Home – New Forums Marketing mastery What does your email address say about you?

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  • #993177
    Stuart B
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    Hey guys – so I’ve been involved in a vigorous discussion on a Facebook small biz group about email addresses. Someone posted a rant about people using gmail/outlook/hotmail free email addresses for their business and there have been a lot of opinions on either side of the fence.

    My position is that when it comes to having stuart@tubeacademy.tv vs tubeacademytv@hotmail.com is that the cons definitely outweigh the pros when it comes to using a free email for your business because…

    1. People can’t explore your website on the basis of your email address because johnsflowers@gmail.com doesn’t tell them what your web address is, or if you even have one compared to john@johnsflowers.com which does both. So there’s a simple marketing opportunity being missed for a start.
    2. Many people unconsciously judge you and your business as being small time / a hobby / unprofessional compared to those with a custom domain/email address.
    3. Custom email addresses really DO make you look more professional.
    4. Email addresses are free if you already have a website up and running so there’s no additional cost.

    Point #2 (above) is the cue for the people who are feeling insulted or embarrassed because maybe they use free emails or know someone that does, and their reaction is to fire back with things like “it’s unfair to judge a book by it’s cover!” etc but please resist the urge to get defensive because I TOTALLY agree with you!

    It IS unfair that people would pass judgement on someone’s business because they don’t have a custom email address when the reality is that setting up a custom email address only takes about 5 minutes anyway. But guess what… Just because people are passing unfair judgement on that basis doesn’t stop it from happening.

    So given that setting up a custom email address takes about 5 minutes then in the interest of growing your business and not wasting an opportunity to get a new customer over a 5 minute email task, it probably just makes more sense to get a professional looking custom email address right? :)

    What are your thoughts on the issue? Do you agree, disagree, had you not even considered the impact that a simple email address could have on your business performance? The reality is that many SMB’s are oblivious to it.

    [MEDIA=youtube]wpvsLw44u9Q[/MEDIA]

    #1190096
    John Debrincat
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    Good one [USER=10757]@Stuart B[/USER] spot on. Apart from a higher level of professionalism with your own email address based on the domain name it also promotes greater trust. Free is not always best.

    John

    #1190097
    Kelly Exeter FS Editor
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    Couldn’t agree more Stu. I’ve written a blog post/rant on this very topic myself and outlined pretty much the same points as you. Mainly the one that, whether you like it or not, people WILL judge you for having a hotmail or gmail address. And given it’s soooooo cheap to have a professional email address … why wouldn’t you!

    You only ever get the chance to make a first impression right?

    #1190098
    Johny
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    Stuart I agree with you that people judge or perceive you based on having a specialized email address rather than some generic one.

    It is a perception that could cost business.

    But in my mind it is an unwarranted perception and is probably as much a take on how people think these days rather than what is real. It’s not your email address that makes you more professional or trustworthy, it is what you do that makes you these things.

    In my business, which is sourcing stuff from Asia, there is an unwritten rule that you shouldn’t deal with a company that uses a generic email address. It’s nonsense and shows a complete lack of understanding that there are many legitimate reasons a generic email is used over one incorporating the company. In case you ask what those may be, here are a few:-

    1. Limited number of addresses available without additional charge
    2. Reliability of generic email address
    3. Storage capacity of generic email address
    4. Accessibility of generic email address outside the office.

    Just a few, and they may not be issues in Australia, but they can be elsewhere.

    I do understand that people think the way they do, but I’d also suggest it is a narrow minded view and, while a company may lose business because they have a generic email address, a buyer may also overlook an opportunity if they are discounting a company that uses one.

    #1190099
    Kelly Exeter FS Editor
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    [USER=34822]@Johny[/USER] I think you’d want to be really careful in pitching things to how you think people SHOULD think as opposed to how they ACTUALLY think :)

    #1190100
    JohnTranter
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    Out of interest, what were the Pros given of having a free email address over a custom one? Other than (small) cost and (small) hassle, I can’t think of one.

    #1190101
    Johny
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    Kelly, please point out where I said HOW people should think. I said I understand how people think.

    And I offered comments as to why I disagreed with it. Isn’t that what discussion is. Read what I wrote, not what you want to believe I wrote.

    If you think people are more professional and trustworthy because they have a special email address then good for you, I happen to think people need to earn that trust based on their actions.

    #1190102
    Stuart B
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    JohnTranter, post: 223124, member: 20554 wrote:
    Out of interest, what were the Pros given of having a free email address over a custom one? Other than (small) cost and (small) hassle, I can’t think of one.

    [USER=20554]@JohnTranter[/USER]
    Here are a few…

    • It’s free and takes 5 minutes to setup.
    • It advertises your web site = more visitors = more customers.
    • People trust your business more.
    • More trust = more customers so your business be better off.

    [USER=34822]@Johny[/USER]
    You are definitely correct in that! The fact is having a custom email is not a reliable indicator and stems from the fact that people don’t have an understanding of how little is actually involved in setting one up.

