There are many providers of free email services out there today, from Gmail, Hotmail, AOL, BT Connect, who are free, quick to setup and easy to use.
This makes them an easy option to setting up a personal email address. But are they suitible for your business?
Email has become the main point of contact for a business. which can include first contact from new customer, communication about sensitive accounts information to or from your accountant and negotiations from your suppliers.
It is fair to say that they are a very important tool your business in this day in age.
So why shouldn’t I use one of these providers for my email address?
Imagine it, your perfect customer is looking for a service your provide. They have found you through some means and it is time to get in contact. They haven’t met you yet, they don’t know you are the best provider.
All they know is what they can see. They have seen your website, or someone has passed your business card and it reads email@example.com. They have also found your competitor firstname.lastname@example.org. Which looks better? -Yes, having a free to use email does not impact on how good a service provider you are, but your prospects don’t know how good you are.
They can only judge their decition on how good you are at business.Consumers are 9 x more likely to use SMBs that have a domain based email address (Source)
This is an unfortunate anecdote that I have witnessed first hand and didn’t end well -So, a customer went to BT and got a landline and internet connection when they first started up their business. As part of the deal, BT offered an email address using their BT connect service.
Customer went ahead with this wonderful offer as it was one less thing to do, and who doesn’t like a freebie?
A couple of years past and this business owner has found a perfect alternative Internet Service Provider (ISP) who can half their costs and keep the number. They moved their service across and carried on with their business. Another year past and suddenly their email was inaccessable and completely unavailable. It had turned out that the email address was only available with their other services. As they were no longer a customer all services had been cancelled. Including their email address and all of it’s data.
Would that affect your business?
As more and more people upgrade their business emails, there has become more expected from those sending emails out. The long and short of it is that these free services are a hotbed for Spammers, Phishing Attackers and other cyber crooks.
Using these free services can cause unwarrented email delivery delays or not being received at all. Organisations that have powerful Antispam solutions could be blocking or delaying email and with limited or no support options available, you can easily get stuck.
Conclusion: Having a professional, domain based, email address is not as complicated as it looks. There are great providers out there that have an excellent service with some powerful functionality that can help you in other areas of your business. Such as a Syncronised Calendar, contacts and data. Huge email storage and advanced GDPR compliance options.