Are you using branded email for your business

Are You Benefiting From Your Branded Email?

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Branded email. What is it?

It is an email address that is branded to your business, such as YourName@YourBusiness.com. It's not YourBusiness@gmail.com -- that is branded for Google!

Why is a branded email important for your business?

First, it indicates to your customers and prospects that you are serious about your business. It's not a hobby. You plan to be around and have invested in securing a legitimate business email address.

Second, it is an easy advertisement for your website. The address to your website is right there, contained in your email address! An interested person trying to find your website only has to look at your email address and know exactly how to find your business.

Do you have branded email available to you?

If you have a website, you have branded email available to you. Some of the DIY website builders, such as Weebly, Wix and Squarespace, may charge extra for it or require a specific package.  And, some of them require you to contact them to get it set up.

If you have a self-hosted website, you likely have branded email available to you as part of what you are already paying for. How do you know if you are self-hosted?  If you pay eKamria for hosting annually, you are self-hosted.  If you pay a service like Hostgator, Hostmonster, 1 & 1, Network Solutions (and so many, many more) you are self-hosted.  If you log into your website at Wordpress.com or Joomla.com, you are not self-hosted.

When you are self-hosting, you generally can have as many email addresses as you need. This can help you manage your business communications. For example, each staff member can have their own email: Jane@YourBusiness.com; John@YourBusiness.com. You can set up a general email: info@YourBusiness.com. You might even want to have department emails or event emails: sales@YourBusiness.com; SpecialOffer@YourBusiness.com. The options are endless, you just need to make sure you can manage whatever you set up.

Good email hygiene is essential

There is a limitation -- you don't have unlimited disk space available in your hosting account. Good email hygiene is essential. Contrary to all the "unlimited" labels your hosting company may be throwing around, they do not have the same resources available that Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and AOL have. You will want to delete email that is not needed and detach and save to your hard drive any very large attachments, or you might find yourself paying for a larger package to store all that unneeded email. These accounts aren't small, but they aren't unlimited!

So how does this work?

What seems to be the most confusing part of branded email for people is understanding how it works and how to get at your email boxes.  

Windows to your email content

You need an email client to view your email.  Think of a big bucket.  Your hosting company drops all the email into that bucket.  To see that email, you need a window into the bucket.  That is what an email client is -- a window that lets you view your email data.  There are also many different email clients -- browser clients, desktop clients, tablet clients, mobile clients.

Browser clients - Webmail

There are three free browser options available with hosting plans known as Webmail. The advantage of these is they can be accessed anytime you have an Internet connection. Separate software is not required. You usually access these by typing your domain followed by webmail:  YourBusiness.com/webmail

Email hosted with eKamria will see a login screen like the one below.  Other hosting services will offer something similar.  

Webmail Login 

Desktop, tablet and mobile email clients - so many choices

Examples of email clients for your desktop would be Microsoft Outlook and Mozilla Thunderbird, and for your Android tablet or phone, Aqua Mail, Emoze and K-9 Mail. If you are using an Apple product, Apple Mail or Mail.app are already installed on the device.

Below is a diagram that demonstrates the relationship between your email data and the email clients .

Diagram demonstrating email client concept

IMAP vs. POP3 

What the heck are these?  As is so common with technology, there always has to be confusing acronyms.

IMAP stands for Internet Message Access Protocol.

POP3 stands for Post Office Protocol.

Are you clear now?  I didn't think so!

The difference between the two is whether your email data is stored and displayed from your hosting account server (IMAP) or delivered to your device when you access it and removed from the hosting account server (POP3). Once it's downloaded, it's no longer available to another device.

In today's connected world where we are accessing email from many devices, IMAP is the way to go, and generally the default setup.  Your email data stays on the hosting server until you actually delete it through one of your email clients.  This allows you to view it through the email client windows on your desktop, phone or tablet.

Generally, the only time you would want to use POP3 would be if you are only using one device to read your email.

Forwarding - not a good alternative

When starting up their business, many entrepreneurs and small businesses use a personal email as a business email, setup through Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail or AOL, such as MyBusiness@yahoo.com. Transitioning to a professional, branded email sometimes never happens.  And, worse case, they continue using the old email by using their hosting account's Forward option to send the new professional email address to their old account.

Why is this not a good idea?

Here are a few things to consider:

  • You are paying for the opportunity to have a professional, branded email, yet you're not taking advantage of it.  Hopefully, you are already convinced that using it is a good idea.
  • When YourName@YourBusiness.com is forwarded to another address (let's say YourName@gmail.com), and a reply is sent from YourBusiness@gmail.com, that is what the original sender will see.  Not only does it look unprofessional, but it can be confusing. ("I sent to YourName@YourBusiness.com, why is this coming from YourName@gmail.com?")
  • Your mail server can be marked as a spammer or blacklisted (how this can happen is more technical than you want to read, trust us).
  • Forwarding keeps the email data in the original email box -- if you don't log in periodically and delete them, it can eat up your hosting space.

There are benefits to the Forwarding option for other purposes, but using it to avoid using your professional email is not one of them!

Back to the original question - are you benefiting from your branded email?

If not, and you need help or more clarification, contact us.

Have you found an email client you particularly like? Add to the discussion below!

Do you have a question or suggestion for a future post? Leave it in the comments!

 

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