    However for me that’s the main argument for having a custom email in the first place. I’m in the business of getting more students to my courses, not trying to educate the world about the folly of how they judge people based on email addresses.
    I could take a stand with a hotmail address and puff my chest out, or I could just take 5 minutes, set one up and ensure I’m getting the maximum number of clients for my marketing dollar.

    As you say the customer might move on based on their incorrect judgement and miss an opportunity to be a client of mine, but I’d rather the feeling of collecting their membership fees and THEN proving that I provide a great service. Why make life harder for my business to grow?

    The reality in this scenario is that they’d take their money elsewhere (probably to someone else who is willing to spend 5 minutes setting up a custom email).
    They’ll find another service provider, never learn a thing about their email judgments and the world keeps turning but I’ve missed out on a client. :( Doesn’t sound like the best strategy when I’m trying to grow a business.

    At the end of the day most of the people (and I’m not trying to include you in this, because you had a specific use case) who argue the merits of using free/generic emails for business just need to swallow their pride and get one, OR alternatively never complain that times are tough and they need more customers.

    #1190103
    JohnTranter
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    Stuart B, post: 223129, member: 10757 wrote:
    Here are a few…
    • It’s free and takes 5 minutes to setup.
    • It advertises your web site = more visitors = more customers.
    • People trust your business more.
    • More trust = more customers so your business be better off.

    Hey Stuart, points 2,3 and 4 seem to be arguing for a custom email. Or can you explain to me how kimit@gmail.com is better than john@kimit.com.au for those points then.
    Sorry I just don’t understand the argument.

    #1190104
    Stuart B
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    JohnTranter, post: 223131, member: 20554 wrote:
    Hey Stuart, points 2,3 and 4 seem to be arguing for a custom email. Or can you explain to me how kimit@gmail.com is better than john@kimit.com.au for those points then.
    Sorry I just don’t understand the argument.

    Sorry John I read your question backwards lol just disregard. When I was typing my reply to you I was thinking “man I’m sure I just explained all this” lol.

    From my experience the majority of arguments FOR a hotmail address vs a custom address are all about “it’s an unfair judgement” or “i don’t want to be in business with people who think that way”. When I read that I immediately think (well hopefully your competitors are also very picky in choosing their clients).

    It’s not surprising that the people who say those things are also typically using generic email addresses. To be honest I think when people who are using generic emails read stuff like this they get kind of defensive because they feel like the spotlight is being put on them and they have to defend their position.

    For anyone who is reading this and you’re using a generic email address, please understand that I am not judging you or saying you’re a bad person or anything. :D

    #1190105
    alliedib
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    This is illustrative of my pet hate at the moment…
    – web: http://www.johnsmithbuilding.com.au
    – email: johnsmithbuilding@gmail.com

    #1190106
    JohnTranter
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    Stuart B, post: 223132, member: 10757 wrote:
    Sorry John I read your question backwards lol just disregard. When I was typing my reply to you I was thinking “man I’m sure I just explained all this” lol.
    No worries, I thought that might be the case, but then I thought maybe I missed something.

    To be honest I’m only concerned if the email address is for an IT company.
    e.g.
    FlowerShop10@gmail is fine.
    WebDesignSydney@hotmail is a big red flag to me.

    #1190107
    Stuart B
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    alliedib, post: 223133, member: 37857 wrote:
    This is illustrative of my pet hate at the moment…
    – web: http://www.johnsmithbuilding.com.au
    – email: johnsmithbuilding@gmail.com

    Definitely a deal breaker.

    #1190108
    bb1
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    I preface my comments by stating I don’t use a free email address, before I am labeled as one of those people who should just swallow my pride and get a custom email address. And as such I am not getting defensive, or that the spotlight is on me, or defending my position.

    But 2 reasons I can think of up front for people not having customized emails.

    • They just don’t know that their website comes with customized email address’s.
    • They don’t know that it is a “”simple”” to setup
    • And just on that simple 5 minute setup, is it really just a 5 minute setup, I question if it is really only a 5 minute setup for an relatively experienced person.

    A thing that is often forgotten by the marketing industry, the IT industry, the SEO industry is that a lot of small business owners aren’t technologically savvy, they don’t have IT degree’s, and more importantly they have 2 million other responsibilities to know or understand the options. Most don’t have a huge IT department behind them, they are the IT department but don’t have a clue about it, and yes I have just made an argument to outsource, but a lot of small business don’t have the dollars to think about these things.

    #1190109
    GuestMember
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    I built a hugely successful training business selling to psychologists on a yahoo email. They’re more interested in professionalism than just about any other industry. It really doesn’t matter. In fact, you might even piggy back on a recognised brand. I was often concerned that Yahoo was a bit immature-sounding but it made no difference.

    Sure, someone could always retort that the business could have done even better on a private domain, or point out that I didn’t A/B test so how do I know? I wouldn’t be convinced, though, because if that many people were buying a very expensive course every year, there’s no reason why it couldn’t be more.

    That said, these days I prefer my own domain. I just feels more special to me (I don’t like other people’s branding on my WordPress plugins either). You can always forward everything to your preferred system e.g., gmail, zoho, yahoo, etc and Send From/As your domain. It could help sediment your brand in people’s minds if they keep seeing it.

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