I’m pretty passionate about good follow up. I don’t always get it right, but it’s one of my priorities.
What’s interesting to me, when I sit down with a new stack of business cards, is seeing the kind of email addresses people use. What horrifies me is when I see business owners hand me a card with a hotmail address, or (heaven help us!) an aol address. Gmail is a step up – unless your address is something like “JohnSmith1976@gmail.com” or some other number combination at the end (which begs the questions, “is that when he set this up? Is that when he was born?”), but at the end of the day, the question you need to ask yourself is how does my email address reflect the professionalism of my business? Does a hotmail address look like it belongs to someone who’s committed to what they’re doing for the long haul? Or a how about those business email addresses that have a silly prefix like “email@example.com” (you wouldn’t believe what I’ve seen on business cards!)
Another problem is when your business address is attached to a service provider like Shaw, or Telus, or Bell. Strange things can happen – those conglomerates can go out of business, or worse, they can choose new policies that lock you into something you don’t want, simply because you “can’t” change your email address.
If you’re going to be in business, your email address needs to be as professional as you are. It needs to be there for the long haul, whether you move, your provider disappears, or your direct selling business goes out of business.
The truth is, people get a little panicky about changing their email addresses as they have all their contacts attached to it. This can be easily solved:
- A month before you leave your current provider create your new email address and set up an email client that takes both, or all of your emails, if you have more than the two addresses. I use – and LOVE – Gmail for this. I have 6 email addresses all coming into that account, including two for my business, and it works beautifully.
- Export all of your contacts to a .csv file and upload them to your new email provider.
- Set up an automatic response in your current email that you’re changing your email (a quick Google search will help you find the information you need to do this). Have this email share your new address and ask the person emailing you to update their contact file with your new email address.
- Put a note in your signature file that draws attention to your new email address.
- When people write to you using your old email address reply to them with your new email address by changing the “from” address in your outgoing email.
You can also think of this as a perfect opportunity to go through all those things you subscribe to and decide if it’s worth changing your email address in their system to continue to receive their emails!
What if you run a direct selling business or network marketing business where you don’t have your own URL? You have two options here:
- Purchase a suitable domain name from GoDaddy or some other domain sitesite (beautifulskin.com, nontoxiclifestyle.com, neverenoughbling.com, for example) and redirect it to the replicated website for your business. Once you purchase the domain name you can then create email addresses from it.
- Purchase your own name as a domain name and either re-direct it to your site or to a site you create with about.me or flavors.me that talks about who you are and what you do, and then create a matching email address. You can see how I did this with my flavors.me page. I redirected my name URL to it: DarleneHull.com and I have the email address: darlene “at” darlenehull.com to go with it.
So, I’m going to challenge you. If you have a business address that is anything other than YourName@YourBusiness.com start now to make the changes. The sooner the better.
At the end of the day, you’re either in business, or you’re not, right?