Email is rated the top-most used communication mode in most businesses today – more than face-to-face communication, postal mail or telephone. Using a free web based email service for business communication can negatively affect your online presence.
First things first: this article is not intended to say that free web based email is bad! Not at all. Free email definitely has its appropriate use – for communication with friends and family. Free email can also be used to sign up for applications, websites, online shopping and personal social media accounts.
Secondly, the free web based email referred to this article does not refer to the one-month free trial periods offered by third-party subscription-based email service providers. We are referring to free email accounts such as Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail.
Many business owners and employees use free email services (such as Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL) as their primary or secondary email address when their main business email is not working and list it on their business cards or even their website. Despite its many attractive features, using @gmail.com, @yahoo.com etc for business purposes can have real negative drawbacks.
Business email domain is best for managing business communications and professional contacts. Business email generally comes with group aliases, higher storage, email security and business-specific features and integrations, including migration support and control panel.
So why are free web based email services not recommended for business use? Here are 6 reasons why:
Everybody wants your data one way or the other. It’s not just Google, Facebook or your mobile service provider. Even your phone app or online store tries to get access to your data. Yet, we have to exchange messages all the time with family, friends, colleagues or the government.
It’s the same with free email. To use most of these free email services, you need to give up one key aspect: online privacy. A majority of the well-known free email services scan your emails via an algorithm to determine certain things about you and build your profile. It could be about your interests – food, shopping, business, travel, etc. It does not stop there. They can scan other emails that contain more private subjects, including your health or relationships.
These free email service providers then sell your data to advertisers and marketers. These advertisers and marketers then analyze your profile and process it to send targeted advertisements to you.
You always want to keep your brand and business name at the top of your prospects’ or clients’ minds. Even if the recipients of your emails don’t read your emails, they will see your email address. A custom domain email address is an invaluable tool in winning business. If you aren’t top of their minds constantly, your competitor is.
When people look at your email address, they see someone else’s business name/website address, not yours. Especially if you do email marketing of your business or are trying to grow your business by reaching out to new prospects, why not promote your business and potentially get more visits to your site?
A custom business email address is a very low-cost and easy-to-set-up marketing strategy that would help to elevate the perception of your company. You do not need a website to set up a custom email address. You only need to register for a domain first, and then once it is active, you can sign up for a professional business email address @yourdomain.com
Another advantage of using a custom email address is that if your business email has the same domain as your website, it’s easy for people to use the domain name to find your website and get more information about your business without having to ask you.
Yes, image is everything in business and first impressions count!
As a business or professional, you only get one chance to make a first impression, and you need to make it count. Let your image be one of professionalism and consistency. If you have a beautiful store and/or perhaps a business website, why use an email address such as email@example.com to communicate with your potential clients?
As a business or professional, when you communicate using a free email account such as Gmail, Hotmail or Yahoo, you may not be taken as seriously by your clients or other business associates. Such free email addresses give the recipient the impression that you are either:
• Not a well-established company or brand. Lowers the perceived value of your products and services, or
• Not doing well in business, or
• Are not technologically up to date, or worse yet
• Are a fraudster or imposter
In essence, you may lose potential business because a prospect or referral got the wrong impression about you. They may become wary of doing business with you because they do not trust you. This means fewer responses to your product/service marketing and potentially lost business for all your marketing effort and resources.
You will be taken more seriously by your clients, potential clients and business associates if you communicate with a custom domain email address
Today, the internet is awash with myriad malicious individuals trying to defraud others, masquerade as others, or steal sensitive information. Because they are widely available, Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail and other free email services can be easily spoofed and used to trick your customers and suppliers that the email is coming from you when it really isn’t. Your customers could be deceived into making payments or divulging their personal information to cybercriminals.
For instance, say you have a successful personal training business called Peter Kachooks Training, and your email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. There are unscrupulous people out there than can write companies or individuals impersonating your Gmail account used for business and ask for money or free stuff from companies in exchange for promoting products.
