand and digital presence in general. A company site that’s located on the chosen domain name and well created is a key element of modern business from which everything starts and over which its owner has full and unquestionable control. A well-designed and realized presence on the web builds trust and strengthens the relationship between the site owner (and the brand behind it) and its users, and trust is a ‘currency’ that’s extremely rare and sought after in the online environment.
The online identity of the company is embodied in the name of the Internet domain, which defines not only the address of the website but also the e-mail address. And while the connection between the domain name and the web address of the site is somehow more known and talked about, e-mail is usually considered only when something goes wrong, which is a big mistake, given the importance of this service in digital business.
Although it’s a technology that’s decades old, e-mail hasn’t lost its significance over time. On the contrary, it’s a cheap, fast, efficient, accessible, and widely used medium that, among other things, acquires new customers and users, informs the community about information relevant to the brand (mailing lists) and is a means of converting potential customers into concrete ones.
Giving up email as a marketing and sales channel, therefore, would by no means be a wise move. However, you should pay attention to the basic rules of its proper use, of which the most important is to avoid using all domain names that aren’t under your control and which can cause mistrust of recipients and other problems related to security and integrity of message content.
A typical example (we now dig deeper on the claims from the very beginning of the article) would be the use of e-mail addresses originating from one of the public, free, generic services for these purposes (Gmail, Yahoo, etc.). Especially for emerging businesses, it may seem that relying uncritically and completely on such platforms is a solid move because the companies behind them also provide a host of other services that are deeply integrated with each other and with email. If we add to that the fact that the integration (convergence) was performed with the most popular operating system for mobile devices – Android, the choice of one @gmail address is, at first glance, completely logical. In practice, however, the situation is quite different.
The technical ease of sending mass e-mails from the Gmail platform carries with it significant challenges and risks:
In the case of rudimentary and free use of the Gmail service or similar generic service, it’s very likely that the desired name of the sender (user of the e-mail account) is already occupied. This practically means that not only can you not freely choose the domain extension (it will always be @gmail.com), but you can’t do the same for the first part of the email address (username).
In addition, in case it’s necessary to create multiple e-mail accounts, you would have to be creative, but in a ‘negative’ direction, which would probably lead to addresses such as firstname.lastname@example.org, dentalpracticejohnson email@example.com, etc., which, you’ll admit, doesn’t seem well visually either.
Using the Gmail service involves sharing sensitive data with a third party, which poses a risk to the privacy, security, and integrity of the service. Unlike his, using third-party, i.e. email marketing services for managing mailing lists and creating email marketing campaigns, such as Benchmark, is quite all right.
Although Google claims that its email service is available over 99% of the time, cases of system crashes, its unavailability, and emails that never reached the recipient aren’t uncommon and as a user, you have no influence on that.
You’re only one of the users on the platform and as such you depend on their professionalism and goodwill.
Public e-mail services are under special and frequent attack by hackers, given that in this way attackers can take control of a large number of accounts with one swoop and gain a significant amount of sensitive information contained in those accounts.
Although each such service has laid out conditions of use in which a special place is reserved for items related to mechanisms and procedures for protecting the privacy of exchanged information and data, many of them haven’t proven to be special ‘champions’ in this area in recent years, and an additional level of caution in this regard is justified.
The key point about choosing how to address your followers and clients via email is the issue of trust. Digital business experts point out that a domain name (and therefore email addresses) tailored to branding needs enhances credibility, builds a professional image, and positively impacts the overall brand. If, for example, you’re opening a dental practice, there’s a good chance that recipients would rather open an email from firstname.lastname@example.org than email@example.com.
Although legitimate business owners can live behind both addresses, a recent relevant study found that 79% of email users have more confidence in emails they receive from a business address that comes from a domain name that identifies the business itself. The mentioned survey also pointed out that 72% of the respondents are more inclined to react to a mail from a branded business e-mail address than to one sent from a generic platform.
If the entire email service is under your direct control, you can easily develop marketing strategies and actions that include cross-branding – the contact email address on the brochure or flyer is in itself for promotion purposes, and in the case of using a public Internet service, it’s realistic to promote this service more than your business.
When choosing a domain name, therefore, special attention should be paid to the entire business segment that relies on e-mail exchange. As well as being a tool that stands the test of time and is used more than ever before, the thoughtful use of email will also serve as a method for building your web presence and the online identity of your business.