We all know how important branding is to your business. That’s why you worked endless hours on a name, a tag line, and a logo design. And don’t forget the effort you put in to make sure you could secure a domain name that matched! But, there’s a major piece in the branding puzzle that is often overlooked, and it defeats all the work you put in to create a consistent image. Fortunately, it’s easy – and cheap – to fix this huge branding mistake. I’ll tell you what it is in a minute.
I’ll admit up front, this is a pet peeve of mine. Picture this scenario: you’re flipping through one of the real estate or apartment booklets, and you find a place you’re interested in. You scan the ad to see how to contact the agent and there it is: an email address on Yahoo. Or Verizon. Or AOL. In my mind, I’m now questioning if this agent is a part-timer.
Ok, maybe I’m being too rough. After all, many Realtors work for large agencies, and those agencies are known to create websites with very awkward names like maryjohnsonagent.realestategiant.com – all an effort to protect their Real Estate Giant brand. The side effect of this is the agent doesn’t get an “@realestategiant.com” email address of their own. They’re left to fend for themselves, and they frequently just shrug their shoulders and use whatever email address they’ve had since high school.
So let’s consider other professionals that don’t quite get the importance of consistent branding. A few years ago I moved to a new city. Part of the fun that goes along with that is finding new everything – doctors, dry cleaners, grocery stores, you get the idea. I found my new dentist and he said I could email my dental records to his office – at email@example.com (not his real address, but it was on Yahoo). My first thought was to question how long he had been in practice, and if he was working out of his garage using an old barber’s chair and a Dremel. My second thought was, “Hasn’t this guy heard of HIPAA?” What sort of patient record security can you expect from a free, ad-supported email address?
Even more puzzling to me is the case where the business owner has their own domain name for their website, but still uses a free email account. Honestly, if your business is Rabbit Run Farms and your website is at rabbitrunfarms.com, why on earth would you want to confuse your customers by having an email address of firstname.lastname@example.org? You already own the domain. It’s a huge part of your brand. Use it for all its worth.
I know when I want to list my house with an agent, I’m not going to trust that task to email@example.com. When I’m having an accountant prepare my taxes, it’s not going to be firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s your brand, people. It’s your image, your reputation. Treat it with the respect it deserves, because if you don’t, neither will your potential customers. Here’s how:
Branding Done The Right Way
It’s not hard. It’s not expensive. There are other perks too, like keeping your work and personal mail separate. Here’s how easy it is.
1. Get A Domain Name
I’m going to assume that if you have a website, you already have a domain name. I’m not talking about <something>.blogger.com, but a real domain name. If you don’t have a domain name yet, get one; one that reflects your business and helps build your brand.
2. Get An Email Address On Your Domain
Almost all domain registrars provide one or two email addresses included in the registration price. It’s right there, waiting for you to use it. How easy is that? It’s nothing fancy, just a basic email account. But odds are, that’s all you need right now. If you need or want more features, there are lots of options, but that’s a topic for another post. Once you’ve conquered these two hurdles, you’re well on your way to building a consistent brand for your business.
I’ll be posting more tips about establishing your brand and building your business. If you don’t want to miss them, sign up below to get new tips right to your inbox the day they’re released.