The cybercriminals could create and use an email address very similar to yours, such as email@example.com, to deceive your customers and other business contacts. It would be much harder for this to occur with custom domain email addresses.
If you are using your personal free email account for business, there is a higher likelihood that you will miss an important business communication. Most personal free email accounts are usually flooded with email forwards, social media updates, and a host of other spam email messages.
Having a separate business email account will make it less likely that you will miss out on an important email.
It will also improve your work productivity because your attention will not be divided between reading personal emails and business emails if they are in the same account. Just as you have separate bank accounts, business and personal, it is recommended that you have a separate business domain email account that will be used to send/receive business-related communication only.
When your staff or contractors use free email accounts such as Gmail, Yahoo or Hotmail for communicating on behalf of the organization, you have no control over their accounts and contacts list. You cannot lock them out of their email accounts if you have to let them go for whatever reason.
Disgruntled employees may use this opportunity to send out damaging email messages about your organization, or they may remain with confidential company information in these ‘private’ email accounts that they can use in their next job (perhaps at your competitor’s company).
In contrast, with professional custom domain email accounts, you can freeze their email accounts or contact your business email service provider for assistance in freezing their email accounts once they leave the organization.
Reliable. Professional. Secure. No ads
Yes, some free email services such as Gmail no doubt have loads of useful features. Choosing a secure email provider does not mean you have to give up anything in terms of features.
MailSafi Email allows you to not only send emails securely but also share your calendar and contacts with others within your organization. Our enterprise package also allows you to create and shared documents, spreadsheets and presentations; chat online with other users and have virtual meetings with other users.
MailSafi Email offers a lot more benefits and features than most free email services. Here’s a list of some reasons to use MailSafi for your business email.
MailSafi does not scan your emails to learn more about you. You can be assured of your privacy when you communicate to your employees, clients, shareholders, partners, etc.
Search or filter your emails by subject, from, to, date, body, and/or entire message.
Email access on your browser, preferred desktop client (e.g., Outlook, Thunderbird, etc.), mobile phone or tablet.
Mobile and desktop sync.
Email encryption in transit (using TLS encryption)
Sort your emails in folders
You can set filters to allow you certain actions when you receive emails from a specific email address – such as send to a specific folder
Mark certain emails as junk
Move selected emails to trash (delete)
Flag or unflag messages
Mark as read or unread
Sort emails ascending/descending by date, subject, to/from, size
Calendar and group calendars to schedule and share appointments
Address book and global address book to allow sharing of email addresses
Access to other team collaboration tools to allow you to create files (text document, spreadsheet, presentation), store files (including video and photos), share documents, set access controls to files and folders, co-author documents, video/chat online (available in MailSafi Enterprise)
24 * 7 client/technical support available
Free email is not really free. While you may not be paying for it directly in monetary terms, you pay in other ways (lost privacy, lost marketing and branding, potentially lost business, etc.) to have a free email account.
Undoubtedly, there are many compelling reasons why having a separate and professional-looking custom domain address can be a great benefit to your business. It worth spending a small amount of money to register your custom domain and set up a custom domain email address(es) to improve your company image, credibility and trustworthiness online.
While many people use free email services such as Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, etc., to conduct business, it is more professional-looking to set up email addresses at your business's online domain name. It is also good to separate your personal email from your business email for record-keeping and other purposes.
There is no denying that some of these free email services are great, and they offer features that satisfy most users. However, ultimately, free email services are not the best choice for growing your business. As discussed above, there are many more benefits that you can gain from a premium email service.
You can have your custom domain email set up and hosted quickly and easily. If you’d like more information or help with setting up your personalized domain email and email hosting, please get in touch with us, and we will be happy to discuss your requirements further and help you get set up.
You can also take advantage of our 30-day free email hosting trial by signing up on our website here.
Recommended reading: Factors to Consider When Choosing an Email Service Provider
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