What type of email address does your business use? If you’re using a gmail.com email address, you need to change it asap. The same applies to outlook.com, or heaven forbid, yahoo.com.

This is just how it is…there’s no getting around this fact.

Most small businesses start as a side hustle, so it’s logical to start with a gmail.com email address. However, this is only, at best, a temporary solution. Free email addresses make your company seem less than professional. Furthermore, free accounts make it hard for you to control communication and other accounts for services later on.

You’re likely wondering, “what’s the alternative?” It’s actually really quite simple. Instead of a gmail.com email address, get an email address using your company’s domain name. If your company’s website is LegitCompany.com, then your email address should be YourName@LegitCompany.com. Let’s dive into why this is a great idea and how you can go about making it happen.

Reasons to upgrade from a gmail.com email address

It helps your brand

Do you remember those corner store signs that featured a massive Coca-Cola logo and the store’s name in tiny letters? Well, they’re called privilege signs, and they’re all but extinct. The concept was simple: Coke got to advertise, and the store got a free sign. The practice lasted for a while, but store owners eventually caught onto the gimmick. Privilege signs aren’t widespread these days for one reason: small business owners have become savvier. They now understand the value of branding. They now understand that it doesn’t make sense to put someone else’s brand on their storefront.

Gmail.com email address are the new version of privilege signs

Gmail.com email addresses are the new version of privilege signs.

Using a gmail.com email address is essentially the same as having a privilege sign hanging above your own brand. A gmail.com email address is the same as having a massive Google logo on all of your emails.

Furthermore, anyone can create a free gmail.com address. This means that emails originating from a Gmail account could literally be from anyone. Professional, domain-based email addresses make it painfully clear from where the email came. Furthermore, domain-based email addresses make it easier for people to find your website – it’s right there in your email address.

It may seem like a minor detail. However, the small things add up and make a difference when it comes to branding. The key takeaway here is that you shouldn’t advertise another brand in your email address. Instead, you want to make it all about your business.

It provides more control

Domain-based emails are also practical. They also function as a huge marketing asset.

Most small businesses typically start with a single free gmail.com email address. However, this becomes unmanageable as the business grows. Employees will need their own addresses. If you don’t provide one, they’ll use their personal accounts. This means their communications with customers are happening on addresses you don’t control. When an employee leaves, you also lose their email conversations when they leave. This isn’t very pleasant for your customer because your former employee needs to explain the situation. This could also be a bad thing for you because the employee can take their customers with them.

On the other hand, you are in full control of email addresses on your domain. If an employee leaves, you can redirect emails from their old address to get the message. This is a huge deal.

Setting up email addresses on your domain

The first thing you’ll need to do is decide how you want to host your email domain. There are three main options: shared web & email hosting, self-hosted email & 3rd party email hosting.

Shared web & email hosting

The majority of web hosting providers also offer email hosting. For instance, if you host your website through a provider like GoDaddy, you can typically host your email there too. Most hosting subscriptions include email hosting as well.

Self-hosted email

You can host your own email instead of going through a third-party provider if you have your own servers. Self-hosting certainly has a few advantages – more control and customization for instance. However, there are numerous downsides. The costs associated with hosting your own email are a major concern. You are responsible for maintaining servers and you also have to employ system admins to maintain the servers. You also have the extra task of ensuring that your recipients do not filter your emails as spam.

Email hosting provider vs. email client

It’s vital that you understand the difference between email hosting providers and email clients. An email host is the means through which you send and receive email across networks. An email client (aka email app) is the application you use to write and read emails. Your email host and client do not have to be the same. For instance, you can send and receive emails hosted through Google on a desktop or mobile Microsoft email app.

About Andrew Roche

Andrew Roche is an underwriter at United Wholesale Mortgage by day and a digital marketer by night. In addition to his role as an underwriter and his digital marketing hustles, he is also in the process of completing an MBA in Marketing & Finance through the Mike Ilitch School of Business at Wayne State University.

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