Few things pain my heart more than coming across a company that has its own website yet lists a Gmail email addresses as its contact information. In that moment, it feels like someone has dropped an ice-cold bucket of water on my head and woken me up from my dreams of that business being a reputable and established organization; instead, slapping me with the reality that it is likely a young, inexperienced venture. Dramatic, much? Probably. But, listen.. here’s the bottom line:
If you want to be taken seriously as a brand or business, you’ve got to ditch the free email address.
The good news is that this is relatively easy to do. All you need is your domain name. If you don’t already have your own personalized domain (ex: mycompany.com), I would highly recommend making the investment right now. Domain names are generally inexpensive and range from around $8 to $10 a year on average. Even if you’re not quite ready to build or launch your website, it’s a good idea to make sure your domain name is available and snag it. Check domain availability at whois.net then purchase your desired name on any number of domain registrars that offer free email forwarding. I use GoDaddy.
Email forwarding is an excellent and underrated feature that allows you to set up a personalized address like firstname.lastname@example.org and point it to an existing email inbox like email@example.com. This is great because you can use your personalized email address on your marketing collateral, brochures, and business cards as your official contact information, but still manage the emails you receive in your inbox utilizing whatever email system you’re most comfortable with.
The actual steps to set up email forwarding will vary based on your host company, but a quick Google search should shed additional light. If you have cPanel access, you can set-up your email forwarding directly through the cPanel dashboard. Here are a few tutorials to walk you through the 2-minute process: Tutorial 1, Tutorial 2, Tutorial 3 (video).
Send Mail As
Now that you’re receiving emails sent to your personalized email address in your Gmail inbox, you’ll need to integrate the two accounts so that you can actually send emails and reply using your new email address. Again, these steps will vary based on the email provider you’re using, but generally, the process should look something like this:
- Log-in to your Gmail account
- Navigate to ‘Settings’ > Click on the ‘Accounts & Import’ tab
- Under ‘Send mail as’ click on ‘Add another email address you own’
- Enter the log-in details of your new email address in the pop-up
- Verify the address by clicking ‘Send Verification’
- Once you receive the email, follow the directions to verify and you’re all set!
Not bad for about $10 a year and 20 minutes of your time, right? Note that this article refers specifically to free email forwarding associated with your domain name. As your brand or business grows, you’ll want to look into investing in email hosting and packages that suit your business needs. Leave a comment below to let me know if there are any additional resources or steps you use to manage your business email forwarding.